Stuart Wood

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For the guitarist of the Bay City Rollers, see Stuart John Wood. For the English cricketer, see Stuart Wood (cricketer).
Stuart Taylor Wood
Born October 17, 1889
Napanee, Ontario
Died January 4, 1966(1966-01-04) (aged 76)
Regina, Saskatchewan
Allegiance Canadian
Commands held Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Awards CMG

Stuart Taylor Wood, CMG (October 17, 1889 – January 4, 1966) served as the ninth Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, from March 6, 1938 to April 30, 1951.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Napanee, Ontario, Wood's father, Zachary Taylor Wood, CMG served in the North-West Mounted Police from 1885 to 1915 and was Acting Commissioner of the Force.

Wood attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario where he graduated in 1912. Shortly after he secured a commission in the RNW Mounted Police and served with the Force until his retirement in 1951, almost forty years. [1]

Wood himself served in World War I as a lieutenant in the cavalry in France and Belgium. He served in the Yukon upon returning to Canada in 1919 as Justice of the Peace, Coroner, Sheriff, Game Inspector and Customs Officer.

Reforms[edit]

When Wood became an Acting Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner he initiated many changes. Through 1945 and 1946 he established a system of registration for aliens, and dealt with espionage cases. In the North, he recruited new policing detachments. He organized a permanent Royal Canadian Mounted Police Band, (later disbanded by Commissioner Inkster in 1994). He established the first RCMP scientific laboratory and museum in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Wood also established a horse breeding station at Fort Walsh. He improved wireless communication and broadcasting and instituted a preventive policing program for youth. He negotiated provincial policing contracts for Newfoundland and British Columbia. Under his leadership the RCMP force grew gradually and scientific methods of crime detection improved enhancing law enforcement and crime prevention. Wood retired from the RCMP in 1951 and died in 1966. He was buried in Regina, Saskatchewan.

PROFUNC[edit]

In the 1950s Wood was responsible for compiling a "blacklist" called PROFUNC, which was a Government of Canada top secret plan to identify and detain communist sympathizers during the height of the Cold War.[2] In October 2010, a joint CBC/Radio-Canada investigation revealed that information gathered under PROFUNC have most probably been used during the 1970 October Crisis, when Canada invoked the War Measures Act and suspended civil liberties in Canada.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Wood was the great-great grandson of U.S. President Zachary Taylor. Zachary's third daughter, Anne, married Robert C. Wood, a U.S. Regular Army surgeon, who served the Union during the Civil War, though their two sons served the Confederacy. One of their sons, John Taylor Wood, had been an officer in the U.S. Navy, but with the outbreak of the Civil War resigned, later joining the Confederate Marine Corps, and later served as an office in the famed ironclad Virginia/Merrimac during her encounter with the USS Monitor. He afterwards became a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army. After the war John Taylor Wood relocated to Canada.

Wood is the nephew of No. 352, Lieut. C.C. Wood, who died of wounds in South Africa in 1899.

Wood's two sons, Constables John Taylor Wood and Herschel Taylor Wood, also served on the Force. His son Herschel was killed on duty in 1950. Both Herschel and his father are buried in the RCMP Depot in Regina. Wood's son John retired from the RCMP as Superintendent in 1988.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Military College of Canada - Review Yearbook (Kingston, Ontario Canada) - Class of 1965 p. 199
  2. ^ CBC: Secret Cold War plan included mass detentions
  3. ^ CBC- The Fifty State :"Enemies of the State" with Linden MacIntyre
Police appointments
Preceded by
James Howden MacBrien
Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
1938-1951
Succeeded by
Leonard Nicholson