William John Duncan Dempster

Obit:Friday, October 23, 1964
British Columbia, Canada

End of the Trail

Notices in this section are limited to names of those who have achieved pioneer status through many years in the North, or who are otherwise of unquestioned importance in the daily scene.


William John Duncan Dempster, leader of the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police party which found the ill-fated Fitzgerald patrol half a century ago, died in a Vancouver, B. C, hospital October 23. He was 88 years old. Born in Wales, he joined the Northwest Mounted Police in 1898, a year after coming to Canada. He served in detachments at Dalton, Bennett, Halfway, Caribou, Bonanza, McQuesten, Stewart, Fortymile Rampart White River, Mayo and Dawson. But his most famous mission came in 1911 when he headed a detachment in search of the long over-due Fitzgerald patrol, and found its members starved in the snow after becoming lost between Dawson City and Fort McPherson. (ALASKA SPORTSMAN, "Fitzgerald's Lost Patrol," June, 1963.) He retired from the RCMP after 38 years in the North with the rank of inspector. A year ago, the new road leading to Flat Creek out of Dawson City was named the Dempster Highway in his honor.

Source: Alaska Sportsman, Feb 1965

This obituary is printed here with special permission from the editor and is copyrighted as such.