V. C. HERO IS
THE DAILY PROVINCE, VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 12, 19221.
LAID AT REST
Thousands Pay Tribute to Murdered Police Constable McBeath.
Rev. J.S. Henderson Says Time to Clear Undesirables Out.
Standing with heads uncovered and bowed in sympathy, thousands of Vancouver citizens this afternoon paid their tribute to Robert McBeath, V.C., who was killed on Monday morning2.. Between the silent ranks his body passed to its resting place at Mountain View,3. while the wailing of "Lochaber No More" by the police pipe band reminded the sorrowing crowds that the young hero who had won glory on the battlefields was a son of Scotia and had met his end while carrying out his duties as a peace officer with that grim determination characteristic of his race.
Flags were half-masted in the city and suburbs, stores closed their doors while the procession passed and following the coffin were representatives of many organizations with which Constable McBeath had been associated. The body was removed from the police station at 1 o'clock to the Masonic Temple, where a largely-attended service was held by his brothers in the order. Then the coffin was taken to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Richards Street, where Rev. J.S. Henderson4. paid a tribute to the deceased.
The church was completely filled by the mourners and the general public, while along the route of the procession on Georgia, Granville, Hastings and Main streets thousands lined the sidewalks. "Oh Rest in the Lord" was played by the organist after the benediction, and then the chords of the Dead March in Saul crashed out as the coffin was borne from the church by Sergeant Yorke, John Deacon, H. Annesley, H. Mortimer, D. Mitchell and H. McAuley of the city police force.5.
The order of the cortege was the city mounted police, the Masons,7. 150 city constables, suburban police forces, mayor,8. . aldermen and civic officials, police magistrates and commissioners, 100 firemen, twenty-five Royal Canadian Mounted Police, members of militia units and veterans organizations, St. Andrews and Caledonian Society, Gaelic Society, Foresters and private citizens.
An elequent tribute to the manhood of Constable McBeath was voiced by Dr. Henderson.
"We are met to pay our last tributes of respect to one whose sudden, tragic passing we all deeply mourn." he declared. "There is sorrow in all our hearts. Many did not know him by sight, could call him by name, but there were few hearts or homes that were not sad when the news of this event became known.
"Constable McBeath was a splendid specimen of British manhood, clean, strong, upstanding, a forward-looking man. Those who knew him intimately not only admired him as a splendid specimen of manhood, but loved him for those finer qualities of mind and heart which entich noble character, ennoble life and give high tone to citizenship and patriotism."
Dr. Henderson recounted the splended record of the deceased in the Great War, pointing out that it is not often that a lad in histeens may win such a high and honorable place in the esteem of not only his own folk, but of all who knew him.
"This tragic event has awakened a new interest in that brave body of men who safeguard our lives and property by day and night," he said. "All honor to them. Do we as citizens appreciate as we should their devotion to duty, the courage and sacrifice with which they give themselves to their task?
PRAISE FOR POLICE
"We know about their pay, we hear about certain lapses of duty which are alleged. But do we know of the thousand and one heroic deeds performed on the streets of our city, deeds as worthy of a place on the scrolls of fame as those performed on the fields of France and Flanders?"
Dr. Henderson urged that a new civic spirit should arise, a spirit which does not carp nor hinder reforms, but cheerfully assists constituted authorities.
In conclusion he said:
"There is a new purpose on the part of the authorities to rid this city of that herd of undesirables, who through someones blunder has made Vancouver its breeding and feeding ground. It is time that we rose up in our might, officials and citizens together, and put a period to those disgraceful scenes all too common in the life of our city.
"We do not forget today the young wife9. who mourns the loss of her gallant husband. She, brave heart, is the one who feels more keenly than the rest what has happened. She has the heartfelt sympathy of the entire community, and the fervent prayers of devote hearts, that the Almighty in love and strength may guide and uphold."
MANY VIEW REMAINS.
There was a festoon of crepe over the door at police headquaters this morning and from a very early hour an enormous crowd surged back and forth on Cordova Street, waiting to view all that was mortal of the dead hero.
While counsel in the court room above were wielding the machinery of the law to bring home the crime to the alleged slayer, the hands of his comrades were busy turning the entrance hall of the building into a chapel where he might lie in state while his fellow citizens paid him their silent tribute of farewell.
The hall was draped with a freize of crepe looped with rosettes and streamers of white silk; around the lower walls great palms spread their shade and, for a background, the foot of the stairs was hidden hehind two Union Jacks, also drapped with crepe.
Arranged in a semi-circle at the back and sides of the hall were the floral tributes that have poured in from all parts of the city to honor the passing of a hero.
Into the space between these at a little before 11 o'clock was borne the grey casket by Constable Murray, Constable Proudlock, Constable Rae and Constable Murdock. Inspector George Hood draped the coffin with the Union Jack and placed the Masonic insignia of the dead man above it. At the foot of the coffin was a great wreath conceived in the form of the Victoria Cross and executed in carnations, lillies and Scotch heather, with the medal ribbons won by the dead man woven in the centre. This tribute was the gift of the returned men of the city.
Before the public was admitted the hall was cleared of all but the silent guard of constables at the head and foot of the coffin and Mrs. R. G. McBeath, led in by Chief of Police Anderson and accompanied by the immediate friends and relatives, took a last farewell of her young hero husband. There are no words, nor is it fitting to describe the grief of the bereaved.
As the public were admitted by the main door they passed the coffin in single file, looked reverently and left. The great crowd that had packed the Police Court for the hearing of the preliminary case against Deal were also ushered down the stairs in single file to prevent confusion and passed round the coffin with the rest.
Among the mass of floral offerings, the gift of the Vancouver City Police Union took the form of a wheel with a broken spoke carried out in pink and white carnations. Wreaths were also displayed from the mayor and aldermen of the city, the 7th Battalion, the 29th Battalion, the G. A. U. V., the Police Union of Victoria, Chief Anderson and staff, the criminal investgation bureau of the R. C. M. P., the Firemens Benefit Union, the warden and officers of Oakalla prison farm, the City Firefighters' Union, the Vancouver provincial police, city police P. M. B. A., South Vancouver police, Constable and Mrs. McDougall, Grand Orange Lodge of B. C., Mr, and Mrs. Harold McRae, Heather Lodge D. O. S., the Independent Order of B'nai Brith and "School comrade" Duncan Corbett.
1. The Vancouver Daily Province, Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, October 12, 1922. p. 7. ^
2. Vancouver Police records incorrectly show his death on October 10th, which has lead to some confusion in later reports. ^
Plot 193 Lot 6 of Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. Note that while his marriage and birth certificates, Grand Lodge of Scotland records and the Gazette notice for his Victoria Cross all spell his name McBeath, extant correspondence from his cousin, the coroners court inquest report and his gravestone spell the name MacBeath.
4. The Rev. Dr. VW Bro. J. S. Henderson, Past Grand Chaplain, was a member of Acacia No. 22.
Bro. John Deacon, Southern Cross Lodge No. 44; Bro. H. Annesley Southern Cross Lodge No. 44; Bro. H. Mortimer, Plantagenet Lodge No. 65 (charter of Zenith No. 104)
Sergeant Donald MacKay, who would become Police Chief in 1939, as Worshipful Master of Mount Hermon in 1922-1923 conducted the graveside service.
Lodge records report 377 members attended the funeral lodge.
Vancouver mayor, C. E. Tisdall was a member of Mount Hermon Lodge No. 7 and would become Grand Master of British Columbia the following year.
His widow, Barbara, would shortly thereafter return to Scotland, later to remarry.^
Daily Province, |
Tuesday, October 10, 19226.