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ARCHIVED - " Without Fear, Favour or Affection:" The Men of the North West Mounted Police
Biography: Sir Cecil Denny
Cecil Denny, ca. 1874
Born in Hampshire, England, in December 1850, Cecil Denny immigrated to Canada. In May 1874 he applied for and received a commission as superintendent and sub-inspector (later styled simply as inspector) in the North West Mounted Police (NWMP). He took part in the "March West" in the summer of 1874, and subsequently served in the Fort Macleod and Fort Calgary areas. In the spring of 1881, he resigned from the NWMP in disgrace for discreditable behaviour.
Denny remained in the West and had a long and checkered career for the next 40 years as an Indian Agent, Mounted Police scout, fire ranger, rancher, packer and guide. In 1922, he was appointed assistant archivist of Alberta, a position he held until he was dismissed in 1927. Denny then lived in poverty, in spite of the fact that in February 1922, he became the sixth Baronet of Tralee on the death of his half-brother, Sir Arthur Denny.
Now elderly, with no work or income and only a meaningless title, Denny's circumstances were precarious. In 1905, he had published an account of his life as a mounted policeman, Riders of the Plains. He worked feverishly on an updated version, published more than a decade after his death as The Law Marches West.
Sick and hospitalized, Denny's end was near when a sister, who lived in Ireland, died and left him a bequest of some $13,000. He left a large portion of the funds to the RCMP Veterans Association; his donation started a fund to assist destitute former members of the Mounted Police. Sir Cecil Denny died on July 25, 1928, and is buried in Union Cemetery, Calgary, Alberta.
His career as a mounted policeman was brief but colourful, and he wrote extensively about his experiences. He was not the only member of the British elite to serve in the North West Mounted Police. Other members of the NWMP with titles in their family included: