Sep 23 2018

Five things to know about RCMP regimental funerals – Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: On Monday, an RCMP regimental funeral will be held for Const. David Wynn. Here are a few details on what the service entails.

EDMONTON — The City of St. Albert and people from across Alberta and Canada are preparing to say their final goodbye to Const. David Wynn, who was shot last weekend while investigating a vehicle theft in the community northwest of Edmonton.

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An RCMP regimental funeral will be held for Const. Wynn on Monday in St. Albert. A uniformed procession will leave Holy Family Church in St. Albert at noon and arrive at Servus Place for the start of the funeral at 2 p.m.

“It’s our way of honouring the service, the sacrifice of our members. It’s a way in which we can pay ultimate respects to their memory and leave a memory for their families,” Staff Sergeant Major Doug Pack said of holding a regimental funeral.

“For us, it is a big deal. It just means that we’re able to say our goodbyes as a family, which is what any other family would want to do for its loved ones.”

READ MORE: Funeral for St. Albert Mountie Cst. David Wynn to take place Monday

The decision to hold a regimental funeral is that of the commanding officer, after consultation with the next of kin, national headquarters and the commissioner’s office.

Regimental funerals have been held since the force was created in 1873. However, the name of the service has evolved from what was previously known as “buried with full military honours.”

Here are five things you may not have known about regimental funerals, according to the RCMP.

Funeral procession

The bearer party is made up of eight casket bearers. Honourary pallbearers are those who escort rather than help carry the casket. They can be a combination of RCMP members or non-members.

The pall is a covering, usually of black, purple or white cloth, placed over the casket/tomb. While it’s not essential to designate pallbearers for every funeral, it is customary to do so for a full-scale regimental funeral.

The insignia bearer is nominated by the next of kin and will usually be an RCMP member of similar rank of the deceased.

If approved by the next of kin, a firing party may be authorized to fire volleys at the funeral of an officer below the assistant commissioner rank. Three rounds of blank cartridges are discharged at the graveside immediately before Last Post is sounded.

In a regimental funeral where a procession takes place, a charger (a riderless horse) will be led by a Constable/Junior NCO immediately behind the insignia bearer.

Order of Dress

Dress for members participating in or attending regimental funerals will be “review order” with a Sam Browne (brown leather belt), medals, decorations and mourning ribbon. Officers and warrant officers will also wear a Stetson (felt hat) when parading with other ranks.

Colours (RCMP guidon)

The guidon is the RCMP’s consecrated regimental flag. It contains the honorary distinctions and theatre honours awarded to the Northwest Mounted Police, Royal Northwest Mounted Police and the RCMP for gallantry in battle.

The guidon is only paraded by itself or with other military colours. It is never paraded with other flags, including the National Flag of Canada, or other flags, banners or ensigns.

With permission of the commissioner, the RCMP guidon is often present at RCMP regimental funerals. The RCMP guidon is carried and escorted by a guidon party, which is made up of at least three members; the guidon Bearer and at least two armed escorts. The guidon is only carried by a warrant officer.

Flags and Ensigns

Flags are authorized to be at half-mast during the mourning period. Once the funeral services are complete, the flags will be raised back up to full-mast to mark the end of official mourning. The Canadian flag is used to dress the casket, however, the Royal Union (Union Jack) or RCMP Corps Ensign may also be used if requested by the next of kin or following the wishes of the deceased.

At an appropriate time, the flag used to drape the casket may be presented to the next of kin. This usually happens on the day of the funeral or the following day.

Saluting and Removing Headdress

Officers and NCOs in command will salute each time the casket passes by, while the casket is being placed on a gun carriage or hearse, during the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille, and at the foot of the grave when paying their final respects.

The headdress is removed:

On entering a religious/sacred building;By the bearer party before lifting or handling the casket;At the start of the graveside service, signalled when the chaplain steps forward; andAt the start of the chapel service where cremation is to take place, signalled when the chaplain steps forward.

The headdress is replaced:

At the graveside service before the sounding of the Last Post and the Rouse, signalled when the chaplain steps back; andAt the end of the chapel service where cremation is to take place, before the sounding of the Last Post and the Rouse, signalled when the chaplain steps back.

Those wishing to attend Wynn’s funeral on Monday are urged to use free Park and Ride and arrive early as the doors will be locked and late-comers will not be allowed in once the service begins.

Global News will be livestreaming the funeral. A live feed of the funeral will also be shown at St. Albert’s Arden Theatre.

The Wynn family encourages mourners to pay their respects at a public visitation being held Sunday night at the St. Albert Alliance Church.

For more information on the funeral service, visit the City of St. Albert’s website.

For more information on RCMP regimental funerals, visit the Government of Canada’s website.

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