Larry Burden – This Day In The RCMP

Depot Division's Memorial Street Signs (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 Sgt. Larry Burden ( #35982) 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

September 8

1890 – Honour Roll Numbers 15 and 16.


Photograph of the inside of mausoleum which contains the remains of Constable George Quiqueran Rene Saveuse DeBeaujeu (Reg.#2439) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

#02439 Constable George Quiqueran Rene Saveuse DeBeaujeu age 18 and #02162 Corporal Harry Oliver Morphy age 30 were killed when the Mounted Police vessel “Keewatin” capsized on Lake Winnipeg during a storm.

In 1890 the NWMP purchased the Steam Ship Keewatin for use in trying to control illegal liquor movement on the 300 mile long Lake Winnipeg. The two policemen were assigned to the vessel and made patrols throughout the summer. When the vessel failed to return from a patrol after a heavy storm, word of the ship’s fate filtered in from local natives reporting that the boat had been wrecked on the eastern shore of the lake. Eventually searchers located wreckage half way up the lake hull at Rabbit Point with the unconscious civilian Ship’s Captain; Matthew Watts lashed to the Keewatin’s hull.

When the Captain was taken to hospital in Selkirk Manitoba he was interviewed by Commissioner L.W. Herchmer. From him they learned that the ship had left Spider Island on the morning of September 7 in strong winds. Later that afternoon they had anchored off of Swampy Island to ride out the storm, but around 7:30 pm, the boat’s anchor chain broke and the ship was cast adrift. Unable to re-anchor the ship, they tried to ride out the storm while Constable DeBeaujeu and Corporal Morphy spent the night bailing water in an attempt to prevent the ship from being swamped. At day break the following morning the ship lost its centerboard when it struck a submerged reef and then capsized.

The three men clung desperately to the hull but late in the day Constable DeBeaujeu, overcome by exhaustion and hypothermia slipped off the hull and drowned. Corporal Morphy succumbed to the same fate the following morning. Captain Watts managed to lash himself to the hull and slipped in and out of consciousness until he was rescued 13 days after the disaster. Sadly Watts died a few days after the Commissioner interviewed him.

An extensive search was conducted as soon as the wreck was located, but neither body was found. Two months later the body of 18-year-old Constable Rene DeBeaujeu washed up on shore.

The remains of George Quiqueran Rene Saveuse DeBeaujeu were returned to his parents, where he was buried in Montreal. He had only been in the NWMP less than five months.

Corporal Harry Oliver Morphy had joined the Force in Toronto and had only served 2 years and 89 days. The accepted belief is that Corporal Morphy’s body was never recovered. But confusion exists to this day because of two separate memos that report that his body was recovered. One memo dated March 21, 1891 states that his body was found by Indians and was buried on Tamarac Island. Another memo dated September 16, 1891 states that Morphy’s body was recovered is buried in his family plot in Toronto.

September 8, 1935 - Photograph of Rev. A.E.G. Hendy, RCMP Chaplain, unveiling the Cenotaph which bore 48 names (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

September 8, 1935 – Photograph of Rev. A.E.G. Hendy, RCMP Chaplain, unveiling the Cenotaph which bore 48 names (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1935 – The newly constructed Honour Roll monument listing the names of all of the men who had been killed in the line of duty was unveiled at Depot in Regina. The memorial was unveiled by the Honourary Chaplain of the Force Reverend Hendy assisted by Constables #09267 Robert Rathbone and #10958 / O.458 Herbert Robertson.

1990 – Whitehorse Yukon member #33497 / O.1801 Corporal Andrew S. Lathem was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery and his partners Corporal #36263 Rick D. T. Noack, Sergeant #30153 Phil Humphries and civilian Mr. G.R. Nowell were awarded Commanding Officer’s Commendations for their roles in apprehending an armed man who possessed unusual strength and was acting in an uncontrollable rage.

September 9

1890 – Driving a horse team and wagon, #02012 Constable Robert Mathews completed a 60 mile round trip from Fort MacLeod to Pincher Creek Alberta in one day! His task was to retrieve the body of #02022 Constable James Vaughan who had died two days earlier so he could be buried at Fort MacLeod.

