Larry Burden – This Date In The RCMP

Photograph of an early 1970s RCMP door decal (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.

August 18

1915 – #5632 / O.272 Constable Charles James was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund for his “good service” in the investigation and conviction in the case of Regina vs. Zolouski et al regarding the theft of sheep. Cst James who had joined the Mounted Police in 1913 retired as an Inspector in 1939.

1924 – Honour Roll Number 46.

Photograph of Constab

Photograph of Constable Ian MacDonald (Reg.#9791) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database)

#9791 Constable Ian Mor MacDonald age 22 drowned near the mouth of the Indian River, east of Herschel Island, Arctic Ocean, while on special duty.

The suspicious death of Constable Ian Macdonald caused many in the north to suspect that the notorious Captain of the American schooner the “Maid of Orleans”; Christian Klengenberg had murdered him.

Herschel Island was a busy port in the Beaufort Sea, where the RCMP among other duties ensured that only Canadian vessels proceeded east of the island to trade or deliver goods of non-Canadian origin. This government policy did not sit well with foreign ships especially with Norwegian born Captain Klengenberg. The detachment commander Inspector Thomas B Caulkin reluctantly allowed Klengenberg to sail east to his home on Victoria Island for the sole purpose of delivering enough provisions to keep the Klengenberg family alive for one year.

Inspector Caulkin ordered him to not do any trading with the local inhabitants or unload any other provisions, and to ensure that he complied with his orders he assigned Cpl. Ernest Pasley to travel aboard the schooner to the detachment at Baillie Island and there to be replaced by Constable MacDonald.

When the vessel arrived at the Captains home at Rymer Point on Victoria Island, Cst. MacDonald allowed him to unload one years provisions and he documented every item in his notebook. Two days later on the return trip to Herschel Island the constable mysteriously fell overboard and drowned. None of the crew witnessed him go overboard or heard any cries for help. A search of the area located MacDonald’s parka with his notebook floating on the surface of the frigid water. The six foot four inch MacDonald was a strong swimmer having been raised in Lunenberg Nova Scotia, but he would not have had any chance of survival in the freezing cold Arctic water.

Klengenberg’s reputation for violence had followed him since he was acquitted for killing a member of his crew in 1905, which he had claimed the crewman had threatened mutiny. Even though the RCMP conducted a thorough investigation into his death no case could be made against Captain Klengenberg.

Many people thought the motive for disposing of the young constable was so the Captain could unload more supplies than he was permitted by Inspector Caulkin’s orders. But the recovery of Constable MacDonald’s notebook detailing every item that had been unloaded at Rymer Point cast doubt on that theory. The inspector ordered that every item on the “Maid of Orleans” be removed and accounted for. The task took ten days to complete and every missing item from the original manifest was found recorded in Constable MacDonald’s notebook.

Possibly the fact that Constable MacDonald’s last act was to ensure that his notebook was found, prevented the notorious Captain from going ahead with a plan to unload more goods and conduct illicit trading with the locals. We will never know.

Constable Ian M. MacDonald joined the RCMP in Halifax Nova Scotia on June 11, 1921, his body was never found and his family always believed that their son had been murdered. An ironic twist in this story was the fact the one of the crew members of that vessel would later join the Mounties and find his place in history a the captain of the RCMP St. Roch. His name was Henry Larsen.

1979 – The Dempster Highway in the Yukon Territory is officially named in honour of #3193 / O.233 Inspector William John Dempster who served in the NWMP, RNWMP and the RCMP.

Constable Dempster joined the NWMP on September 7, 1897 and was posted to the Yukon until he was commissioned on March 1, 1931 and transferred briefly to Saskatchewan. He was transferred back to Yukon and remained there until he retired to the coast of British Columbia in 1934.

He had a colorful career and is best known for his role in the search for the Lost Patrol in 1911 where he and #4937 Cst. Jerry Fyfe and a former constable #4889 Frederick Turner searched for the missing men from Dawson to Fort McPherson, Yukon. (See March 21, 1911)

The route of the Dempster Highway roughly follows the trail that the members of the NWMP took to get from Dawson City to Fort MacPherson and was previously known as the Eagle Plain Road.

