Larry Burden: This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP crest over Depot Swimming Pool building (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

March 13th

1916 – Manitoba becomes the first province to vote for prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

1968 – Commissioners Commendations and grants from the Benefit Trust Fund for $100 awarded to #16665 S/Sgt Peter Blake Payne and #23801 Constable Murray Donovan Charlton for the arrest of armed and dangerous man in Richmond, B.C.

1971 – FLQ terrorist Paul Rose receives a life sentence for the non-capital murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte who was kidnapped during the October Crisis of 1970. His brother Jacques Rose, and associates Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie were also sentenced. In November, Paul Rose receives an additional life term for kidnapping Laporte. He was granted full parole in 1982.

March 14

Photograph of (left to right): St. H.D. Bowyer, Csts. K. Waversveld, F.D. Larson, Supt. L.E. Rosberg, Csts. W.J. Code, L.D.C. Christensen, and L.J. Wilkinson (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly - page 6 Volume 39, No.3).

Photograph of (left to right): St. H.D. Bowyer, Csts. K. Waversveld, F.D. Larson, Supt. L.E. Rosberg, Csts. W.J. Code, L.D.C. Christensen, and L.J. Wilkinson (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly – page 6 Volume 39, No.3).

1972 – Despite the fact that a juvenile offender in Fort St. James BC was shooting at six policemen in an armed standoff. The officers succeeded in apprehending the young man without having to shoot him resulting in 39-year-old #17909 Sergeant Hugh Dickson Bowyer, and Constables #27741 Karl Waversveld 23, #27918 Fredrick Duke Larson 22, #27680 William John Code 23, #28368 Larry David Charles Christensen 22 and #29161 Lewis James Wilkinson 22 being awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1987 – Three Special Constables rushed to the scene of a fire at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport and successfully put out the blaze before the Fire Department arrived.

Special Constables D.M. Heslop, L.D. Little and K.J. Cosman rushed to the second floor of the administration building after a cleaner discovered the fire. Entering the area they attempted to fight the fire with a portable fire extinguisher but it was too small to contain the blaze. They then fought their way through the smoke and heat and attempted to use the buildings fire hose, but the valve would not open. Undaunted the trio found another fire extinguisher and finally succeeded in dousing the fire. All three members had to be treated for smoke inhalation. In recognition of their efforts, which likely save the entire building, they were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

March 15

1915 – Constables #4793 Thomas Irivine, #4436 John Goodrich & #4685 Samuel Waugh were awarded $25 each from Fine Fund to for meritorious service regarding the Donovan & McKeage cattle theft investigation in Alberta.

1931 – Warner’s Pictures release “The Rivers End” staring Charles Bickford as Sgt. Derry Conniston who plays a dual role as his twin brother John Keith who he never knew because they were separated at birth and happens to be a falsely accused murderer. Sgt. Conniston is accidentally killed, by a “frosted heart” and Keith assumes the Mountie’s identity and manages to solve the murder for which he was accused. This movie is a remake of a 1920 film and is redone for the third time in 1940 starring Dennis Morgan.

1962 – The George Medal was awarded to #18624 Constable Glen Garry Frazer. Frazer attended to a bank alarm in Terrace BC, and when he walked into bank, the robber who was in the process of fleeing from the bank shot him in leg. Fraser’s life was spared but his leg had to be amputated at the knee. Fraser continued on with his career and retired a Staff Sergeant.

1966 – The Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem was issued to #23816 Constable Ivan Comete, as a result of saving the life of a man who had been pinned under steel beam at the Dorval Airport in Montreal. Constable Comete took chare of the situation and ordered others to get car jacks to lift the beam off of the victim who had ceased breathing. As the victim was being released, Comete provided artificial respiration to the man and succeeded in saving his life.

1983 – After Mrs. Anita Lee gave birth to a baby girl in the back seat of a car in Richmond BC, Constable Judy E. Jane’ was called to the scene to assist because the baby wasn’t breathing and the member at the scene couldn’t revive the child. Constable Jane’ cleared the baby’s airway and gently massaged the child’s chest and after seven minutes of artificial respiration succeeded in reviving the child. She was awarded the Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

1989 – Honour Roll Number 187.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Della Beyak (Reg.#40153).

#40153 Cst. Della Sonya Beyak age 21 died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, near Assiniboin, Sask.

Cst. Beyak was working in the detachment office on her day off doing voluntary overtime when a massive traffic accident involving a large crane and a van occurred on Highway #2 south of the town of Assiniboia. When the police officers at the scene requested assistance, Cst. Beyak left the office and headed to the scene in a snowstorm. When she encountered a slow moving vehicle she attempted to pass it and as she edged her police car to the left in an attempt to see if the path was clear she collided head on with an oncoming vehicle. Ironically the vehicle she collided with was driven by the local Coroner who was retuning from the scene with the deceased driver of the van following close behind in an ambulance. The two cars collided and then the ambulance plowed into the back of the Coroner’s vehicle. Both the coroner and Cst. Beyak were killed instantly.

