Vancouver Police Constable Robert McBeath may have died almost 90 years ago, but his memory is living on thanks to the work of a group of students from Kinlochbervie High School in Scotland.
Robert McBeath was only 16 years old when he left the village of Kinlochbervie in 1915, lying about his age in order to join the Seaforth Highlanders Regiment. Three years later, as a decorated war hero, McBeath and his wife left Scotland in search of adventure. He joined the British Columbia Provincial Police and then began his short career as a Vancouver Police officer.
While trying to stop a drunk driver by jumping onto the running board of a car, Constable McBeath was shot through the heart. He died on October 9, 1922, after he managed to get up and see to the welfare of a fellow officer.
In 2009, students from Kinlochbervie High School, took on the project of building a cairn as a memorial for Lance Corporal Robert McBeath in their village. Hearing of this, the Vancouver Police Department sent the school photos of Constable McBeath’s funeral, which remains one of the largest in Vancouver’s history. The students, aged between 12 and 17, were invited to come to Vancouver to take part in a similar ceremony here, to honour Robert McBeath and other fallen officers of the Vancouver Police Department.
The students, who have been in Vancouver since June 9th, have made a time capsule in a joint project with students in Vancouver, to be placed in the cairn as a dedication to fallen officers. They will be placing stones, brought from Scotland, to finish the cairn.
“We often use the words, ‘their sacrifice will never be forgotten.’ In order for us to uphold this commitment, it becomes the duty of all of us to keep the memories alive,” says Chief Constable Jim Chu. “Each stone of this cairn helps us fulfill that duty.”
For more information about Constable Robert McBeath and other Vancouver police officers who have died in the line of duty, visit the Vancouver Police Museum Fallen Officers Memorial page.