1948 – Honour Roll Number 85.

Photograph of the grave marker for

Photograph of the grave marker for Constable Frizzle Wilson (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

#11645 Constable Carl Frizzle Wilson age 38 was killed while directing traffic at the scene of a motor vehicle collision near Portaupique, N.S.

On the night of September 8, 1948, Truro Detachment Constables #11645 Carl Frizzle Wilson and #13499 Donald Black were dispatched to a collision near Portapique, 22 miles from Truro. While Constable Black was interviewing the drivers in their police car, Constable Wilson directed traffic with his flashlight when he was struck by a car at full speed driven by 25 year old Harry McLeod The force of the impact broke both of his legs and propelled him over 50 feet across the highway, rendering him unconscious.

Constable Black rushed him to the Colchester Hospital, but he never regained consciousness and he died early the next morning.

Carl Frizzle Wilson had been a member of the Nova Scotia Provincial Police and became a Mountie when that agency was absorbed into the RCMP in 1932. Constable Wilson had served in several Nova Scotia Communities over his 18-year career. He was buried in the Belmont Cemetery in Colchester County with full honours and was survived by his wife Sadie and their four daughters.

1973 – While he was still in basic training at Depot in Regina, #30414 Constable R.B. Dennis earned a Commanding Officers Commendation. Dennis was off duty at the time he encountered an emotionally disturbed woman who was threatening to jump from high construction crane. Under very hazardous conditions and at great personal risk to himself he succeeded in rescuing the woman.

1984 – Pope John Paul II arrived in Quebec City to begin a 12-day tour. He is the first Pontiff to visit Canada and begins his tour by attending a three-hour mass at the Laval Stadium attended by over 250,000 people. His itinerary includes stops in

Trois-Rivières, Montreal, St. John’s, Moncton, Halifax, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa-Hull. Accompanying him on the exhausting tour are select members of the RCMP motorcycle escort teams from across the nation. Their grueling schedule requires them to leap frog across the country often going without meals in order to be in position for the Papal convoy.

September 10

Photograph of Cree Chief Crowfoot.

Photograph of Cree Chief Crowfoot.

1876 – Chief Big Bear returns from a Buffalo hunt to discover that the plains Cree had signed Treaty No. 6 the day before at Fort Pitt. He is furious and believes they have given up their valuable hunting lands for very little.

1881 – The Governor General the Marquis of Lorne met with a delegation from the Blackfoot nation led by Chief Crowfoot. Dressed in ragged robes Chief Crowfoot plead for additional rations and help his people who were starving due to the loss of the buffalo. He was advised to take up farming because the old ways were now dead.

1941 – The government of Alberta orders all schools in the province closed because of an epidemic of infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) and encephalitis. During the school closure student lessons are published in the newspapers.

1977 – At 3:00a.m. Special Constable L. Good Eagle responded to a house fire on the Blackfoot Indian Reserve near Gleichen AB. He entered the burning house and searched all of the rooms and found Wesley Drunken Chief unconscious and dragged him from the house. For his actions he was awarded the “Certificate of Merit” by the Royal Canadian Humane Society.

1986 – Medal of Bravery Recipients:

#27703 Corporal Brian Robert Douglas, MB
#31716 Constable Craig Allan Gates, MB
#33530 Constable Philip David Morris, MB
#34680 Constable Thomas Richard Hansen, MB* (*Bar to The Medal of Bravery. First MB See October 28, 1981)
#37194 / O.2066 Constable Robert Douglas Hagymasy, MB
Five members of the North Vancouver Detachment responded to a report of a hostage taking and upon their arrival they discovered that a mentally deranged man armed with several handguns was threatening to kill his children. The members attempted to reason with the gunman but he was determined to either kill himself or die in a “shoot-out” with the police. When the policemen saw smoke and flames inside the residence they decided to enter the building in an attempt to save the lives of the four children trapped inside.

