Last Post Fund
On a winter day in 1909, an old South African war veteran was carried into Montreal General Hospital suffering exposure and starvation. He died a few hours later and his body was consigned, in the custom of the time, to a pauper's unmarked grave. But a hospital orderly, a veteran himself, Arthur Hair, intervened and raised money for a proper burial. He then canvassed prominent Montrealers and, with their help, organized the Last Post Imperial Naval and Military Contingency Fund, officially inaugurated 19 April 1909, in the vestry of Trinity Church, Viger Square, Montréal.
Until 1921, the fund, supported entirely by voluntary contributions and limited to Québec province, provided an honourable funeral and burial and a granite grave marker for 276 indigent veterans. The fund acquired its present name, Last Post Fund, when it received a Dominion charter and annual government grant of $10 000 in 1921, enabling it to extend services across Canada. The fund pays all or part of the cost of a dignified funeral and burial for any indigent former member of Canada's armed forces or merchant marine, in Canada or abroad. Members of Allied forces who die in similar circumstances in Canada are also eligible. The Fund maintains its own military cemetery at Pointe Claire, Qué. Its national headquarters are in Montréal and it has 11 branches across Canada, one in Britain, and 3 in the US.