Larry Burden – This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of blue ribbon (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 11

Photograph of the RCMP Gravemaker for Sergeant Major (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of the RCMP Gravemaker for Sergeant Major Edwin Tutin (Reg.# 7576) in the “Depot” Division cemetery in Regina. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

1934 – The Commissioner promoted Constable #7576 Edwin Tutin to Lance Corporal in recognition of his conspicuous courage and tenacity of purpose, for his role in apprehending two men in Ottawa who had stole Senator Murphy’s car. Daniel Nigra and Maynard Richardson stole the car and then held up Blairs Drug store and made off with cigarettes and $50. Constable Tutin was patrolling the Island Parkway on his police motorcycle, when he recognized the stolen car approaching him at a high speed. When he began to follow the suspects rolled down the rear window and began shooting at him, one bullet grazed his left breast pocket and passed between his arm and left side. Constable Tutin then drew his revolver and fired at the fleeing vehicles rear tires hitting one and rendering the tire flat. The suspects then bolted from the stolen car and fled into the woods. Ottawa Police later captured them.

Tuntin continued to serve and was eventually promoted to Sergeant Major and served with the Provost Corps in Europe during the Second World War.

1943 – Prime Minister Mackenzie King welcomes English Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the opening of the Quebec Conference.

1981 – Honour Roll Number 167.

Photograph of the bronze plaque for Constable Larsen (Source of photo - RCMP Gravesite database).

Photograph of the bronze plaque for Constable Ole Larsen (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

#25876 Corporal Ole Roust Larsen was shot and killed, at Climax, Sask.

Two days before he was murdered Cpl. Ole Larsen had attended a family dispute involving Keith Sipley and his estranged wife Jamie. After a lengthy argument, an angry and distraught Sipley was removed from the home and sent on his way. Everyone assumed it was the end of the matter.

Larsen was in charge of the two-man detachment in Climax Saskatchewan, a quite rural farming community located 14 miles north of the Montana border. Two nights after the domestic dispute at approximately 11:40 pm, Keith Sipley drove by Cpl. Larsen’s home and made a number of squealing power turns in front of the house in an effort to draw attention to him. Larsen recognized the vehicle and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt got into his police car and went out to confront him. Unfortunately Larsen was unarmed. Initially Keith Sipley ignored the Larsen’s attempt to stop him as he raced through town with the patrol car’s siren and emergency lights flashing, but then he stopped suddenly in front of the local Climax Hotel.

As Larsen exited his patrol car, Sipley armed with a .22 caliber rifle, exited his vehicle and shot him several times at point blank range. Severely wounded, Cpl. Larsen staggered back to his vehicle to call for help, but the gunman calmly walked over to the wounded officer and in front of two witnesses shot him two more times.

After shooting Cpl. Larsen, Sipley returned to his car and fled towards the United States. Traveling cross-country through backfields to avoid the border crossing, in the process he damaged his vehicle’s transmission and his car broke down. Sipley then walked across the border and into a farmer’s yard, where he stole a pickup truck. Instead of simply leaving the farm unnoticed he began driving erratically around the farm yard waking the owner, Scott Anderson from his sleep. Anderson jumped in his car and began to chase after his stolen truck, and when the vehicle eventually stopped he found Sipley sitting with his head back, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot to his forehead.

Before killing himself, Keith Sipley recorded a rambling message on a portable tape recorder, stating that he didn’t know why he killed the Mountie and that he wished to God it hadn’t happened.

Ole Larsen died in the local eight-bed hospital as the medivac airplane was landing to transport him to hospital in Regina.

Larsen was born in Varde, Denmark and his family had immigrated to Canada when he was 13 years old. He was raised in Galt Ontario and had joined the RCMP on July 12, 1967. He left behind his wife Lindsey and their two young daughters Kristen and Karen. Cpl. Ole Roust Larsen was buried in the RCMP cemetery in Regina with full military honours.

