Sgt. Arthur Julian BARKER – March 16, 1940

Reg. # 7606, Sgt. Arthur Julian BARKER

March 16, 1940 at Shaunavon, Saskatchewan              Age: 50 years

Sgt. BARKER was born in Westmill, England on August 26, 1889.  He joined the Force as a Special Constable on August 17, 1914 and served at Big Muddy and Wood Mountain Detachments in Saskatchewan.  He took his discharge on August 31, 1915.

During the ensuing period, he served for 17 months with the US Army Remount Depot and 3 years with the Imperial Cavalry.  Sgt. BARKER was then engaged as a regular member of the RNWMP on April 10, 1919 at Regina, Sask.  He was stationed at Regina and employed on the rough riding staff and then served briefly as i/c Big Muddy Detachment.

Cpl. BARKER purchased his discharge from the RCMP on April 26, 1921.  Between August 4, 1921 and May 31, 1928, he served with the Saskatchewan Provincial Police (SPP).  Upon absorption of the SPP by the RCMP on June 1, 1928, he was taken on strength of the RCMP.  He was posted at Preeceville (1928-30), Sturgis (1930-31), i/c Assiniboia (1932-35 and i/c Shaunavon (1935-40).  From 1935, he was employed as a Patrol Sgt. and stock detective in the Swift Current Sub/Div.

Sgt. BARKER had a long and successful career as a peace officer.  He was killed in the line of duty when he was taken by surprise and shot to death by an insane man in the lobby of the Grand Hotel in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan.  His killer was Victor Greenlay, the 31 year old son of a prominent Lieut.-Col. In the 14th Saskatchewan Light Horse.  Greenlay’s father was also an ex-sergeant of the RNWMP.

Sgt. BARKER and Victor Greenlay were friends.  Because Greenlay was troubled, they met on Thursday afternoon, March 16, 1940 and talked.  The conversation was baffling to BARKER.  Greenlay talked in riddles and made no sense.  In order to continue their conversation, they agreed to meet again that night at seven o’clock in Greenlay’s room at the Grand Hotel.

Arthur BARKER knew he was dealing with a sick person when he agreed to meet Greenlay at the hotel that night.  But he went anyway, and listened to his friend ramble incoherently for almost two hours.  Greenlay’s diatribe was as confusing as it had been in the afternoon.  Apparently, Greenlay had heard voices that commanded him to “get out and save the salvation of the world.”  Victor Greenlay could think of no better assistant for this task then Sgt. BARKER, and attempted to enrol him in the cause.  He insisted the first thing they had to do was to stop the Canadian Government from selling horses to France.  Greenlay feared trouble was to break out and within weeks there would be troops “in the saddle.”  He further proclaimed that “Christ will appear in Germany in the form of a woman and will turn the forces against Germany.”  On a less global theme, Greenlay also wanted BARKER to intercede for him with dissatisfied girlfriend.

Around nine o’clock, when BARKER could see their conversation was futile, he left the room and headed downstairs to the lobby.  As he sat at the bottom of the stairs pulling on his rubbers, Greenlay came down the steps and shot him three times; twice in the chest and once in the neck.  BARKER fell to the floor and died there under the barrel of Greenlay’s smoking .38 revolver.

When the Shaunavon police arrived to arrest Greenlay, he was standing over BARKER’s body in a stupor, mumbling that BARKER was the devil.  With the wild eyes of a madman, he professed that he had ‘learned how to save the world and that man forced me to tell him.  The only thing I could do was kill him.  He is a fiend incarnate.”

Thus ended the 26 year career of a highly effective and respected police officer. A big man at six foot two inches, 210 pounds, BARKER seldom used his size to make a point.  He had particular success relating with the ranchers and stock growers of the Shaunavon area because he was especially adept at solving cases of cattle and horse stealing.  He was also held in high regard by the United States Border Patrol with whom he worked most co-operatively.  BARKER was promoted to corporal in 1931 and to sergeant in 1939, at which time he was posted to Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Sgt. BARKER was survived by his wife, Gladys, and one seven year old son.  His brother, Reg. # 6397, S/Sgt. F.W.J. BARKER, and his brother’s son, S/Sgt. B.O. BARKER, were also members of the Force.  Arthur’s funeral was attended by hundreds of mourners at All Saints Anglican Church in Shaunavon.  After the service, his remains were transported to Regina and interred at the RCMP Cemetery.

Ex-Sgt. BARKER’s RCMP Long Service Medal, awarded posthumously, was presented to his wife on May 30, 1940.

Victor Greenlay was tried for murder and was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

He was ordered confined to a mental institution.

(Photo of Headstone available)