Faces of the Force

2 December 2020

Faces of the Force: From Depot to Detachment – True Stories of C-1966/67 Troop
by Helen Metella and Pamela Cowan
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Toby A. Welch
$19.95 ISBN 9781988783529

Faces of the Force: From Depot to Detachment – True Stories of C-1966/67 Troop contains the stories of 32 men from across Canada who gathered in Regina on June 10, 1966. They were all there to undergo a rigorous training regime to become RCMP officers. Fast forward to the troop’s 50-year reunion in Regina. The get-together inspired the group to record their stories, sharing how their lives have played out since they first met five decades earlier. 

Enter Helen Metella and Pamela Cowan. Both former journalists, they compiled each individual story. They did a phenomenal job of evoking strong imagery with their words and encapsulating the men’s lives. 

The first story belongs to Constable Tony Antoniuk, the C66/67 Troop’s drill instructor. That is followed by the story of Corporal Doug Farenholtz, the PT instructor for the 32 men. After that, we delve into the lives of each individual troop member. 

When Senator Bev Busson wrote in the book’s forward that the stories were “gritty, told in real life language with brutal frankness, […] sometimes hard to read but always gripping,” she wasn’t kidding. The In Memoriam stories are especially heart wrenching but uplifting at the same time. In that section, troop mates and family members share stories of the deceased troop members. Many of the stories brought laughter but equally as many brought tears. 

A romantic at heart, I loved reading about the men’s personal lives as much as the stories of their work. (And they were all men as no women were hired into the RCMP until 1974.) The wives and other loved ones played an integral role in the men’s journeys, as you can imagine. 

It was fascinating to read about the careers the men went on to have after retiring from the RCMP. Some of the job choices were foreseeable such as a sheriff and a private investigator. But one gentleman became a marriage mediator (being an officer was probably the best training for that career!) Other post-retirement jobs of troop members included a buffalo rancher, an Air Services Safety Officer, a NASA contractor, a mail deliveryman, a Realtor, a helicopter logger, and the founder of a drug and alcohol testing service, among others. 

This book is filled with pictures that bring the stories to life. Not only are there formal shots of each officer, you’ll find numerous candid pics and wedding photos scattered throughout the pages. The shots really help give the stories oomph.

As we know, everyone has a story and this book encompasses that concept. It is also a beautiful dedication to a group of honourable and courageous men who gave so much of themselves to our country. For those who like reading about other people’s lives, this book is a must!


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