August 12

1883 – A large crowd cheered as the first Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) construction train puffed into the settlement of Calgary. At the time Calgary was nothing more than a tent city whose only permanent structures were the barracks of NWMP Fort Calgary and the stores of the Hudson’s Bay and the I.G. Baker trading companies.

1979 – While working at the Cavendish PEI Summer Detachment, #33758 Constable John .M.G. Trickett, helped save the life of a swimmer. Nearby Mayfield resident, Preston Simpson was swimming in the frigid waters off of Cavendish Beach when he nearly drowned. Trickett along with some members of the public rushed to his aid and rescued him. Constable Trickett was awarded the Red Cross Life Saving Award at the 15th annual presentation at Government House in Charlottetown.

1998 – Honour Roll Number 194.

Photograph of the "Depot" Cenotaph listing all the members died in the line of duty (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the “Depot” Cenotaph listing all the members died in the line of duty (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#37348 Corporal Graeme Charles Cumming age 37 was killed when a drunk driver crashed into his police car while he was investigating an accident near Kipp, Alberta.

What started out as a relatively normal day for Cpl. Graeme Cumming and truck driver Daniel Entz resulted in both of them being killed in a fiery crash caused by a drunk driver. Entz was driving in the left lane of divided highway #2, when his load of hay shifted and began spilling onto the roadway. Cpl. Cumming attended to the scene and had positioned his police car behind the spilled hay with his emergency lights on along with a flashing arrow to direct traffic to pass on the right. While he was in the process of issuing a traffic ticket to Mr. Entz who was sitting in the police car with him another tractor trailer came upon the scene and without warning smashed into the back of the police car as it attempted to pass. The force of the impact demolished the police car, which burst into flames killing both men instantly.

The driver of the second tractor-trailer, Darren Roderick Buckley, was charged with two counts of impaired driving and impaired driving causing death. Adding to the tragedy was the fact that Buckley, was wanted in British Columbia for an earlier impaired driving offence.

Buckley was convicted on April 13, 1999, and sentenced to a 32 month jail term and received a 5 year driving prohibition.

Graeme Cumming was born at Glasgow, Scotland, and joined the RCMP in November 1981. He served most of his 17-year career in Alberta, with postings in Gleichen, Medicine Hat, Fairview, Fort MacMurray, Airdrie and Lethbridge. His wife of twelve years and a member of the RCMP, #38594, Cst. Marina A.F. Cumming, survived him. Hundreds of peace officers from across Canada and the United States attended his funeral on August 18th in Lethbridge Alberta.

1999 – Family disputes always have the potential to become dangerous and this dispute was nearly deadly.

Constables #42239 Joel MacKown, #45392 David Gerrard and #35790 Douglas Mylie attended to a family dispute in the town of St Albert, Alberta. When the police arrived on scene the suspect opened fire on them with a shotgun and Constable MacKown was hit in the back of his legs by the gun blast. Cst. Gerrard and the wounded officer then returned fire as Cst. Mylie helped MacKown find cover from the gunman.

Shortly after the shooting began two more members, #37331 Cst. David Halbach and #35891 Cst. Kenneth Fitzgerald arrived and helped contain the scene while Constable MacKown was taken to the hospital where his wounds were treated. After the emergency response team arrived on the scene the gunman surrendered and was taken into custody. Constable MacKown recovered from his wounds and later returned to active duty.

