Onlookers visit Montague White-Fraser’s grave, which finally has a marker 92 years after his death. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

The sky was overcast over Montague White-Fraser’s grave in Agassiz’s Old Cemetery, but more than 60 people officers came out to celebrate the fact that there was a grave for the clouds to hang over.

The former Agassiz resident and Northwest Mounted Police officer had been buried in the Old Cemetery with his wife in 1927, but didn’t have enough money to afford a headstone. For 92 years, White-Fraser’s grave went unmarked next to his wife’s monument.

On Saturday (July 13), Agassiz residents, officials, RCMP veterans and police officers came together to celebrate the two years of hard work that ended with the RCMP giving a former serviceman his grave marker.

RELATED: Agassiz man to get headstone after 92 years

“The greatness of a culture is marked by speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, and that’s never more true than being here today,” chaplain Jim Turner said during the service. “Today marks the completion of this recognition of the service of Insp. Montague Henry White-Fraser.”

The ceremony was short and quiet: members of the honour guard in red serge gave a salute to White-Fraser’s memory, and RCMP Veterans Association director Ric Hall outlined the history of White-Fraser’s life.

White-Fraser had worked with the Northwest Mounted Police throughout western Canada for 13 years before he retired. Later moving to Agassiz, and losing his beloved wife Elizabeth, he fell into poverty and died with barely enough money to cover his funeral expenses.

“There wasn’t a single penny left in his estate to afford him even a modest headstone for his final resting place,” Hall said. “And that’s what brings us here today.”

Mayor Sylvia Pranger also spoke at the service, and thanked many of the people who had worked to get White-Fraser a headstone. But she also thanked one person privately before the ceremony: Linda Shephard, who had worked for more than two years researching White-Fraser and striving to get him a marker for his grave.

“You know why,” Pranger said to Shephard as she handed her a bouquet of flowers before the ceremony. “For all your hard work.”

“Without your research, it wouldn’t have happened.”

During the Saturday ceremony, Sgt. Bruce Coulter played Lochober’s Lament on the bagpipes — a tribute to White-Fraser’s burial service 92 years ago, when he asked for that same song to be played by his graveside.

Later, when attendees had made their way up to White-Fraser’s grave on the hillside of the Old Cemetery, Coulter took out his bagpipes again. The sounds of the music drifted over the Old Cemetery, just as it had done 92 years ago.



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Members of the RCMP honour guard prepare before Montague White-Fraser’s grave-marking ceremony on July 13. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

RCMP officers and members of the honour guard during Montague White-Fraser’s service on July 13. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Linda Shephard at the grave marking ceremony for Montague White-Fraser. Shephard had workd for over two years research White-Fraser’s life, in an effort to get a gravestone for him. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Current and retired RCMP members made their way up the steep side of Agassiz’s Old Cemetery to honour Montague White-Fraser, and his new gravestone. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Montague White-Fraser’s new headstone, as given to him by the RCMP. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Just Posted

Westbound traffic goers on Highway 1 are having a rough morning

Two separate incidents have congested the commute

VIDEO: Angry Abbotsford cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

VIDEO: Abbotsford police surprise teen with gift after her bike was stolen

Girl’s bike was swiped off the family porch that morning

Man who drove vehicle into parking lot post at Abbotsford arena must pay deductible, tribunal rules

Man said he couldn’t see post, but tribunal rules he should have been paying attention

Abbotsford Panthers celebrate 35th anniversary of title with win

Panthers come from behind to defeat Notre Dame, Mouat edges Bateman in exhibition action

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. Ferries wants input on concepts for a Horseshoe Bay terminal re-design

Ferry corporation accepting public feedback until Oct. 13

Most Read