This site displays examples of historic uniform and kit that were worn by Members of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP),
the Royal North West Mounted Police (RNWMP) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Artefacts displayed on this site are held by various private collections.
This site is not affiliated with, nor sanctioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or its wife.
All rights reserved. © 2010-2020 Ottawa CANADA
CURATOR: [email protected]
NWMP Dawson, Yukon, commissioned officers, seated,
wearing black officer's tunic, riding crop, binocular case,
circa 1900 (above); NWMP Lethbridge, AB circa 1898 (below).
Cap badges for the North West Mounted Police era were not very common, until close to the turn of the century. The first cap badges issued to ranks below that of
a commissioned officer were not authorized until 1901. The pill box, helmet, stetson, and various floppy, field hats worn by NWMP Members did not easily lend
themselves to the application of a cap badge. Upon discovery of an NWMP cap badge, collectors are well advised to be cautious and check for authentication points,
such as the ones listed here:
An example (above) of a reproduction of an NWMP cap
badge. See below for more details about Why?
Above, an example of an authentic North West Mounted Police cap badge
from a private collection.
The information and pictures contained in this section on Authenticating
NWMP Items were also supplied by several private Collectors.
On the obverse side, an authentic cap badge will have two "proofs" by which it may be
validated. The first proof is that the motto belt around the bison will have two raised belt
studs. The studs are completely solid and not dimpled. The second proof is found in the
place where the two maple leaf branches cross; three of the four areas are void and the
top area is filled in with the metal of the badge.
Below are pictures of another example of a re-strike or forgery of an NWMP cap badge. On the obverse the badge has three indicators that it is not authentic;
i) it has all four areas where the branches cross as void; ii) it has only one raised belt stud and iii) this example has an additional belt stud between the words
MAINTIEN and LE.
Additionally a quick glance at the reverse will indicate that this was not an original impression, but likely a poorly made mould-poured forgery.
On the reverse side (left) of the authentic North West Mounted Police cap
badge, there will be clear evidence that the badge was stamped in
manufacture, and not poured in a mould and that it has a round disk in the
centre with the manufacturer's imprint:
J.R. GAUNT & SON • LONDON •
A pair of binoculars (left), 22.8 cm when fully extended. Engraved on the barrels: North
West Mounted Police (above). The pair are complete with retractable sunshades; the brass
barrels were once wrapped in leather, now since dessicated and removed from this pair.
Check for this imprint to assure authenticity and that the item is not an RNWMP shoulder title that has had the R
removed and the lugs re-located in an effort to mislead. Any other mark suggests the title may a reproduction. RNWMP shoulder titles may be marked with:
JR GAUNT 53 CONDUIT ST LONDON.
See the RNWMP page for an example.
A variety of common military pattern "snake" buckles were worn by the NWMP. The example above was designed specifically for the Mounted Police
with the MP affixed to both sides of the clasp. On the right a pair of gilt Officers NWMP 20mm button cuff links marked Smith & Wright Birmingham.
The Member (left) is wearing a traditional militia tunic with a standard snake buckle, ammunition belt and a pill box hat.
It was usual to have no collar badges or shoulder titles on uniforms, especially uniforms worn while on patrol.
(Below) NWMP commissioned officers in Review Order, with scarlet tunics and white pith helmets.
NWMP Commissioner L.W. Herschmer (below, left), wearing the Field Service cap with embroidered badge (circa 1890). Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele,
CB, KCMG, MVO (below, right) was a distinguished Canadian soldier and police official. He was an officer of the North West Mounted Police, most famously as head of
the Yukon detachment during the Klondike Gold Rush. Click here for a complete list of The Force's Commissioners.
NWMP collar and cap badges also may have marks set on the back of the badge,
commonly on a disk that has been soldered to the badge.
Collar badges are approximately 25 mm X 28 mm;
cap badges approximately 32 mm X 45 mm,
and are stamped in imprint, as opposed to poured into a mould. The badges were stamped in brass or white metal
with a black finish. The example below is marked with a disk that is stamped with the name of the manufacturer:
J.R. GAUNT & SON LTD • LONDON
Example of an NWMP Victorian Officer's tunic (above).