August 13

Photograph of the British Columbia Provincial Police cap badge as was worn by (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the British Columbia Provincial Police (BCPP) cap badge as was worn by Corporal Donald Pye prior to the BCPP conversion to the RCMP in 1950 (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1954 – While stationed at Nakusp British Columbia, Corporal Donald A. Pye (Reg. #16406) and two companions, Robert McGilvray and Jack Molyneux departed from the community of Arrowhead around 7:30 pm, in a 16 foot boat for a 40 mile trip on the Upper Arrowhead Lake back to Nakusp. Cruising at over 25 miles per hour, Molyneux unexpectedly moved from his position in the stern of the small craft and the sudden shift in weight caused the boat to heel heavily and tossed McGilvary into an enclosed window, causing it to shatter and allow water to violently rush into the boat. Shortly thereafter the boat filled with water and capsized spilling the trio into the lake. Cpl. Pye, being the only swimmer in the trio assisted the other two men by pulling them to the overturned boat where they tried to climb onto the hull. Unfortunately the capsized vessel could not support the combined weight of the three men due to the weight the heavy engine attached to the stern and their gear that was still strapped inside the hull. Cpl. Pye made repeated attempts to retrieve some life jackets that were stored inside the forward cabin but he could not reach them. He then attempted to right the craft, but the weight of the boat was too great for him turn. While he attempted to turn the boat over the two non swimmers lost their hold on the boat and began to drift away. Pye managed to pull the men back to the boat and then made a desperate attempt to unfasten the outboard engine from the stern. While he was underwater struggling with the engine, a cold and tired Molyneux lost his grasp on the hull and drifted away. When Pye surfaced he saw his friend struggling some 20 feet away and began to swim to him. But before the exhausted rescuer could reach him, Jack Molyneux slipped below the surface and descended in over 800 feet of depth. After the loss of Molyneux, Cpl. Pye held onto the hull for over two hours because the boat could only support one man. As his legs began to cramp, Pye realized they were in serious trouble decided to go for help and try swimming to shore over a mile and a half away, while his friend McGilvary rested on top of the keel. Miraculously Pye eventually made to shore and then shouted encouragement to his friend in an attempt to keep his sprits up, and then he attempted to walk to the small settlement of St. Leon. Due to his high level of exhaustion and exposure he wasn’t able to progress very far through the heavy forest undergrowth and eventually collapsed into unconsciousness.

He eventually awoke and continued to yell encouragement to his marooned friend until the sun came up the next morning. Shortly after sunrise a search party who had set out from Nakusp to search for the overdue boaters found the pair. The body of Jack Molyneux was never found due to the extreme depth of the lake.

On September 26, 1955, Cpl. Donald A. Pye was awarded the Royal Canadian Humane Society’s Bronze Medal for his heroism. Sergeant Pye, originally a member of the BC Provincial Police, retired from the RCMP in 1965.

2002 – It was nearly de’ja’vu all over again when two members of the “E” Division Underwater Recovery Team responded to an overturned fishing boat at the mouth the Fraser River in British Columbia. Twenty years before Corporals Bob Teather and Tim Kain responded to a similar emergency earning Teather the Cross of Valour and Kain the Medal of Bravery (See 26 September 1981)

This time the boat was the Fishing Vessel “Cap Rouge II” that suddenly capsized in the treacherous waters at mouth of Fraser River. The Coast Guard hovercraft had responded to the scene and rescued two survivors from the vessel but safety regulations would not allow them to enter the capsized vessel. #35868 Sgt, Douglas Gambicourt, assisted by Cpl. #40867 Laurie Jalbert using surface supplied air diving gear, entered the partially submerged vessel and recovered body of young girl. Twenty years before, this type of diving equipment was not available and Cpl. Theather nearly drowned rescuing the occupants of the “Respond”. Both Sgt. Gambicourt and Cpl. Jalbert received the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery for this recovery mission.

August 14

1908 – Honour Roll Number 33.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division listing all the members who died in the line of duty. Red circle highlight's Sgt. Donaldson on this Honour Roll (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division listing all the members who died in the line of duty. Red circle highlight’s Sgt. Donaldson on this Honour Roll (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

#3566 Sgt. Ralph Morton L. Donaldson age 30, drowned after his police boat was attacked by a walrus, off of Marble Island, Hudson Bay, N.W.T. (Now Nunavut)

