S/Sgt. George Henry Leopold Bossange

On the evening of June 21st, 1909, S/Sgt. Bossange was found dead, lying under his dead horse.  The pair were on a trail near Spirit River, coming back from an official visit to a suspected Bolshevik agitator.

From The RCMP Veteran’s Association Memorial (more here):

When Cpl. W. Allen of the Alberta Provincial Police heard of the incident, he hired a car and drove out to the scene.  He found that Bossange’s face was black, his hair singed and his eyes were open.  Bossange’s pouch contained a number of live shells and all his papers and money seemed to be intact.  Cpl Allen found a gold locket containing a photograph and a wisp of hair lying near the body.  The watch in the top pocket of the sergeant’s jacket was stopped at 5:40.  The metal of the watch was melted and the crystal broken.  The butt plate on Bossange’s revolve was  melted and, about one-half inch from the muzzle, the steel barrel was melted.  On the inside of his left boot near the spur was a small hole.  When the boot was removed, Cpl. Allen could see that the sock was burned and there was a small puncture in the foot.  His right boot was under the horse’s body.

The Corporal noted that the horse was branded No. 543.  The swollen animal lay on its right side and there was a small puncture in the seat of the saddle.  When the saddle was removed, the saddle blanket had four small burn punctures in it.  Zahara (a local farmer who had found the body) didn’t know what to make of it all, but Cpl. Allen did.

“He’s been hit by lightning,” the corporal said.  “It looks like the bolt of lightning hit  his  revolver, went through him into the saddle and came out the horse’s body into the man’s spur.  You’ll notice there’s no sign that either the man or the horse struggled.”

Bossange was born in France and came to Canada as a young man determined to serve with the Mounties.  Over the next 34 years he tried a few careers but always returned to the Force.  He fought in the Riel Rebellion in 1885, had a wife and four children, and served in several communities throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Aged 56, Bossange was the second oldest police officer to be killed in the line of duty.  It was the only time an RCMP member had been killed by lightning.

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