August 1, 1900 - March 31, 1923
Perry, on the right, is seen here in 1919 when HRH Edward, Prince of Wales visited Regina. In 1920 Edward became the first Honorary Commissioner of the RCMP. The Assistant Commissioner stands on the left and another officer stands behind Perry's right shoulder. They are all wearing khaki jackets and Sam Browne belts with whistles attached. The officer behind Perry is an Inspector and has a closed collar while the two senior officers have lapels and ties. They wear the full dress blue breeches with yellow stripe, and brown boots.
Aylesworth Bowen Perry was born at Violet, near Napanee, Ontario, on August 21, 1860. He was educated at the Royal Military College in Kingston and upon graduation was given a commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers.
In 1881, Perry resigned from the Royal Engineers and worked with the Geological Survey of Canada, for one year. In January 1882, he was appointed an Inspector in the North-West Mounted Police. A contingent under Perry's command travelled to England for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the first occasion on which a detachment of the Mounted Police was sent overseas. In 1899 he was placed in command of the police in the Yukon. On August 1, 1890 he was appointed Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police.
As commissioner, Perry organized a secret service for intelligence gathering, instituted annual training classes, increased pay rates, revised regulations related to marriage, formed two squadrons to fight in the First World War and approved changes to the uniform, with perhaps the formal adoption of the Stetson being the most noted. He was in command in 1904 when King Edward VII added the title "Royal" to the NWMP. When the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan created provincial police forces the responsibilities of the Force were diminished. For a number of years the future of the Force was in doubt, but during the post war period it proved useful in controlling labour unrest and Perry was one of the principal advisors to the government during the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919. Perry's most significant accomplishment, however, occurred in 1920 when he had to reorganize the Force after it absorbed the Dominion Police into it, extend police services throughout Canada and move headquarters from Regina to Ottawa. The Force emerged as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In 1909, Perry was awarded the Order of St. Michael and St. George and in 1920 was given the title "Honorary Aide-de-camp to His Excellency The Governor General". Commissioner Perry retired on April 1, 1923, and was awarded the rank of Major-General by the Canadian Militia. He died in Ottawa on February 14, 1956.
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