From Maesteg to the Mounties: One Man's Canadian Crime Adventures; as a 12-Year-Old, Ian Slaney Dreamed of Joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the Mounties. Little Did He Know, but 10 Years Later He Joined Their Famous Ranks. Jason Evans Reports on a Life Less Ordinary

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), September 8, 2020 | Go to article overview

From Maesteg to the Mounties: One Man's Canadian Crime Adventures; as a 12-Year-Old, Ian Slaney Dreamed of Joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the Mounties. Little Did He Know, but 10 Years Later He Joined Their Famous Ranks. Jason Evans Reports on a Life Less Ordinary


MANY youngsters dream about joining the police, and Ian Slaney was no different.

Except maybe he was a bit different - it wasn't the local force in the South Wales valleys he wanted to join, it was one a little further away.

Fuelled by films and TV programmes he had seen, and the gift of a little toy figure dressed in the famous scarlet tunic, high boots, and widebrimmed hat from an aunt in Canada, the 12-year-old wanted to join the Mounties.

A decade later he found himself at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police training academy at the start of what would be a three-decade-long career which would see him do everything from tackling international drug smugglers to working on covert surveillance, being a motorcycle cop, and rubbing shoulders with Hollywood celebrities during film shoots.

Ian and his sister Anne grew up in Maesteg - dad Roy worked as an electrical technician in Port Talbot steelworks, while mum Mary was a bookkeeper for various local businesses.

The siblings attended Ty Derwen Welsh school in Nantyffyllon before going to different secondary schools, with Ian attending the then newlyopened Llanhari school.

Then one day his aunt and uncle came to visit from Canada.

Ian said: "At around 12 years old I recall our Canadian family visiting Maesteg.

"My aunt and uncle brought me a small scenic artefact that included a teepee, a native person in their headdress, and a Mountie in the scarlet tunic, baggy pants, high brown boots, and stetson.

"Even though I had no idea we would move to Canada several years later I romanticized about being a Mountie, going from native village to the next on my sled, being pulled by huskies through the snow."

Ian's dad went back to school in the mid-1970s and studied for a diploma in marketing management from Cardiff Poly - but the prospects for employment in South Wales at the time were not good, and the decision was taken to seek a new life for the Slaneys across the Atlantic.

Their application to emigrate to Canada was successful, and just before Christmas 1977 the family set off for Calgary in Alberta, where dad Roy had secured work with a telephone company. And what were the schoolboy's first impressions of Canada?

The weather was cold, very cold - around -400C - the Ford Galaxie car his dad bought seemed twice as big as the Ford Cortina they had left behind in Wales, and the huge freight trains which rumbled past their house would sound their horn day and night.

It was all a far cry from the

Llynfi Valley.

However, the family never really settled in Calgary and the following year they were on the move again, heading to Vancouver.

Ian went to school and college in the west coast city, graduating in business management, and then entered the world of work.

He said: "I worked several jobs for the next five years, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a Mountie.

"There was a draw to this job, because of the old movies in which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were always romanticised and they were heroes.

"In 1987, at 24 years of age, I was sent to the RCMP training academy depot for training.

"This takes six months at the force base in Regina, Saskatchewan, where there was a strong military-style component to the training.

"We learned everything as a group of 32 trainees, marched to and from classes, ate together and all slept in the same dorm, with absolutely no privacy just 16 beds and trunks down each side of the dormitory.

"We were woken up by bugle every morning, got dressed in our spotless uniforms, and marched to the morning parade.

"After breakfast, we headed to our first class of the day. The classes included law, human relations, criminal code and arrest procedures, swimming, self-defence, report writing, drill, and driving.

"Overall, the training was fantastic. It turned me from an 11-stone average man, to a lean and muscular confident and knowledgeable Mountie. …

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From Maesteg to the Mounties: One Man's Canadian Crime Adventures; as a 12-Year-Old, Ian Slaney Dreamed of Joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the Mounties. Little Did He Know, but 10 Years Later He Joined Their Famous Ranks. Jason Evans Reports on a Life Less Ordinary
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