Cst. Harry Gilbert RAPEER – May 23, 1940

Reg. # 10655, Cst. Harry Gilbert RAPEER

May 23, 1940, Regina, Sask.                     Age: 42 years

Born May 2, 1898.  Engaged July 24, 1929.  Discharged September 12, 1930.  Re- engaged September 29 ???,1939.

Cst. RAPEER was the last member of the RCMP to die in an incident involving horses.  He was an experienced and competent handler of horses who was employed as a teamster at Depot Division, Regina.  On the day of his death, Cst. RAPEER had driven a wagon load of garbage to the incinerator.  While he was unloading his freight, some scraps of paper blew in front of the horses’ faces and spooked them.  As they reared and snorted and began to stomp around, RAPEER got down from the wagon and went around to their heads.  In an attempt to get them under control, he tried to grab the reins at their mouths.  The horses suddenly bolted and charged ahead, running Cst. RAPEER down and dragging the heavy wagon over him.  One of the wagon wheels ran over his head and crushed him into unconsciousness.  He was brought from the pasture to the barracks and, given the seriousness of his condition, taken immediately to the General Hospital.  He died there at noon on May 23, 1940.

Cst. RAPEER’s funeral was held at the RCMP Chapel at Depot Division.  He was buried in plot 117 in the RCMP Cemetery nearby.  His funeral procession included a firing party and a parade of over 150 officers who followed a gun carriage bearing his casket.

The irony of Cst. RAPEER’s death is that he had just been re-admitted to the RCMP.

He had originally engaged at Regina in 1929, but left the Force to get married in 1930.  From that time, he was employed by the City of Saskatoon, where he worked his way up to the position of foreman.  But RAPEER constantly regretted leaving the Mounted Police and repeatedly requested permission to re-engage.  He went so far as to have Provincial Members of Parliament write to the RCMP on his behalf.  This went on for over seven years.

During this time, RAPEER and his wife, Vera M. RAPEER  had two children.  However, in May 1939, the couple were divorced.  He then remarried in October 1939, was re-engaged with the RCMP and died less than seven months later.

(2009-10-20 reviewed.  Request for more info & whether photo exists)