Constable Matthew Scarlino of the Mounted United was the only Toronto Police officer who took part in Queen Elizabeth II state funeral in England on September 19.
The Army Reservist of nine years is assigned to the 48th Highlanders of Canada, based out of the Moss Park Armoury. The regiment and Queen Elizabeth II had a close relationship throughout her life and because of that five 48th Highlanders were dispatched to the Queen’s funeral.
On December 1st, 1947, HRH Princess Elizabeth was appointed to become the Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment along with Le Regiment de la Chaudiere in Levis, Quebec.
He received the invitation by phone while on his horse Trooper.
While sombre, he said the experience was awe-inspiring.
“I was honoured to be part of the Canadian contingent for such an historic event,” said Scarlino, who spent two weeks in England – much of it preparing for the funeral. “There was a lot of drill and even rehearsals in the middle of the night. We were confined to a base. It was all hands on deck working around the clock to get it right.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Canadian and other Commonwealth troops and thanked Canada for being part of the funeral ceremony.
They also visited Canada House where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon held a reception.
Scarlino went to a nearby war cemetery that was near a Canadian Army base during World War II.
“I knew about a Toronto Police cadet that was buried there,” he said.
William Hammond, a cadet and clerk with Toronto Police, was killed in a road accident off base on the same day he received permission to marry his English sweetheart.
“When I found his grave, I laid a Toronto Police patch there,” said Scarlino who is the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association historian.