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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 2
David Ritchie


David Ritchie, chief of police of Calgary, has devoted practically his entire life to this branch of municipal service and has risen to his present office through proven ability. He was born in Cumberland, England, February 12, 1882, and his parents were James and Fanny (Graham) Ritchie, the former a native of Scotland, while the latter was also born in Cumberland. The father devoted his life to the occupation of farming and has always resided in his native land. The mother passed away in 1887.

Reared on his father's farm, David Ritchie acquired his education in the public schools of Annen, Scotland, and when not busy with his studies he assisted in the cultivation of the land. For a short time he followed railroading and when eighteen years of age became a member of the Dumfriesshire Constabulary of Scotland, with which he was connected for twelve years. Attracted by the lure of a new country, he came to Canada, reaching Calgary, Alberta, on the 29th of April, 1911. On June 22 of that year he joined the Calgary police force in the capacity of constable and was appointed a detective oil 24, 1911. He continuecl to fill that position until December 1, 1915, when he enlisted for service in the World war, and was commissioned a lieutenant in the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Battalion. In February, 1916, he won promotion to the rank of captain and oil 12, 1916, was ordered overseas. His battalion was broken up in January, 1917, and he was transferred to the One Hundred and Sixteenth Battalion from central Ontario, then commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Sharp, deceased. On February ii, 1917, they landed in France, Captain Ritchie being at that time second in command of a company, and in July of the same year he was placed at its head. He was with the One Hundred and Sixteenth Battalion until the battle of Amiens, on August 8, 1918, when he was wounded and was sent back to England for hospital treatment. He remained in the mother country until November, being on sick leave at the time the armistice was signed, and returned to Calgary, December 24, 1918. He received his discharge oil 7th of January, 1919, and then resumed his duties as detective, acting in that capacity until September 15 of that year, when he was made chief of police of Calgary to succeed Alfred Cuddy, who had tendered his resignation to accept a position with the provincial police at Edmonton, Alberta. This is a memorable date in Captain Ritchie's history, for oil day of his appointment to his present office he was decorated by the Prince of Wales with the Military Cross, which lie had won oil battle fields of France, receiving the following citation "Near Domart, during the attack on August 8, Captain Ritchie was in charge of the leading company. He handled his company with great skill and daring and his actions were a great inspiration to men under his command. He was wounded in the jumping-off trench and again on objective, but still continued to carry on again wounded. He set a fine example to all ranks during the active engagement." Broad experience has well qualified him for the responsibilities which devolve upon him and he has thoroughly systematized the department, bringing it up to a high standard of efficiency. He is bending every effort to maintain law and order and under his regime the criminal element has found Calgary a most undesirable place of residence. He is also a poultry fancier and specializes in the raising of pure bred White Wyandotte chickens.

On September 27, 1901, Mr. Ritchie was married to Miss Margaret Hutton, a daughter of David and Mary (Tait) Hutton, natives of Scotland. The mother is still living but the father met an accidental death. Mr. Ritchie is a member of the Hillhurst Presbyterian church and his social nature finds expression in his connection with the Canadian arid Rotary Clubs of this city. He is a strong advocate of clean amateur athletics, in which he has taken an active part as a wrestler and boxer, also playing soccer and handball, he is now serving for the second year as president of the Alberta branch of the Amateur Union and also as head of the Caledonian Games Society. He has the courage of his convictions and exemplifies in his life the sterling qualities of the Scotch and English races, being recognized as a man of strict integrity whom neither fear nor favor can swerve from the course which he believes to be right'. He is loyal to the trust reposed in him and is discharging his duties as a public official in such a manner as to win high encomiums from Calgary's citizens.


 


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