Members posted in the far north often had to conduct hunting expeditions to supplement their food rations. It was on one such trip that Sergeant Ralph Donaldson lost his life. He was in charge of a patrol consisting of # 3347 Cpl. F.W. Reeves, Special Constable H. T. Ford and two native guides Pook and Tupearlock that left Churchill Manitoba aboard the Police Vessel “Mactavish” loaded with supplies for the detachment at Fullerton. After encountering heavy weather they anchored in a cove at Marble Island. There they sighted a heard of walrus on a small island approximately one mile from their vessel. Special Constable Ford departed in a dingy for the herd and returned later reporting that he had shot ten animals. Later Sgt. Donaldson, Cpl. Reeves and Special Constable Ford rowed back to the island to butcher the slain walrus. As darkness fell Donaldson and Reeves headed back to the “Mactavish” with the intent of sending the natives back to assist Ford. Rowing in the dark towards the lights on the larger vessel, they were suddenly attacked by a large walrus that rammed his tusks through the hull leaving a large hole in the hull below the waterline aand knocking one of the oarlocks from its socket. Sgt. Donaldson was overcome with fear and unable to respond to Cpl. Reeves instructions to retrieve the oar and start rowing before they sank. As the dingy took on water Cpl. Reeves attempted to plug the six inch hole with his jacket while he tried to retrieve the oar but the dingy quickly filled with water and both men soon found themselves in the frigid harbour. Instead of swimming towards the near shore, Sgt. Donaldson attempted to swim back to the far shore that they had departed from. Cpl. Reeves called out to him in the dark to swim in the other direction but Donaldson did not answer. He was never seen again. Cpl. Reeves managed to make to shore alive and alert the others of the tragedy. A search party scoured the area for several weeks, but Sgt. Donaldson’s body was never recovered.

Originally from London Ontario, Ralph Morton Donaldson joined the Northwest Mounted Police in April 1900 and served in Regina, Moose Jaw, Ottawa and Churchill Manitoba. He had no family other than a sister in Ontario.

1945 – VJ Day (Victory over Japan) celebrations break out as Emperor Hirohito calls upon Japan’s war council to surrender unconditionally thus ending the Second World War. The total cost of World War II to Canada is $11,344,437,766 and 42,000 dead.

1983 – RCMP Summer Student Constable Barbara Gushulak from the Winnipegosis Manitoba Detachment won the Manitoba Ladies Arm-Wrestling championship for the 135lb and over weight class.

 August 15

1901 – The “SS Islander” loaded with over $6,000,000 in Klondike Gold sinks after hitting an iceberg.

The 240’Canadian Pacific steam ship “Islander” was by all accounts a beautiful ship. She had been constructed at Yorker, Scotland in 1888 for the Inland Passage to Alaska. The 1495-ton, steel, twin-screw steamer was the favorite ship on the gold rush line for business tycoons and miners alike.

On August 14, 1901 the Islander departed Skagway, Alaska bound for Victoria, British Columbia, filled with a crew of 62 and 100 passengers and allegedly $6,000,000 in Klondike gold.

Aboard the ship were two North West Mounted Police Constables, #3408 James L. Cotter and #3344 Edmund Henry Waller. Contrary to popular belief they were not assigned to guard the gold that was stowed in a locker on the port side of the forward well deck,

Shortly after 2:00 am on August 15, with only one officer on the bridge and steaming at a speed of 14 knots, the ship struck what was believed to be an iceberg while in the narrow Lynn Canal south of Juneau and tore a large hole in her forward port quarter.

The captain tried in vain to steer the ailing ship to shallower water at nearby Douglas Island but the outgoing tide and weight of the water rapidly filling the ship’s forward compartments prevented her from making any headway. Within 15 minutes the weight of the water forced her bow underwater and lifted her stern completely out of the water, exposing her rudder and propellers. Before the entire ships company could be abandoned the forward section of the ship broke away and the wreck of the SS Islander settled at the bottom of Stephen’s Passage, at 58°15’N 134°30’W.

The two constables were reportedly the last to escape the sinking ship and spent a cold night ashore.

