Staff Sergeant Brooke, Interpreter J. A. Beaupre and Justice of the Peace J. Didsbury left Gleichen the afternoon of September 26, 1903 to gather evidence in two ongoing investigations. They drove a wagon and a two horse team and were joined by a Special Constable named "Red Wolf" who was on horseback. They decided to ford the Bow River about ten miles South of Gleichen instead of taking the ferry which would have been ten miles out of their way.
The only report of the incident comes from Red Wolf who was crossing the river ahead of them and did not really see what happened. The river was running high, Red Wolf fell from his horse but grabbed on to the tail. He heard Staff Sergeant Brooke shout but didn't hear what he said. Red Wolf barely escaped with his life and when he reached shore, he saw only the seat of the buggy as it was swept downstream.
The accident caused great distress in Calgary Area; The Calgary Herald carried almost daily reports on the search for the bodies for a couple of weeks following the incident . Superintendent Sanders offered a reward of $20.00 to anyone who found the bodies. Staff Sergeant Brooke was found by a man named "Two Guns" over a month after the accident.
Staff Sergeant Brooke was a long serving veteran of the force, having served almost 20 years at the time of his death. Fred left behind a wife and two children. By 1903, benefits were improving somewhat for Police Officers. Fred's widow, Margaret, received one year's pay ($547.50) and a pension of .75 a day. His two children, Annie and Arthur each received $182.50 and .15 cents per day until they reached adulthood.
Fred joined the force in 1884 with his brother Arthur R. Brooke, who is buried one plot north. Fred and Arthur's regimental numbers were 1102 and 1103 respectively. Arthur was on the engineering party that surveyed the site for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and remained with the force until 1909 . He retired with the rank of Sgt.-Major and served as president of the Calgary Division of the NWMP Veteran's Association for 1934/35.
Of genealogical interest, it appears that all the men in this family bore the name of "Arthur", a practice which was more common at the turn of the century than it is now.
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