In 1973 Inspector Dempster also had a mountain named in his honour. Mount Dempster, at (Lat: 65·08·00N Lat: 136·05·00W), located north of the Little Wind River, Yukon.

Inspector Dempster died in 1964 and was buried in the Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Burnaby, British Columbia.

1985 – While on routine patrol in the early morning hours, Constable Mark Price saw flames coming from a mobile home in Fraser Lake BC. He then kicked open the door to the home and woke all of its occupants and removed the couple and their infant child to safety. He was issued a Commanding Officers Letter of Recognition.

August 19

1874– The hardships endured on the Great March West took its toll on both man and beast. Finally reaching an area that had both fresh grass and water a decision was made to establish a camp for the poorest animals and sick men. On this day #229 (Original Series) #297 (New Series from 1878) Sergeant James Sutherland was left in charge of what was dubbed Cripple Camp located on Old Wives Creek near present day Wood River or Noteukeu Creek near Moose Jaw.

While the rest of the column marched on Sergeant Sutherland found himself responsible for 14 wagons, 28 of the poorest horses, 6 sick men, 1 Métis and some cattle with sore feet. While they waited to be picked up at a later date the Cripple Camp crew had to eat half rations.

1916 – On this day former Sergeant # 4374 Robert Handcock was killed in action in France during WW1. Like many men in the Mounted Police he left the Force when his term of employment expired and he resigned from his position as NCO i/c of Isle La Crosse Detachment in northern Saskatchewan. He then paid his own way to England where he was granted a commission in the British Army.

After he left for England, his former boss from Prince Albert arrived to inspect the detachment. The Inspector was not too impressed when he discovered that the detachment stove was missing. Sgt. Handcock had traded stove for load of bricks and built a lovely fireplace in its place!

1942 – The 7th reinforcement draft to the RCMP Provost Corps during WW2 included; Constables #13595 Errol Reid and #13626 James Cooper.

1942 – Honour Roll Number 72.


Photograph of Constable Peter Oliver (Reg. #12572) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

#12572 Constable Peter Seddon Oliver age 29, was killed in action while serving with the R.C.M.P. Provost Company during WW2 at Dieppe, France,

#C.42026 Lieutenant Oliver was one of 4,963 troops from seven different regiments of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, who along with nearly 1,000 British soldiers who stormed the beach at the small French village of Dieppe, in Operation Jubilee.

The nine hour raid lead by Major General J. H. Roberts was designed to test the Germans coastal defenses. The Canadians were slaughtered on the beach and suffered 3,500 casualties, including 900 killed, and 1,874 taken prisoner. Of the nearly 6000 soldiers who went to Dieppe, only 2,210 made it back to England. Two Canadians received the Victoria Cross that fateful day: Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Chaplain, Captain John Weir Foote (1904-1988) and South Saskatchewan Regiment Lt.-Col. Charles C.I. Merritt (1908-1979).

Chaplain Rev. Foote, spent eight hours on the Dieppe beach, tending to the wounded and then climbed out of the landing craft that would have taken him to safety so he could be taken prisoner so that he could continue to tend to his wounded comrades. Captain Foot was the only Canadian chaplain to ever be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Lt.-Col Merritt was the Commanding Officer of the South Saskatchewan Regiment who despite being seriously wounded and having lost 81 of his men killed in action, lead his men across the Scie River before he was taken prisoner.

Oliver joined the RCMP on June 22, 1936 and volunteered as a member of Number 1 Provost Corps. Upon assignment to the Provost Corps he was given the rank of lance corporal but was quickly promoted to Lieutenant and transferred to Number 2 Provost C Company as second in command. Of the 41 members of the Force who stormed the beach that fateful day, he was the only RCMP member killed becoming the first serving Mountie killed in action in Europe in WW2.

Peter Seddon Oliver was born at Montmorency Quebec and was the son of retired S/Sgt. #881 George S. Oliver who retired from the NWMP in 1892. Lieutenant Oliver was buried in the Dieppe War Cemetery at Hautot-sur-Mer, France.

1993 – Police officers often have to deal with mentally deranged suspects and most every situation is extremely dangerous. When #33492 Corporal J.D. Phil Boudreau and #39546 Constable J.D. Mazerolle encountered a deranged man in a park at St Francois de Kent, New Brunswick, they found him armed with a knife and a baseball bat. While trying to reason with him, they were attacked and stabbed. Despite their wounds they managed to subdue their assailant and take him into custody. They were both awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.

