The Last Post Fund is a nonprofit organization established in 1909. The organization’s mission is to ensure a dignified funeral and burial, as well as a military-style gravestone, to all eligible veterans. The fund is closely linked to Veterans Affairs Canada.
On a winter day in 1908, an elderly man was carried into Montreal General Hospital suffering from exposure and starvation. He died soon after. The head orderly of the hospital, Arthur Hair, discovered that the old man was James Daly, a veteran of the British army who had served in the Crimean War.
Hair, a veteran of the South African War himself, raised money so that Daly could have a proper burial. He then canvassed prominent Montrealers and, with their help, organized the Last Post Imperial Naval and Military Contingency Fund. The organization was officially established in April 1909 in Montreal.
Until 1921, the fund was supported entirely by voluntary contributions and limited to the province of Quebec. It provided an honourable funeral and burial and a granite grave marker for 276 needy veterans.
Last Post Fund
The organization acquired its present name, Last Post Fund, in 1921 when it received a Dominion charter and annual government grant. This allowed it to extend services across Canada. The Fund pays all or part of the cost of a dignified funeral and burial for any needy 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. In 1998, the Last Post Fund took full responsibility for veteran burials in Canada.
The Fund maintains its own military cemetery, the National Field of Honour, at Pointe-Claire, Quebec. In 2019, it launched the Indigenous Veterans Initiative to honour the memory of more than 18,000 Indigenous veterans.
Its national headquarters are in Montreal and it has nine provincial boards (New Brunswick and PEI are included in the same board). The organization also has an office in the United Kingdom. Nearly 150,000 veterans have been helped by the Last Post Fund. It is funded by Veterans Affairs Canada and through private donations.