#27703 Corporal Brian Douglas and Constables #31716 Craig Gates, #33530 Phil Morris, #34680 Thomas Hansen and #37194 / O.2066 Robert Hagymasy then broke into the residence and proceeded to fight their way through the thick black smoke crawling on their hands and knees searching for the occupants. After searching the main floor they regrouped outside and concluded that all of the occupants were upstairs. Then Constable Hagymasy, Gates, and Hansen obtained air packs from the Fire Department and proceeded up the burning staircase with their guns drawn. When they reached the top of the stairs they found the body of the gunman with three pistols. Constable Hagymasy and Hansen then dragged him out of the house to a waiting ambulance and Cst. Gates continued searching for the children. Tragically, all four children had been shot before their father had set the fire.

September 11

1885 – At one time Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear) was the leading chief of the Prairie River People and headed a camp of 65 lodges comprised of over 520 people. Initially he refused to sign Treaty No. Six and was steadfast in his refusal for six years. Faced with destitution and starvation, and a camp that had dwindled to 114 people, Mistahimaskwa finally signed an adhesion to the treaty in December 1882. Mistahimaskwa’s influence over the band’s warrior society began to fade because the government refused to negotiate with him, after he tried to create a political confederation of native nations that would be able to force concessions from the government and create an Indian territory in the Northwest.

Despite his efforts to prevent his son his son Ayimisis and their war chief, Kapapamahchakwew (Wandering Spirit), members of his band attacked and massacred nine people at Frog Lake on April 2nd 1885.

Although he was no longer in control of the band, he continued to counsel for peace during the rest of the rebellion and when Kapapamahchakwew attacked Fort Pitt on April 14th 1885, Mistahimaskwa intervened and was successful in negotiating the surrender and evacuation of 44 civilian inhabitants along with the police.

Despite the fact that he did not participate in the fighting at Frenchman’s Butte and Loon Lake Mistahimaskwa was brought to trial in Regina on this day after he surrendered at Fort Carlton on in July. It only took the jury fifteen minutes to find him guilty on a charge of treason-felony for his part in the North West Rebellion and he was sentenced to three years in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary.

He was released half way through his sentence because of poor health, and died on the Poundmaker reserve on 17 January 1888.

1942 – Honour Roll Number 73.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division which lists all the members who died while in the service.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division which lists all the members who died while in the service. Master John Bonner’s name is circled in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

#12130 Master, Navy Lieutenant Commander #O7480 John Willard Bonner age 44 was killed in action when his ship, HMCS “Charlottetown”, was torpedoed in the Gulf of St, Lawrence.

John Willard Bonner joined the Preventive Service in 1929 and became a member of the RCMP when the Preventive Service was absorbed in 1932. His career in the Force saw him rise to the rank of Skipper – Lieutenant where he sailed from Halifax to Vancouver via the Panama Canal aboard the “P.V. Adversus” and he became the first commander of the RCMP Ship “French”.

When War was declared in 1939, he along with all members of the RCMP Marine Section was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1941 he was given command of the “HMCS Charlottetown” and in 1942 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander.

The HMCS Charlottetown (K-244) was a Flower Class Corvette and was built by Kingston Shipbuilding Co. in Kingston, Ontario, one year before she was sunk. The Corvettes short length (205’) and shallow draught made them uncomfortable ships to live in as they pitched and rolled terribly giving them the reputation of being able to roll on wet grass. When torpedoed, they usually sank in seconds due the few compartments below the water line, but for all their faults, Flower class corvettes were formidable U-boat hunters.

The Battle of the Gulf of St. Lawrence was part of the larger Battle of the Atlantic and was the only time since the War of 1812 that enemy warships wreaked havoc and death in Canadian inland waters. Between 1942 and 1944 German U-boats penetrated the Cabot Strait and the Strait of Belle Isle and came as close as 300 kilometers to Québec City. During the campaign 23 allied ships were sunk.

After successfully escorting convoy SQ-30 to Rimouski Quebec the Charlottetown and the HMCS Clayoquot were returning to their base at Gaspe. At 12:33 hours in broad daylight two torpedoes fired from a German Uboat near Cap Chat hit her.