August 20

1936 – Two new RCMP Patrol Vessels the “Macdonald” and “Laurier” were launched at Quebec City. Lady MacBrien, wife of then Commissioner Sir J.H. MacBrien, christened the MacDonald. Madame LaPointe, wife of then federal Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe, christened the Laurier.

Photograph of a Coquitlam RCMP Detachment Traffic Section car (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of a Coquitlam RCMP Detachment Traffic Section car (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1954 – Treasury board approves a new car decal and white doors for vehicles being used for full time traffic duties. The 91/2 by 11 inch decal contained the crest of the Force. Previously Force cars only had two-inch high letters R.C.M.P. below the window on the front doors.

1972 - Photograph of Constable Harold Baydak (Reg.#25671) standing by an RCMP car with the reflective RCMP door decal (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

1972 – Photograph of Constable Harold Baydak (Reg.#25671) standing by an RCMP car with the reflective RCMP door decal with the letter of the “RCMP” lettering added (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

In July of 1967 a new reflective coloured door decal in the shape of a large badge, containing the crest of the Force over four inch high black letters “RCMP” was introduced. The decal was two feet high and 20 inches wide and was accredited to #16409 / O.618 Sub Inspector “Bud” Matthew Rowell Godfrey the Officer in Charge of the Traffic Branch in Ottawa.

 1987 – The Federal government orders a complete ban on smoking in public service offices, effective Jan. 1, 1988. Not only did the policy immediately end smoking by government employees inside government buildings, it had a significant effect on the number of members who smoked. Prior to the ban a large percentage of members smoked, twenty years later smokers found themselves in the minority.

August 21

1929 Photograph of Winston Churchill during his three month tour of Canada.

1929 Photograph of Winston Churchill during his three month tour of Canada.

1929 – Sir Winston Churchill accompanied by his son Randolph and brother Major John Churchill and son John Churchill Jr. visited Depot Division and dined at the Officers Mess.

1941 – Two of four Inuit were found guilty of manslaughter in one of Canada’s most bizarre murder cases. A jury found 27-year old Charlie Ouyerack and 34-year old Peter Sala guilty after RCMP evidence reveled that nine Inuit had been murdered on a remote island chain in Hudson Bay; the Belcher Islands Nunavut’s most southerly community.

The accused; were the leaders of a short-lived religious cult and Charlie Ouyerack had declared to the 43 people in the camp that he was Jesus Christ and stated that Peter Sala was God. Following Ouyerack’s declaration of his divinity the camp members observed a shooting star race toward earth before it disappeared into the swirling backdrop of the northern lights and took that as a sign that the wait for Jesus Christ’s return was over. Then the group was seized in a state of religious hysteria and they began killing their sled dogs and destroying some of their rifles.

 After a week of religious fervor a 15-year-old girl named Sarah Apawkok, spoke up at a religious meeting on the night of Jan. 26 and declared that she did not believe that Jesus had returned. Her brother Alec a devoted disciple was enraged seized his sister by the hair and hit her across the head with a wooden club then someone lit a primus stove and held it close to her face so they could see whether she was good or wicked and declared that she was Satan. Despite her cries for mercy beat her unconscious and then she was dragged outside the igloo and where a 17-year-old girl named Akeenik, killed her by hitting her on the head with the butt end of a rifle.

 The second person to die was a 47-year man named Keytowieack, after he tried to confront Sarah’s killers. After getting into an argument with Ouyerack and Sala wherein he told them that the preaching had to stop, he was accused of being a devil. A fight broke out and he managed to get away and hid in his igloo. The next morning he was confronted by Sala, Ouyerack and another disciple of named Adlaykok and was bludgeoned with a harpoon and then shot twice in the head.

 Two weeks later the group move to another island and joined up with another family and Ouyerack continued to preach that he was Jesus and most of the other family were absorbed into the cult. Only a 26-year-old hunter named Alec Ekpuk refused to accept the new Jesus. On the 9th of February Ouyerack and Ekpuk got into an argument and when

Ekpuk walked away in despair, Ouyerack declared him a devil and ordered Ekpuk’s father-in-law Quarack to immediately shoot him in the back, which he did.