More detail on the Tunics & Headdress page.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Gendarmerie royale du Canada
The Northwest Canada Medal (right) is a British campaign medal issued to the soldiers, volunteers, and
North-West Mounted Police members who participated in putting down the North-West Rebellion in 1885.
The Medal was originally only to be awarded to members of the Militia who fought in the Rebellion but was
extended to include the North West Mounted Police at the insistence of the officers, men and headquarters. The
medal was then only to go to those Members who were under fire during the campaign. The Mounted Police then
argued that their members in the south had been instrumental in preventing hostilities from spreading to the
Blackfoot Nations, and thus should also be entitled to the medal. Eventually, two medals were issued, The North
West Medal and the North West Medal with Saskatchewan Clasp, the latter having a separate bar inscribed with
the word, "Saskatchewan" which was presented to the men who were under fire. In the interim, many of the
men left The Force and many did not receive their medals until the early 1900's.
An authentic NWMP shoulder title may be stamped on the reverse lower rail with the
J R G & S LD B
which is the mark of the manufacturer, J.R. Gaunt & Son LTD, Birmingham.
NWMP collar badges, obverse on the left, reverse on the right, with a Gaunt hallmark disk affixed to the centre.
A studio portrait (right) of a North West Mounted Police constable, circa 1891,
His uniform is plain, as was the custom. The tunic may have been borrowed from
the photographer as many studios kept military uniforms as standard props for
photo shoots. The trousers are standard issue without the broad yellow strip that
became the norm for the Force in later years. The large winter gloves were
standard issue for NWMP members, as was the riding crop seen in his right hand.
The headgear in this photo is unknown and may have been a personal addition for
protection from the elements. The boots and spurs are the forerunners to the
Lord Strathcona High Tops that would be adopted by the Force in later years.
A studio portrait of an NWMP Sergeant (left), circa 1884, wearing the pouch
belt over the left shoulder with binocular case across the back. The Sergeant's
binocular case was pattened after the officer's and had an ornamental NWMP
device mounted to it by bolts fastened with nuts (below).
A cap badge (right) authorized for officers to wear on the terai hat. The badge was
stamped from the same die as the other ranks cap badge, but was produced in white
metal or silver.
The terai hat was a non-regulation "slouch" hat that had a wide red silk hatband,
with a metal shoulder title on the front, with the brim being cocked and held by the
gilt badge seen here. The terai hat was one of many forerunners to the familiar
Stetson which was not formally adopted until June of 1904.
Above, an example of the 1973 RCMP Centennial reproductions of a North West Mounted Police cap badge. These were authorized by The Force to be re-struck by
Gaunt of London using the original dies, to commenorate The Force's 100th Anniversary. Note the unique hallmark disk on the reverse of the badge (right).
1973 Centennial NWMP Cap Badge re-strikes
Officer's Binocular Case
Officer's Sabretache & Cartouche Pouch
The device on the front of the
binocular case: 6 cm X 5 cm,
Queen Victoria crown, gold
badge with a silver Bison insert
with the mis-spelled motto
"MAINTIEN LE DROIT" .
Interior view of the case.
The binoculars are marked:
Chevalier Opticien Paris
on each eye piece.
The Officer's Pouch belt, or binocular case belt, was worn over the left shoulder
with the pouch or case situated on the back. The sergeant's case had sylized
letters NWMP on the case; the officer's case has the larger NWMP device, as
Reverse view of the case
Side view; belt clip
The photo (right) is of Regimental #4668 Sub-Inspector Edmund Dalrymple CLARKE in the undress uniform introduced in 1876. The colour illustration next to it is
based on this photo. Clarke was appointed Paymaster in 1873 and Quartermaster in 1874. He took part in the March West. He was appointed Superintendent in July
1879, four months after this photo was taken, but he died of fever on 2nd October 1880 at Fort Walsh.
This undress jacket is quite plain, scarlet except for the blue collar. It fastens down the front with hooks and eyes. There is a gold lace edging and gold gimp knot on
the sleeve. The only buttons are on the twisted shoulder cords and are gilt. The design on them is a buffalo head under a crown with 'Canada' and 'NWMP'. His blue
breeches have a broad yellow cloth stripe and his boots are black leather. He has a blue pillbox forage cap with gold lace headband and a gold braid edge and top
decoration. The pouchbelt is plain brown leather with a black leather binoculars case on his back. The sabretache was only worn in mounted order both in undress and
full dress. It is black leather having a gilt badge with a silver bison head in the middle.