Uboat U-517 captained by Paul Härtwig and Uboat U-165 had been on a hunting mission had wreaked havoc in the gulf for weeks. When Härtwig sited the Charlottetown and the Clayoquot steaming east at a speed of 12 knots he fired two torpedoes in quick succession and hit the Charlottetown on her starboard quarter while Lt. Commander Bonner was on the bridge. The ship began to sink immediately and Bonner ordered the crew to abandon ship. As the crew rushed to the escape the sinking ship he remained on the bridge until the ships bow lifted out of the water and pointed to the sky. Being the last man to abandon ship, he slid down her upturned hull and began swimming furiously away from the suction of the sinking ship as an oil slick quickly spread from the wreckage. As he and his executive officer, Lt. George Moors rushed to stay ahead of the rapidly growing oil slick several underwater explosions occurred sending violent shock waves through the water. After the shock waves passed Lt. Moore looked back at Captain Bonner and saw him floating lifeless in the water. Moors then helped pull Bonner’s body on board a lifeboat, but because it was seriously overcrowded they put the body back in the water. They then tied a line to his life jacket and attached it to the rudder so they could tow it to shore. After an hour of exhausting rowing in rough swells the rudder tore away from the life boat and it along with Lt. Commander Bonner drifted off into the dark water of the gulf and he was never found.

Bonner, along with five of his crewmen was lost at sea and three other members of the Charlottetown’s crew died from their injuries.

September 12

1921 – Constables #9171 Albert Cook, #9165 George Levy and #9168 Raymond Swinimer received commendations for their devotion to duty after an explosion at the Imperial Oil Plant, at Port Royal Nova Scotia.

1945 – Two constables earn the King’s Police and Fire Medal for Bravery.

The heavy betting by two men and a woman at the Covehead racetrack near Charlottetown P.E.I. attracted the attention of other track enthusiasts who reported the matter to the RCMP. Acting on a hunch that the trio may have been involved in a series of bank robberies in Ontario, Constables #12963 William H. Warner and #13610 Thomas J. Keefe decided to check on the trio, little did they realize that it would lead to a brush with death at the hands of two fugitives wanted in five Provinces.

The policemen quickly located an out of Province Ford Coupe and decided to observe it until the owners returned. Shortly before the end of the last race of the day the trio approached the car and was confronted by the two officers. They claimed to be Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jensen of Halifax and Walter Peter Kerr of Chatham, Ontario, and produced what appeared to a legitimate registration certificate. But the men seemed evasive in answering questions about the car and their identities, so they were advised that they would have to accompany the police to Charlottetown for additional questioning with the two unarmed policemen.

Cst. Warner got into the coupe with the Jensen’s, and proceeded towards the city while Cst. Keefe and Kerr followed in the police car. Two miles down the road Jensen pretended to lose control of the car and ran it into the ditch causing his pregnant wife to smash her head into the windshield. While Constable Warner attempted to assist the unconscious women, his partner pulled up behind them and rushed to the vehicle to see what was wrong. As Warner backed out of the car he found himself and his partner facing the two men with drawn revolvers and being ordered to lie face down on the ground. Instead of ceding to the gunmen’s demands Cst. Keefe began slowly advancing towards the captors and when both gunmen turned their revolvers towards him, Cst. Warner rushed forward diverting their aim at him. Jensen then pulled the trigger four times at Warner but the gun sounded with four hollow clicks! Cst. Warner then tackled Jensen and knocked the gun from his hand. As he struggled with Warner, Jensen screamed at Kerr to shoot the two police officers. Kerr hesitated and Cst. Keefe continued his advance and calmly reasoned with him, telling him that if he killed the policemen they could not escape because they were on an island. Warner believing the second gun wasn’t loaded urged his partner to rush the gunman because the gun wasn’t loaded. Kerr replied by firing a shot between the two constables. Seeing that Keefe’s reasoning with the gunman appeared to be working so he joined in convincing him to drop the gun and give up. After several tense minutes Kerr gave in and dropped the weapon. When the officers checked the two handguns they found them both loaded but the first had been loaded with the wrong kind of ammunition. The first gun was a centre fire revolver and had been loaded with rim fire ammunition. Had the right ammo been used the outcome would have been certain death for the two policemen.

