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George Arthur French.

Major-General Sir George Arthur French, KCMG (19 June 1841 – 7 July 1921) served as the first Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police, from October 18, 1873, to July 21, 1876.

George Arthur French was born at Roscommon, Ireland. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Woolwich and commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1860.

In 1871, at the request of the Canadian government, he was sent to Canada as a military inspector, eventually becoming head of the School of Gunnery at Kingston, Ontario.

He was appointed to organize the NWMP (North West Mounted Police) on its creation in 1873, and the next year he led the force on its famous march to the foothills of the Rockies.

He resigned in 1876 and returned to duty in the British Army, eventually attaining the rank of major-general. The organizational skills developed in Canada were used to establish local defence forces in India and Australia.

When he retired in 1902 he received a knighthood and for the next 19 years much of his time was spent guarding the crown jewels in London, where he died in 1921.

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Police appointments
Preceded by
William Osborne Smith
Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police
Succeeded by
James MacLeod


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