Constable Della Beyak had only been in the RCMP for less than one year and was the first female member of the Force to be entered on the Honour Roll. She was buried in the Cemetery in her hometown of Winnipegosis, Manitoba.

March 16

1940 – Honour Roll Number 64.

Photograph of RCMP Sergeant Arthur Barker.

Photograph of Sergeant Arthur Barker (Reg.#7606).

 #7606 Sergeant Arthur Julian Barker age 50 was shot and killed in the Grand Hotel at Shaunavon, Sask., by an insane man.

A former associate of Sgt. Barker, #3805 retired Sgt. Gardner Greenlay had a troubled son Victor who Barker had befriended. Greenlay was having problems with his son and asked his friend to come by the hotel to see him about Victor. After visiting with Victor and enduring the 31 year old man ramblings about hearing voices and making irrational comments about the war, Barker left the room and went downstairs to the lobby. As he was pulling on his overshoes Victor suddenly appeared with a revolver and shot him three times killing him instantly.

Victor Greenlay was tried for murder, but was found criminally insane and was committed to a mental hospital. Barker joined the RNWMP in 1919 and later left the Force to join the newly created Saskatchewan Provincial Police. When the Provincial police was absorbed by the RCMP in 1932 he returned to the Force and continued to serve in Saskatchewan.

Sergeant Barker was buried in the Force Cemetery at Depot Division, Regina.

March 17

1898 - Photograph of the cabins and tent camp of the NWMP t Stikine River. Members in the photograph are Supt. Primrose and Comp. H.J. Woodside (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division).

1898 – Photograph of the cabins and tent camp of the NWMP t Stikine River. Members in the photograph are Supt. Primrose and Comp. H.J. Woodside (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

1898 – At the peak of the gold rush the Mounted Police decided to establish a new detachment on the Stikine River at the boundary post known as Moors Landing. #O.56 Inspector Philip Carteret Hill Primrose (also see October 1, 1936) was charged with leading a party of twenty men, ten horses, 25 dogs and 80 tons (72,575 kilos) of supplies to the new posting in the Yukon Territory. The group traveled from Regina Saskatchewan on the Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver, British Columbia and then sailed to Fort Wrangle, Alaska aboard the on the S.S. “Tees”. From Fort Wrangle, they traveled on the Hudson Bay boat “Glenora” to Cottonwood Island at the mouth of the Stikine River. Then they traveled 35 miles (56 kilometers) upstream to their destination and then proceeded to construct a fort to live in. Included in his troop of twenty men were #2357 Sgt/Major William Bowdridge, Corporals #3121 Harry Cobb, #3209 Albert Price and Constables #2430 George Alleger, #3023 John Ellis, #3172 Philip Holloway, #3181William Binns, and #3204 Henry Ambrose.

1937 – Constable subdues two prisoners with a coal shovel.

#11361 Constable William Davis was escorting two prisoners by train in the smoking car from Edmonton Alberta to the Prince Albert Penitentiary. During the escort one of the prisoners obtained a bottle and struck Davis on the head with it. After stunning him the pair attacked him and struck him repeatedly with the bottle and then stole his revolver from his holster and tried to shoot through their leg irons. Despite being severely stunned with the bottle Constable Davis rallied and grabbing a coal shovel smacked the prisoners with it and retrieved his revolver. Having succeeded in gaining control his assailants he continued on with the escort and delivered both of his charges to the penitentiary.

1978 – The RCMP charge Toronto Sun newspaper editor Peter Worthington and publisher Donald Creighton with violating Official Secrets Act after they published information from a secret report on Soviet espionage activities in Canada.

1982 – #29673 Corporal P.J. MacQueen was driving in downtown Kitchener when he noticed a suspicious looking man outside the Mayfair Hotel. MacQueen’s street sense kicked in and he decided to get another look at the man so he circled the block. Upon his return to the scene he found the man in a struggle with Kitchener-Waterloo policeman and was on top of the policeman attempting to grab his revolver. MacQueen jumped out of his car and entered the fray just in time to grab the gun from the assailant and subdue him. In appreciation of his actions the Kitchener-Waterloo Police awarded him a Citation for saving the life of one of their members.

March 18

Photograph of NWMP Inspector Leif Crozier (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of NWMP Inspector Leif Crozier (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1885 – Five days after #O.10 Superintendent Lief Newry Fitzroy Crozier sent a message to his superiors warning that a rebellion was about to occur, Louis Riel held a mass meeting of Metis and native Indians at Batoche and formed a provisional government. Riel declared that the Mounted Police would be wiped out of existence within one week. The second North West Rebellion had begun.

1914 – #5333 Constable Robert Russell was given free discharge to rejoin the Imperial Army as a Reservist. Most members of the Mounted Police who left the force to serve in World War 1 had to purchase out of the Force and had to pay $5 for every month they had left in their contract. At the end of the war, those men who survived were refunded their purchase.

1990 – After recommendations by Canadian Bankers Association, the Canadian Government passed a law requiring financial institutions to keep records of large cash transactions making it more difficult for criminals to launder money. This new law greatly enhances the ability of RCMP commercial crime section to combat organized crime.