Investigation revealed that the documents the officers had been provided were forgeries and the suspects were identified as Ulysses Lauzon age 23, who had escaped from the county jail in Kitchener Ontario and Walter Koresky age 22. The search of the two men and their cabin at Cavendish resulted in the recovery of over $8000 in cash and Victor bonds that they garnered in a series of bank robberies in Ontario and Quebec.

The pair admitted to investigators how they planned to murder the two policemen and dump their bodies to make their getaway.

On January 22, 1946 both constables were presented with the King’s Police and Fire Medal at a ceremony in Charlottetown. At the time this was the highest award given for bravery.

William H. Warner served in the RCMP from 1937 to 1961 retiring as a Corporal; Thomas J. Keefe served from 1940 to 1964 and retired as a Staff Sergeant.

1983 – Canada expels 2 Soviet diplomats for trying to obtain prohibited high technology equipment.

1986 – Medal of Bravery -# 30615 J. L. Régis Bonneau, M.B


Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery (Source of photo – Governor General’s website).

While off duty a woman who saw two masked men armed with a sawed-off shotgun leave their getaway vehicle and enter a grocery store in Chicoutimi, Quebec approached Constable Régis Bonneau.

He then sent her to call the local police and though unarmed, went over to the suspects’ vehicle that was still running, turned off the ignition and removed the keys. He then hid behind another vehicle and waited for the robbers’ to return. Shortly thereafter the two suspects rushed out of the store and jumped into their vehicle but then got out and began looking for the keys.

Still alone and unarmed, Cst. Bonneau identified himself as a policeman and displayed his police badge shouting to the men to put up their hands up. Emerging from his hiding place Bonneau then attempted to take away the driver’s gun but he resisted and a struggle ensued. When the second robber realized that Bonneau wasn’t armed, he rushed to his partner’s assistance. During the struggle Cst. Bonneau succeeded in removing the mask of one of the suspects, who then ran off while he struggled with the second man. With the assistance of three other men he succeeded in overpowering and arresting him. When the Chicoutimi municipal police arrived Cst. Bonneau got into a patrol car and with the local police caught the first robber who escaped on foot.

On August 18, 1988, J. L. Régis Bonneau was presented the Medal of Bravery.

1989 – After pursuing a vehicle in a high-speed chase near Mayo, Yukon, Constable #34203 Mike E. Loerke working alone found himself with a fully loaded rifle pointed at his head by one of the occupants of the vehicle. Loerke grabbed the barrel of the weapon and pulled from the grasp of his assailant. After arresting all of the occupants he found a second loaded rifle inside the vehicle. For his courage and presence of mind he was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation for Bravery.

1999 – Michael Gerald Stanford MB, Patrick Maurice LePage MB, Medals of Bravery

Constables #37504 Michael Stanford and #42385 Patrick LePage from the Kimberley, British Columbia detachment were dispatched to a fire at a residence in an apartment building. When they arrived on scene they were advised that a mentally disturbed man was still inside his basement apartment. Ignoring the risk to them the two policemen went into the burning building crawling on their hands and knees through the smoke and flames. Overcome by the acrid smoke, Constable Stanford made his way back to the front door only to find that it had closed behind the officers.

Cst. LePage continued to battle the smoke and flames and soon found the unconscious man laying on his smoldering bed in a back room. Barely able to breath, LePage pulled the man off of the bed and following his partners voice succeeded in dragging the unconscious victim through the smoke to the front door where Constable Stamford helped him get the man up the stairs and out of the building. Both Constable LePage and the victim were then taken to hospital and treated for burns and smoke-inhalation.

Both Patrick Maurice LePage and Michael Gerald Stanford were awarded the Medal of Bravery for their actions.