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Thomas Crozier Brice, 1888-1932

Arctic & Northern Biographies

    Thomas Crozier Brice was born in Islington, Middlesex, England, on May 19, 1888, the son of Thomas Brice and Emily Florence (Crozier) Brice. He died in Vancouver on May 26, 1932, at the age of 44.

    Little of his life is known to us yet, but he served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) for 3 years, then after moving to Canada he served for 6 months with the Winnipeg Grenadiers before joining the Royal North-West Mounted Police (RNWMP) on September 5, 1914.

    Wanting to serve in Europe in World War I, Thomas Brice joined the RNWMP Cavalry Draft which had been authorized on April 6, 1918, and on the 29th, he signed the papers to join the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force (see his Attestation Paper). A history of what began as the RNWMP Cavalry Draft can be read at the RCMP Veterans' Association site.

    When peace retured, Private Brice returned to service with the Royal North-West Mounted Police at several detachments in western Canada. In November 1931, he froze his feet while on a long patrol out of Carmacks, Yukon Territory.

    The newspaper articles below describe the patrol out of Carmacks that ultimately led to his death.

The Vancouver Sun - May 26, 1932

    A veteran of hearly 18 years in the service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Sergt. Thomas Crozier Brice, 43, died this morning in the General Hospital, where he had been a patient since February.
    Sergt. Brice, considered by his superior officers a highly valuable man in the service and one who will be difficult to replace, was a member of the Liard patrol last November. His feet were frozen while on that duty and he had been ill ever since, coming to Vancouver about three months ago.
    Complications necessitated an operation last week and from this he never fully rallied. He is survived by a sister in Middlesex, England.
    In September, 1914, Sergt. Brice joined the Mounted Police at Winnipeg and for more than 17 years has served in practically all parts of the West, particularly in Southern Saskatchewan, Northern British Columbia and more recently in Victoria and Penticton.
    The funeral service will be held Saturday at 9 am. in Christ Church Cathedral, Rev. F. H. Wilkinson and Major the Rev. C. C. Owen officiating. Messrs. Center & Hanna are directing.

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix - May 26, 1932

    VANCOUVER, B.C, May 26. Sergeant Thomas Crozier Brice, 43, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who suffered frozen feet in February while on the Liard patrol near Carmacks, Y.T., died today in hospital here following an operation for a stomach ailment.
    While patrolling his beat in zero weather, Sergeant Brice became snow-bound and both his feet were frozen. Fearing gangrene, he operated on himself with an old knife, severing two toes on his right foot. When assistance reached him he was removed to Carmacks. where several more toes on both feet were cut off.

The Windsor Star - May 30, 1932

Mark Gaillard, Historian for the RCMP Veterans' Association, sent me the following information:

    Sergeant Thomas Crozier Brice, Regimental Number 6103, was born May 19, 1888, and joined the Royal North West Mounted Police at Winnipeg, MB, on September 5, 1914.
    In 1918 he served in the RNWMP Cavalry Draft during World War 1 (hence his rank of "Private" and the notation "Cavalry Brigade C.E.F." on his gravestone).
    After the War he resumed his service in the Force on April 15, 1919, which became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on February 1, 1920.
    He died while still serving in the Force on May 26, 1932.

  • Thomas Crozier Brice was buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. He has a memorial page at Find A Grave.