The official record recorded that 16 crewmembers including the ships Captain and 23 passengers perished. But other unconfirmed sources claimed that there were 42 casualties out of possibly 183 people aboard.

Initially the inquest into the sinking cleared the Captain and crew of negligence but eventually reports surfaced about how the crew did not wake all of the passengers and fled the ship in half filled life boats leaving many behind to fend for themselves.

With such a large amount of gold on board, salvage attempts began immediately, but little progress was made due to the deep depth and the antiquated diving equipment of the era. The wreck was finally located in 1921 in 110 meters of water.

 In 1934, a salvage team succeeded in lifting most of the wreck to the surface but after they cleaned out the aft section of the ship and located the Pursers safe they only found $75,000.00 worth of gold dust and nuggets and paper money. The gold bars they were hoping to find were stored forward 60’ section of the hull that had been sheared off.

 The bow section was finally located in August 1996 using side-scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle but salvage efforts became bogged down in court over who had the salvage rights to the “Islanders” gold. The matter was resolved in the US Court of Appeal on March 7th 2000 and maybe someday soon she will yield her gold.

It is unknown what the effect of surviving the sinking of the SS Islander had on the two policemen but neither constable stayed in the Mounted Police after their terms expired. Waller resigned in 1903 and Cottern in 1904. Edmund Henry Waller died in Nanaimo BC in 1970 at the ripe old age of 92.

1950 – At the request of the Province of British Columbia the RCMP assumed responsibility for provincial policing and absorbs the members of the British Columbia Provincial Police Force into its ranks. The first Commanding Officer of “E” Division is Assistant Commissioner Allen T. Belcher, who headed up the largest RCMP Division in Canada with a policing area of over 366,255 square miles!

1967 – Malcolm Francis Aylesworth Lindsay becomes the thirteenth permanent Commissioner and serves until September 30, 1969.

2000 – Honour Roll Number 216 and 217

Photograph of (Source of photo - RCMP Gravesite Database).

Photograph of Sgt. Edward Mobley (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite Database).

Two members are killed in plane crash at Teslin Lake British Columbia.

After dropping off 17 members of the Terrace, Prince Rupert and Whitehorse emergency response teams for routine bush-training exercises. The RCMP’s 1985 Cessna Caravan “C-GMPB” piloted by #32787 Sergeant Edward Mobley, became grounded on a sand bar. After several hours of digging the plane was eventually freed and was then inspected by flight engineer #S/3863 Special Constable Tim Nicholson who had arrived by boat from Teslin.

Once the plane was cleared for flying, both Sgt. Mobley and S/Cst. Nicholson proceeded to fly home around midnight. After the plane lifted off the water it circled the members on the ground and began a steep climb, but the plane stalled and then plunged nose first into the lake near the mouth of the Jennings River. Both Sgt. Mobley age 49 and S/Cst. Nicholson, age 48 were killed upon impact.

Sgt. Mobley had 25 years service and joined the RCMP in 1975. He was transferred to Air Services in 1994 and had been posted to Prince Rupert at the time of his death. His wife and daughter survived him.

S/Cst. Nicholson had seven years service with the RCMP and was stationed in Ottawa but had been on temporary assignment in Prince Rupert filling in for the regular flight engineer who was on annual leave. His wife and two daughters survived him.

2005 – The detachment commander in Chase British Columbia #35772 Frederick Bott responded to a complaint of shots fired at the Mountain View Mobile Home Park in Chase. As he approached the front door to make an enquiry, a shotgun was fired at him from inside the trailer. The blast was close enough that he felt the pressure wave between his extended arm and his side. He quickly took cover and he and other members returned fire and called for the emergency response team. A 17-hour standoff the ensued and suddenly, 67 year old Ronald Ivan Brown walked out of the trailer and was arrested. Brown who was slightly wounded was found to be suffering from mental illness, and had murdered his 78 year old neighbor and friend Melvin Pugsley the previous evening.