UPDATED: John Stolarski’s Old Newspaper Clippings

RCMP Constable John Stolarski and his Police Service Dog



With the exception of his first two years in the Force, John Stolarski spent his entire career as a RCMP Police Dog Services handler (1961 – 1988).






Throughout this career, John clipped newspaper articles about members who he had worked with.

Despite the fact that John has passed away, his family has agreed for us to re-post these articles for the interest of RCMP Veterans and current members of the Force.

UPDATED: Last week, we included the articles about the four escaped convicts from the Prince Albert Penitentiary but the names of the two RCMP members responsible for the arrests were not included in the article.

Veteran Mel Hart provided us the following details:

I remember this incident Quite well.

I was working Passport and Immigration in HQ Regina at that time.
We got word reinforcements were needed because of the length of time this manhunt had been going on.

I was unable to get away at that time but two of our Section members were able to go. They kidded around headquarters before they left that they would just drive up there ,catch them and be back the next day. As it turned out that is basically just what they did.They drove to Prince Albert, got directions as to where the search was being conducted, headed that way, took a little used road where they spotted and arrested the escapees, dropped them off and came home. They were bragging of course they did just what they said they would do.

Those members were Sgt. Ron Sondergaard (Reg.#15065) and Cst. Stu Mc Laughlin.



May 17, 1965 – RCMP and prison guards today used an aircraft and tracking dogs in what Penitentiary Warden J.H. Weeks described as the ‘biggest manhunt‘ ever in the province.

But the four long-term convicts who escaped from Prince Albert Penitentiary early Monday morning left no traces, police said.

Staff Sgt. Frank Mackenzie (Reg.#14285) of the Prince Albert RCMP subdivision, who is in charge of the search, estimated about 80 RCMP and penitentiary personnel are involved in the manhunt.

We are using our tracking dog Duke, but so far weather conditions have made it difficult for the dog to be of any real help,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Mackenzie said that a Beaver aircraft which is based at Prince Albert was also being used in the search.

Police said the search has been concentrated in the area between Macdowall and Dick Lake where fresh car tracks led to a barrel of gas in a farm field.  The tracks could not be accounted for.

The four are Yvan Lamarche, 28, Claude Petrie, 31 Maurice Gosselin, 37 and Robert Savard.  They broke out by sawing through the bars on their cell doors then crawling through a service duct, letting themselves over the wall with a rope of bed sheets.

Deputy Warden John Norfield today confirmed the report that all four escapees were in their cells at 11.15 o’clock Sunday evening.  “A night keeper was making the rounds at about 11.15 and Lamarche asked him something about the windows.  It was windy that night and Lamarche probably wanted the windows closed but I don’t known for sure what he asked the night keeper,” he said.

All four men were locked in their cells from 6 o’clock on, on Sunday evening, penitentiary officials said.

Warden Weeks said the manhunt was the largest in the province he could recall.

Lamarche was sentenced for his role in an attempted back robbery at St. Scholastique, Que., near Montreal in 1962.

The robbery attempt was marked by a gunfight which left two of Lamarche’s accomplices dead and a police officer severely wounded.

Gosselin was involved in the near killing of a Montreal policeman who was making a routine check of an area in suburban Cote des Neiges in 1958.

Savard was tried on 12 robbery counts for holdups he was alleged to have made during a six-month period in 1960.  The robberies were reported to have brought loot totalling $32,000 in value but Savard was penniless when found several months later.

Pitre was arrested after an unsuccessful bank robbery attempt at a Montreal branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 1959.

RCMP said there were no reports of stolen cars, food or clothing and no reports that the four escapees have been seen.

The RCMP official said the possibility of outside help has been ruled out.  He said police did not know how the four cut their cell bars but there must be hacksaws’ in the prison garage and machine shop.

The four escapees were all sentenced in Montreal and were transferred from Montreal’s St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary to Prince Albert.


Armed with a rifle, Constable G.J. Griffiths, crouches behind a patrol car as Constable S.A. Bowles halts all traffic approaching Saskatoon on Highway 11 north of the city. This was one of many road-blocks set up by police searching for four escaped convicts from Prince Albert Penitentiary.

Armed with a rifle, Constable G.J. Griffiths, crouches behind a patrol car as Constable S.A. Bowles halts all traffic approaching Saskatoon on Highway 11 north of the city. This was one of many road-blocks set up by police searching for four escaped convicts from Prince Albert Penitentiary.

May 20, 1965 – A four-day manhunt ended Thursday night when RCMP captured four inmates who had escaped from the Prince Albert Penitentiary early Monday morning.

RCMP said the four men, Yvan Lamarck, 28; Claude Pitre, 31; Robert Albert Savard, 37; and Maurice Gosselin, 37, were picked up about 8 o’clock Thursday evening, 7 miles east of the little hamlet of Crutwell in the Buckland district after 92 hours of freedom is about 14 miles narrowest of Prince Albert.

The men were spotted in a bluff near a country road by two RCMP officers who were driving by in a patrol car.  One of the officers noticed a blur in a stand of trees on a grease-covered bluff about 100 years from the road.  Through field glasses, the officer saw Pitre and Gosselin lying in the grass.

No Resistance

When the two RCMP officers, with rifles drawn, approached Pitre and Gosselin to make the arrest, Lamarche and Savard broke and ran from their hiding spot nearby.  The officers arrested Pitre and Gosselin then doubled back and apprehended Savard and Lamarche Police report that the men offered no resistance to arrest and that no shots were fired during the apprehension.  Within minutes they were taken back to the penitentiary and were placed in maximum security cells, isolated from the other 700 penitentiary inmates.

Police report that the four escapees were ragged, unshaven, cold and tired.   One of them told the arresting officers: “I guess we’ve had it.  We’re cold and tired.”

The four escapees had some food with them – consisting of chocolate bars and chewing gum.  They also carried road maps.  At the time of their apprehension they were unarmed and still wore grey bark-cloth prison clothing.

Staff Sgt. Frank Mackenzie of the RCMP sub-division in Prince Albert said that the search was concentrated in the area north-west of Prince Albert when a pair of glasses belonging to Maurice Gosselin were found in a derelict car in a field 4 miles from the penitentiary, by a three-year-old child on Wednesday night.  The child’s father notified RCMP of the find.

Staff Sgt. Mackenzie said that the search was concentrated in the Buckland district after reports from citizens there that four men were seen in various places.  “We found footprints of four men in the Crutwell area near where the men were found and we found footprints by a shack near Crutwell which was broken into.  The footprints in the two different places matched” he said .  A force of over 100 men, 3 tracking dogs and a plane were concentrated on the area.

The last escape from the Prince Albert Penitentiary was made by two men Sept. 5, 1963.  Both were recaptured.


NOTE: Interesting to note that the names of the two RCMP Constables who made the arrests were not included in the newspaper articles.

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