Two policemen find a homeless man huddled in a doorway of downtown Montreal. Unconscious, the man is taken to the nearby General Hospital where he is quickly diagnosed as being a drunk and taken to a room where he could sleep it off.
When the head orderly Arthur Hair looks on the so-called drunk, he notices a blue envelope sticking out of the man’s pocket. Being a Veteran of the South African War, Hair is familiar with that type of envelope. Issued by Britain’s War Office, it contains the honourable discharge of one Trooper James Daly, who has served the Empire for more than 20 years. This blue envelope represents his sole possession.
However, Trooper Daly was not drunk. Instead, he was suffering from hypothermia and malnutrition. He died 2 days later, still unconscious, at age 53. Since his body was unclaimed, his remains would be turned over to science for medical research, as was customary in those days.
Hair was utterly shocked by the Empire’s disregard for its Veteran. So he raised money from friends and colleagues to give the soldier a decent and dignified funeral. Daly was then buried at the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery on Mount-Royal. This was the catalyst for the creation of the Last Post Fund in Montreal, in April 1909.
Trooper Daly was the first of nearly 150,000 servicemen and women for whom the Last Post Fund has provided financial benefits over the past century.
Please help us raise funds for this worthy cause: