Larry Burden – This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of NWMP officer's red serge with Austrian knot (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).





The achievements and contributions of the Force have been built upon the individual contributions of many past Veterans. These contributions have largely been forgotten.




Veteran #35982 Sgt. Larry Burden who served in “E” Division for 20 years has spent over ten years researching and summarizing these achievements by specific date. Nearly every day, Larry sends out an email message with a selection from his work in progress manuscript “This Day In The RCMP” to individuals interested in these historical notes.

In an effort to share his research to a large group, Larry has agreed to permit us to develop a webpage on our website. Each webpage will post Larry’s historical notations over the past week.

If you wish to contact Larry Burden or provide additional information about his research, please email him at

The following are Larry’s latest “This Day In The RCMP” listings.

July 24

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division with the name of Constable

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of Constable Claudius Hooley (Reg.#181) highlighted in red. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1880 – Honour Roll Number 4.

#181 Cst. Claudius S. Hooley drowned in the Belly River, while on patrol from Fort Walsh to Fort MacLeod, N.W.T.

After failing to ford the Belly River the day before, teamster Constable Claudius S. Hooley urged his three companions; Inspector C.E. Denny and Constables Norman (Norrie) MacLeod, and Alfred Stewart to skip breakfast and attempt to get the team of horses and their wagon across the river so they could proceed on to Fort MacLeod.

Half way across the river the horses were caught by the strong current and began to move down river. As the wagon followed, Hooley’s companions recognized the danger and jumped from the wagon and swam to shore. When the horses and wagon were hit with the full force of the current it began floating away. As his companions watched helplessly on shore, Hooley, a non-swimmer frantically clung to the wagon as it overturned and dragged him and the team underwater. The overturned wagon and dead horses were found further down the river, but Constable Hooley’s body was not located for over a month when it was found 12 miles downstream.

He was buried with full honours at the Protestant section of the Union Cemetery at Fort MacLeod.

1885 – A court in Regina Saskatchewan found William Henry Jackson not guilty of treason by reason of insanity for his involvement in the North West Rebellion. Instead of prison he was sent to a lunatic asylum in Manitoba.

Photograph of the NWMP Fort Constantine.

1895 – NWMP Inspector Charles Constantine along with his wife, a surgeon, another inspector and 17 men arrived at Forty-mile Creek, Yukon Territory and they begin to build a new detachment at junction of the creek and the Yukon River. The new fort is named Fort Constantine.

1921 – A Commendation from American Alpine Club was awarded to #8496 Constable Charles Pounden who along with Mr. W. Childs and Mr. W. Peyto retrieved the body of 59 year old Dr. Winthrop E. Stone who had fallen to his death while mountain climbing in Banff National Park. This was the first mountain climbing death in Banff National Park. On July 15th Dr. Stone; president of Purdue University and his wife Margaret (Winter) set out to climb Eon Mountain 3310m (10860ft.) located on the continental divide at the head of Marvel Lake Valley between Mount Aye and Mount Gloria in Banff Park, Alberta. After making their first ascent of Mount Eon via its southern slopes Dr. Stone attempted to reach the peak of the mountain ahead of his wife. Leaving his wife on a ledge forty feet below the summit Stone, was attempting to ascend a chimney when a large slab of rock fell from above him dragging down the slope passing over his horrified wife to his death 800 feet below. Preparing herself for the fall she braced herself to take the snap of the rope but it didn’t occur because her husband had removed it so he could climb beyond its length. Mrs. Stone then attempted to climb down to her husband’s body but became trapped on a ledge and was stranded until the search party found he seven days later. Dr. Stone’s body was located on August 5th jammed into a seventeen-foot deep crevice.

On face value this certificate of appreciation appears to be no big deal but in 1921 Mounties still road horses and were not trained or equipped to conduct an expedition into the Rockies to recover a body that was nearly inaccessible. The task required the best mountaineers available, but duty called and this sudden death had to be investigated. In researching this story the author was able to notify both the American Alpine Association and The Alpine Club of Canada and provide them with the name of Constable Charles Pounden whose name was lost to history, so they could amended their historical records of this tragic event.

Constable Pounden joined the RNWMP in 1919 and retired from the RCMP in 1930.

1933 – The RCMP Cruiser Preventor rescued the 23-man crew of the disabled schooner “Ruth and Margaret” of Gloucester, Mass. The schooner had lost her propeller and was adrift in the fog.

1939 – 5185 / O.195 Superintendent Theodore Sandys-Wunsch was in charge of party of men who were attempting to arrest James Croteau in the Yukon Territory. When cornered, Croteau began shooting at the police officers and the Superintend was shot in the face. Though wounded, he returned fire and succeed in killing the assailant.

Theodore Sandys-Wunsch joined the RNWMP in 1911 and retired as an Assistant Commissioner in 1947.

1968 – Commendations were issued to Constables #24244 Beverley Dodd and #24525 Kenneth Laturnus for disarming and arresting a man with loaded rifle near Armstrong, BC. (seeking more detail)

1974 – Commanding Officers Commendations for Bravery were issued to Constables #28933 Randall Burt and #29980 John Ewankiw for their actions at a family dispute in Kitimat, BC. Upon their arrival at the scene a gunman armed with .22 fired several shots in direction of the two members. After taking cover they successfully convinced to put gun down and then overpowered and arrested him.

1996 – Five men were exploring a gold mine near Atlin BC when their fresh air pumping system failed. The miners returned to ground level when they heard the cries of a colleague who was still at the bottom of the dark 70-metre shaft. One of the miners rushed back down the shaft and tied a rope around the then unconscious man and began hoisting him up the narrow passage, but then the rescuer succumbed to the deadly gases. Then the other men tried to pull the two unconscious victims up but were weakened by the gases.

Then #43119 Constable Murray Richard Baltus MB arrived on scene and entered the mine with Luke Woodbridge the sixteen-year-old son of one of the unconscious miners. They located the boy’s father on the third level of the mineshaft and began to lift him up but the toxic gases forced the teenager to go back to the surface. Undeterred, Cst. Baltus pressed on. He lifted Mr. Woodbridge’s body over his should and climbed up the slippery ladder until other rescuers could reach him and help complete the rescue. Unfortunately the first victim and his rescuer did not survive.

For his courage in saving the Life of Mr. Woodbridge, Constable Baltus was awarded The Medal of Bravery on September 18, 1998.

July 25

1973 – Canada’s 12th Prime Minister, Louis St-Laurent 1882-1973 dies in Quebec at age at the age of 91. He served as the leader of the Liberal Government from Nov. 15, 1948 to June 21, 1957 and leader of the Opposition 1957-1958.

Photograph of the cover of the

Photograph of the cover of the McDonald Royal Commission on the RCMP which lead to the establishment of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

1981 – The McDonald Royal Commission condemns illegal RCMP activities against Quebec separatists and other dissidents and recommends that a civilian agency to take over security work. As a result the Security Service Branch of the RCMP is disbanded and replaced with the newly created Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

1984 – While off duty, #28383 Constable William Kenneth Halverson MB received word that a vehicle had plunged off the Government Wharf, into the frigid waters of the Bay of Fundy at Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Halverson rushed to the scene and witnessed three panic-stricken young men vainly trying to rescue a man from the submerged vehicle. Without concern for himself he dove into the rapid flowing tidal water, and swam down over three meters to the overturned vehicle. The tidal current was so strong that Cst. Halverson had part of his clothing torn off, but on his second attempt he managed to open the door of the vehicle, grab hold of the victim and swim the lifeless body to the surface. When help arrived by boat they found an exhausted Halverson trying to revive the man by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Unfortunately the victim could not be revived. On June 13, 1986 Constable William Kenneth Halverson was awarded The Medal of Bravery.

William Kenneth Halverson joined the RCMP in 1970 and retired as a Corporal in 1992.

1989 – The Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York made an official tour of the RCMP Training Academy in Regina. Prince Andrew accompanied by Chief Superintendent W.R. Spring, attended a “March Past” and then the Royal couple toured the academy.

1995 – Commendation for bravery was issued to #42288 Constable Stephen Ouston after he rushed into a burning apartment in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan and rescued unconscious man. (Looking for details)

July 26

1874 – The first Church Parade was held at La Roche Percee (near Estevan Sask.) 275 miles from Camp Dufferin. Commissioner French wrote in his diary “I was much pleased to hear many of the men singing hymns in the evening; unfortunately the language of many is by no means scriptural

Photograph of the Vimy Ridge memorial in France (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the Vimy Ridge memorial in France (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1936 – Among the thousands who were part of the “Vimy Pilgrimage” to pay tribute to Canada’s dead at the site of the WW1 battle, that many consider to be one of defining points in Canadian history, was a small squad of members of the RCMP. While King Edward VIII officially unveiled the monument, ten members of the RCMP placed in prominent places at the base of the monument, with their red uniforms and Stetson hats set against the white monument, provided a poignant symbol of a grateful homeland across the sea and a reminder that the participants were standing on Canadian soil.

Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Ridge War Memorial in France are the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were recorded as “missing and presumed dead” throughout France. The 91.18 hectares (250 acres) of land for the Vimy Memorial, bears a plaque at the entrance that states; “the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada”.

The base of the monument was constructed of eleven thousand tons of concrete and masonry and 5,500 tons of “trau” stone that was brought from Yugoslavia for the pylons and the sculptured figures. The massive construction project began in 1925 and was completed 11 years later. The ten men sent to represent the RCMP at the ceremony were; #11569 Sergeant C.E.J. Widgery, #10437 Corporal H. Wilkins, #5524 Lance Corporal R.W. Warrior, and Constables #11036 R.J.E. Dobson, #11511 B. Dowling, #9972 A. Harness, #10915 S.J. Leach, 10447 P.T. May, #11616 W.V. MacKinnon, #9902 J. Cullen.

Former Constable #2788 H.P.E. Francis of Toronto was moved to pen the following poem that was published in the RCMP Quarterly;

“Brothers in Canada’s Vimy – Peace

Peace, Canadian Brothers, Peace

Who sleep in Canada’s “Vimy Land”

The memory of your valiant deeds

Shall, with your living ever stand;

The priceless gifts you gave for Peace

Are loving memories, ne’er to cease.

Peace, perfect Peace.”

1982 – #20297 Staff Sergeant John Brayley was walking on the beach of Paper Mill Lake in Bedford, Nova Scotia, when he was advised that a man had drowned. Brayley rushed to the scene and dove in and found the victim’s body. After bringing the body to the surface he hauled him to shore and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and successfully revived him. He was later awarded The Royal Life Saving Society of Canada, M.G. Griffiths Award.

July 27

Photograph of Dr.

Photograph of Dr. Richard Barrington Nevitt (Reg.# O.27) (Source of photo – Alberta’s Medical History by Dr. Robert Lampard)

1874 – Assistant Surgeon O.27 Richard Barrington Nevitt and a constable arrived from Dufferin with American newspaper reports that the NWMP had been exterminated by the Souix.

1937 – A mentally deranged, disgruntled employee of the J. Palmer Company in Fredericton, NB pointed a pistol at several other employees. When members of the Fredericton City Police arrived they were taken hostage and held at bay by the gunman. The city police called the local RCMP for assistance and Constables #11526 David Evans and #11450 Leland Matchett responded. When they arrived at the scene the gunman met them with his pistol, but the two officers had drawn their own guns and ordered him to drop his weapon. He complied and was promptly arrested.

1973 – #25527 Constable Kenneth Ross was hailed by the manager of a Regina bank that had just been robbed. The manager pointed out suspect and Ross approached the suspect and the suspect pulled a gun and began shooting at him. Constable Ross continued to pursue the gunman while the two traded shots at each other. Shortly thereafter members of the Regina City Police joined in the chase and more shots were traded. Eventually the suspect was wounded and captured. Investigation reeled that the robber Val Leshenko was an escapee from the British Columbia Penitentiary. Ross received a commendation for bravery, he joined the RCMP in1967 and retired in 1997 as a Staff Sergeant.

1986 – Constables #32100 Dean Taylor, #35075 P.W. McManaman and #36440 Evan D. Graham responded to a complaint at a house in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT where a young man was threatening his family at gunpoint. When two of the policemen entered the house the man jumped out a window and attempted to flee. As the men chased him across the tundra, the gunman pointed his rifle at them several times and repeatedly threatened to shoot. As he crossed a body of shallow water he encountered Constable Taylor who blocked his path and ordered him to surrender. The gunman refused and threatened to shoot if he did not allow him to pass. Constable Taylor refused and advised him that he would do everything in his power to stop him and then began reasoning with the man. When Taylor advised him that his father was watching and that he cared very much for his son, the man hesitated and looked back towards his father. Seizing the opportunity, Constable Taylor rushed and disarmed him. For their actions Constables McManaman and Graham were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations and Constable Taylor was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.

1989 – Retired RCMP member #17616 S. Vincent Pogachar became the third oldest person to ever swim solo across the English Channel. After three years of training in the University of Ottawa pool and the waters of the Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River the 57 year old traveled to England. Starting out at 06:17 from Shakespeare Beach near the English town of Dover he arrived in France at 22:05. During the swim he was stung by jellyfish four times.

2000 – An enraged man armed with an axe and a baseball bat went into the Band Office at Little Shuswap Indian Reserve near Chase, BC. Four members #30324 David Williams, #41457 Mark Scotnicki, #45405 Monty Robinson and #47987 Denise Bendfeld rushed to the scene and confronted by assailant who attacked them. He was in shoulder and taken into custody. The four officers received the 2002 British Columbia Police Commission Honours “Award for Valour”.

July 28

Photograph of John A. McDonald - Prime Minister of Canada

Photograph of John A. McDonald – Prime Minister of Canada

1879 – Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald strikes out the military titles for the officer ranks of Major and Captain and changes them to Superintendent and Inspector. He then changed the name of the new force from the Northwest Mounted Rifles to Northwest Mounted Police.

The change in titles of rank created considerable confusion in what the further rank titles actually were.

 To prevent further confusion the old titles were later revised to a new modern equivalent. Henceforth the rank structure was changed to:

· Sub-Constable became Constable

· Acting Constable became Corporal

· Constable became Sergeant

· Staff Constable became Staff Sergeant

· Chief Constable became Sergeant Major

· Superintendent and Sub-Inspector became Inspector

· Superintendent and Inspector became Superintendent

· Assistant Commissioner and Commissioner remained Assistant Commissioner and Commissioner.

· The new rank of Trumpeter was created.

Eventually the rank structure was changed again.

1879 – Having created the new rank of Trumpeter, the lucky lad had the job of calling the men on and off of their respective duties. The winter schedule was 30 minutes later than the summer schedule:

· Reveille…………………….6:00 A.M.

· Warning, stables…………….6:15

· Stables……………………….6:30

· Turnout………………………7:15

· First call, breakfast……………7:15

· Bread Ration………………….7:15

· Breakfast………………………7:30

· Sick Call……………………….8:00

· Warning, parade……………….8:15

· Parade………………………….8:30

· First call, dinner………………..12:45 P.M

· Dinner…………………………..1:00

· Warning, guard…………………1:35

· Warning, parade…………………1:45

· Guard……………………………1:50

· Parade……………………………2:00

· Rations…………………………..4:30

· Warning Stables…………………5:00

· Stables……………………………5:15

· Turnout…………………………..6:00

· First call………………………….6:00

· Supper:……………………………6:15

· Retreat……………………………6:30

· Officer’s Mess……………………6:30

· First Post………………………….9:30

· Last Post………………………….10:00

· Lights out…………………………10:15

 1882 – The new head quarters for the NWMP is established at a place called Pile of Bones, now known as Regina, Saskatchewan.

1951 – To help celebrate the City of Detroit Michigan’s 250 birthday a contingent of Mounted policemen consisting of Staff Sergeant C.W. Anderson, Corporal D.A. Hadfield and Constables E.C. Hill and D.G. Falconer led the Canadian section of the huge parade.

July 29

Illustration of a NWMP member during the 1874 March West.

Illustration of a NWMP member during the 1874 March West.

1874 – After splitting the column and sending “A” Division to Edmonton, Commissioner French departed La Roche Percee (near Estevan Sask.) with remaining five divisions for Fort Whoop-Up.

1880 – As a result of anger and frustration with the government in not honouring the promises made in Treaty Six, Kamiscowesit, better known as Chief Beardy of the Willow Crees slaughtered a herd breeding cattle that had been delivered to his Band at Duck Lake.

Chief Beardy claimed that the cattle were killed to feed his starving people; the government interpreted the act as an attempt to flaunt government officials and demonstrate his authority as chief and a contingent lead by #O.37 Superintendent William Herchmer were sent to arrest Chief Beardy. Accompanied by six members Herchmer marched into their camp and despite the fact that they were surrounded by over 75 agitated natives, Constables #294 William Ramsay and #399 Harry Nash yanked Chief Beardy” to his feet and arrested him. Chief “One Arrow” was arrested by #174 John Carruthers and #288 Samuel Donaldson. A third native leader “Cut Nose” was taken by #383 Harold Ross and #400 Alfred Stewart. The angry mob began shooting their rifles over the heads of the police officers as they followed the squad who marched out of the camp with their charges to answer to the charges in court.

 1903 – Honour Roll Number 26.

Photograph of RCMP Honour Roll page for (Source of photo - RCMP Gravesite database)

Photograph of RCMP Honour Roll page for Special Constable Stick Sam (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database)

 Special Constable Stick Sam drowned when fording Kaskawulsh River, Y.T.

 Special Constable Stick Sam was traveling by horseback with #O.117 Inspector Albert Edward Cortland MacDonell and #3653 Constable William Povoas. The trio was returning to Dalton Trail from a new gold strike on Alsec River, in the Yukon Territory. When they arrived at the Kaskawulsh River, they found it was running high, so they camped for the night with the intention of attempting to ford the river the morning. At morning’s light, Inspector McDonell entered the river first and crossed half way, he thought that the river was safe enough to cross, and signaled to the constables to follow. No sooner had he done so than he realized that his horse was swimming and not walking across the bottom. Inspector McDonell slipped from his saddle and swam beside his horse until he made it across safely. Unfortunately Special Constable Sam’s horse charged into the stream too quickly and plunged into the deep water before Sam could react. The horse fell over and both the horse and rider were swept downstream by the strong current. Even though extensive searches were conducted by both the police and his family but Stick Sam’s body was never found.

July 30

Photograph of Canada Trans Canada signs (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of Canada Trans Canada signs (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

1962 – After twelve years of construction, the Trans-Canada Highway is officially opened to traffic at Revelstoke BC by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker thus eliminating the final 160 km of dusty, gravel road from Golden to Revelstoke. Running almost 9000 km, from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria BC, the Trans Canada is the longest national highway in the world.

 1982 – The RCMP drug unit in Montreal Quebec seizes $22 million worth of hashish.

 1983 – A second Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery is earned by #26111 Constable James Rouse for the successful rescue and recovery of two year old Leslie Semmler who was trapped inside a submerged vehicle in the fast lowing muddy waters of MacKenzie River, at Inuvik, NWT.

1990 – Constables #33391 B.H. Becker, #38635 Phil J. Graham and #39195 R.J. Hodyr found themselves confronted by a drunken mentally unstable man who had a loaded high power rifle in Prince George BC. The trio was able to convince them man to calm down and succeeded in arresting him without incident. For their courage and high degree of professionalism, they were awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.

1991 – A Commanding Officers Commendation was earned by #42979 Constable J.R. Dixon for arresting a jewelry store robber, in Nanaimo, B.C. (Looking for more details)