 Two weeks after Ekpuk’s murder, Peter Sala’s (God) 25-year-old sister, Mina, was convinced that the world was ending so she ran among the igloos one night, yelling that Jesus was coming to take the people to heaven forced twelve women and their children in out into the bitterly cold weather and herded them onto the sea ice to meet their savior After a few minutes of insanity, some of the women ordered their children to get dressed and then clamored back to their igloos with as many children they could carry. For the rest it was too late and the minus 30 C with its numbness and frostbite set in and six members of the community died. The dead included Sala’s ‘s 55-year-old mother, her 32-year-old sister, his six-year-old son Alec along with three other children.

 Seven members of the cult were eventually arrested and charged with murder. Alec Apawkok and Akeenik, were charged jointly for the murder of Sarah Apawkok. Peter Sala and Adlaykok were charged with the murder of Keytowieack and Charley Ouyerack and Quarack were charged with the murder of Alec Ekpuk. Although Mina Sala had be diagnosed as insane, she was still charged with the murder of six-year-old Johnasie who was chosen to represent the six who died on the sea ice.

A decision was made to hold the trial on the Belcher Islands so Ottawa could demonstrate to the Inuit the purpose and force of the Canadian justice system. Though the trial was held it had more of carnival flair than a somber trial. Writing for the Canadian Press reporter James McCook penned “About 50 Eskimos smilingly greeted the party on its arrival and among them were those whose lives are at stake in the trial,” “Adlaykok, one of the accused men, greeted Constable George Dexter affectionately, throwing arms around the RCMP officer.”

A huge tent was erected for the occasion, and court was convened on the shore of a barren, sub-Arctic island. Inside the tent a wigged judge sat at a table draped with the Union Jack, and a picture of the Royal Family hung behind him. The Ottawa prosecutor and defence lawyer dressed in their robes readied there cases while dozens of Inuit spectators, sat on sealskin mats on the floor. I was a struggle to find a six-man jury for the trial so reporters McCook and William Kinmond of the Toronto Star were forced to be jurists as well as journalists. The Hudson Bay manager, Ernest Riddell and three members of a geological prospecting party, completed the jury. All of the accused were pleasant and polite except for Mina who had been brought into the courtroom strapped to a stretcher and persisted in hollering and sobbing throughout the proceedings.

Though they did their best to exact justice in this horrible matter, even the prosecutor came to conclusion that this show trial as a mistake, and he even argued that hanging the accused for murder would have no deterrent effect on the wider Inuit community. Furthermore he stated that in his opinion the white, Canadian justice system could be properly applied in such an alien place.

 The Jury agreed and acquitted Alec Apawkok and found Akeenik not guilty on account of temporary insanity for Sarah Apawkok’s death.

 Peter Sala, Adlaykok, Charley Ouyerack and Quarack were foud guilty of manslaughter for the deaths of Keytowieack and Ekpuk. Mina Sala was declared to be insane, and unfit to stand trial.

 Despite being convicted of manslaughter, Quarack was allowed to stay in the Belcher Islands because he was a skilled hunter. His   sentence required him to provide a year-round supply of meat for the families of the exiled men.

Sala and Ouyerack were sentenced to two years imprisonment, and Adlaykok to one. Mina and Akeenik were ordered into indefinite custody. The five were loaded onto a schooner Fort Charles and taken to Moose Factory where they served their sentences by living and working in exile in the RCMP compound. They only remained in custody for one year, Charley Ouyerack died in May 1942 after contracting tuberculosis. Peter Sala, Adlaykok, Akeenik and Mina (now normal) moved up the coast to Great Whale River, on condition that they never return to the Belcher Islands. Peter Sala eventually returned to the Belcher Islands, where he spent the rest of his life shunned by everyone.

August 22

1914 – The War Measures Act receives Royal Assent. The Finance Act, 1914, also becomes law, giving Ottawa the power to suspend payments in gold, and to make paper money legal tender.

1991 – The Supreme Court of Canada strikes down the ‘rape shield law’ thereby prohibiting the previous sexual conduct of those alleging rape being presented as evidence in court.