The officer's sabretache (above) and a close-up view of the gold and silver device on the front (below), with MAINTIEN
mis-spelled (without the S), indicating this was issued prior to 1912.
view under the front flap.
Rear view of the sabretache.
NWMP tunic, 1880 pattern, obverse and reverse views (above) and cuff and interior of tunic (below).
On May 23, 1873, the Dominion Parliament passed an act to provide for the establishment of a
"mounted police force for the Northwest Territories".
The Force began recruiting men between the ages of 18 and 40, of sound constitution, able to ride, active, able-bodied and of good character.
The pay was set at $0.75 per day for sub-constables, $1.00 for constables.
In addition, the men were required to "be able to read and write either the English or French language."
The Command was to be divided into Troops and the Commanding Officer was to be termed "Commissioner".
The term of service was set at three years. The NWMP came into existence on August 30, 1873.
Brass tunic button (above);
Brass button stick (right);
Original button die (below).
Binocular case device (above).
A sabretache is a flat bag or pouch, which was worn suspended from the belt of a cavalry officer together with the sabre. Inspector Francis Dickens (right) - photo
attributed to the RCMP Historical Section, Regina.
The sword of O.26 NWMP
Inspector Edwin ALLEN
Officer of the Year 1874
and part of the original March West.
Variant collar badge, produced by a skilled jeweller
likely for an NWMP officer at his own expense.
An example (above) of a pre-1904 North West Mounted Police cap badge.
The badge measures 4.5 cm wide by 4.15 cm high. The badge has a hallmark disk on the reverse, marked J.R. Gaunt & Son, London.
NWMP Officer's Cartouche Pouch and Belt
Leather and gold lace cartouche belt
with gilt buckle and fittings.
Side buckle - suspender loop
Morocco leather cover with
Interior view of cartouche pouch
UNIFORMS & EQUIPMENT
North West Mounted Police
Pictured below is an Officer's Review Order cartouche pouch and belt. The cartouche
belt and pouch were private purchase by officers and worn with review order dresss only.
The belt was worn over the left shoulder and the pouch hung on the back.
This cartouche belt and pouch displayed here belonged to
NWMP O.58 Supertintendent Arthur Edward Snyder.
Snyder was born in Peterborough, ON in 1861.
He joined the NWMP with a Commission in 1885 and served in the South African
(Anglo-Boer) War as a Lieutenant.
He subsequently served in B Squadron in WWI in Siberia as a Major with Lord Strathcona
Horse. He died in 1940 in Vancouver.
CLICK TO CONTACT US
Inspector C. Starnes
A/Surgeon William E. Thompson
Inspector W.B. Scarth
Superintendent Philip C.H. Primrose
NWMP Winchester 1867 Carbine 45/75
The 1876 Winchester carbine (above)
became the work horse of the NWMP.
Typically marked on the wood butt of the
rifle with a cresecent NWMP (right).
Nomenclature of the era indicated the
.45-75 cartridge contained a 0.45-inch (11
mm) diameter bullet with 75 grains (4.9 g)
of gunpowder (middle, right).
Serial number 45168 (bottom, right)
indicates the firearm was part of a
subsequent shipment from Winchester to
In 1876, initial testing of the Winchester
began when the first Model 1876 Carbine
was sent to the Mounties, resulting in an
immediate purchase of 50 more. The NWMP
did not want to procure a rifle which would
force the NWMP to rely on a foreign
government for firearms, parts, and
ammunition. The result was to approve the
procurement of exactly that. The first
batch of Winchesters were civilian variants
and most saw deployment to members who
patrolled the US-Canada border. The force
would wait another year for an additional
shipment of 50, spurred into action for full
distribution to the Force when the arrival of
Sitting Bull in present day Saskatchewan
created political tension. It wasn’t all good
with the old pattern Winchesters though.
Despite a report deeming them weak in
their construction, full replacement of the
original issued Snider was approved in 1881.