“Unknown Captain” Steacie Headstone now in RMR museum

Westmount, 17 December 2013: The museum has managed to arrange for the original headstone of the first RMR officer killed in action to be donated to the RMR museum.  This initiative was driven by the RMR’s Captain Grant Furholter, CD. who formally identified the headstone after some thorough research by author/war historian/roofer Michel Gravel while on a battlefield tour a number of years ago, which was simply marked as “Unknown Captain, 14th Battalion CEF”.  After conducting some detailed research, Michel Gravel and Captain Furholter correctly identified it as belonging to Captain Richard Steacie who was killed in the 2nd Battle of Ypres, 1915.  Based on Michel’s research, Captain Furholter alerted the proper authorities within the Commonwealth Graves Commission to the error, and once confirmations were made that it would be fixed, he contacted the Steacie family (now living in Ottawa) to advise them.  A detailed account of the story was published last year in the Toronto Sun.

2013 06 28 Capt Steacie grave marker

The news was a great relief to the family, members of whom have subsequently visited the new headstone in Belgium.  Through his civilian work connections, Captain Furholter has arranged for Air Canada Cargo to deliver the original headstone to the RMR Museum, which may be the first time in Canadian history this has occurred, besides the tomb of the unknown soldier that was transferred to Ottawa in May 2000.


2010 05 Capt Steacie grave marker
Original grave marker “Unknown Captain of the 14th Bn”, now part of the RMR Museum collection

The Steacie family has been very generous with the RMR, donating Captain Steacie’s sword (which is now carried on parade by the CO to remind all leaders within the Regiment to ‘Lead from the Front’), as well as some scrapbooks maintained by Captain Steacie’s son Edgar, which has provided valuable historical information on the formation of the Regiment, insight into the social history of the period, as well as examples of such things as the RMR’s first Christmas cards ever issued.



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