Larry Burden – This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of James Walsh - NWMP




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

May 1

1932 – On this day the RCMP absorbs the Prince Edward Island Provincial Police Force. #4870 / O.246 James Fripps becomes the first commanding officer of the newly created “L” Division.

1941 – Honour Roll Number 68.

Photograph of Constable Charles James Johnstone (Reg.#10063).

#10063 Constable Charles James Johnstone age 38 was lost at sea on the only troopship to lose Canadian troops en route to England during WW2.
The 5000-ton SS Nerissa had crossed the North Atlantic alone and was approximately 35 miles off the coast of Scotland when at 00.27 hours she was hit by the first of three torpedoes fired from the German submarine U-552 commanded by Erich Topp. Constable Johnstone was last seen on the deck of the ship at one of the lifeboat stations but never made it off the ship alive. The ship sank within four minutes of the first attack, taking all but 84 of the ship’s complement of 290 souls to the bottom. The survivors spent 8 ½ hours in lifeboat and were later rescued by the HMS Veteran and later transferred to the HMS Kingcup.
Among the passengers were six other members of the R.C.M.P. Provost Company en route to England as reinforcements to the Provost Corps. They included Acting Corporal #9512 Lewis Archer Denton and Constable #12797 John Hugh Francis Mara both of whom sustained leg injuries. Constables #12502 Raymond Victor Currie and #13298 Alfred R. Nicholas had to be treated for exposure while Constables #13015 G.F. Keeland and #13760 John E. MacPhee were unharmed.

Constable Charlie Johnstone had served in the RCMP for 13 years in Ottawa before he was accepted into the reinforcement draft, his wife Helene survived him.

1947 – #11358 / O.396 Staff Sergeant Cecil Herbert Bayfield is awarded a Commissioners Commendation for “selfless devotion to duty and outstanding work” for his role in an espionage investigation.

1951 – Leonard Hanson Nicholson, M.B.E. becomes the ninth permanent Commissioner and serves until March 31, 1959.

1972 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules that compulsory breath tests do not constitute a breach of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

May 2

1670 – The Hudson’s Bay Company comes into existence when King Charles II of England grants a Royal charter for his cousin Prince Rupert and a group of investors called “The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson’s Bay”

The charter gives the company the exclusive rights of commerce on all lands flowing into Hudson Bay, and charges them to find a route to the South Seas belt. For 200 years the Hudson Bay Company has a virtual monopoly on all trade in “Rupert’s Land” which covers an area of 3.9 million square kilometers (1.5 million sq mi).

The land controlled by the Hudson Bay Company was expanded even further when it merged the North West Company of Montreal in 1821, and the combined territory was extended by a license to include lands comprising the watershed of the Arctic Ocean on the north and to the Pacific Ocean on the west.

The British and Canadian governments had been concerned about American expansionism for some time and therefore had been negotiating the transfer of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to Canada. In 1868 the Rupert’s Land Act was passed authorizing the transfer, and purchase by Canada in but the Red River Rebellion in Manitoba delayed the matter until 1870.

On May 7, 1870 the Hudson Bay Company formally sold most of Rupert’s Land to Canada for £300,000. The Company kept over 2.8 million hectares of land around their numerous trading posts and Canada assumes control of what is now much of the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, northern Ontario, northwestern Quebec and portions of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The new land is renamed as the Northwest Territories.

1885 – Honour Roll Numbers10, 11 and 12.

1885 - Battle of Cut Knife Hill (Illustration from the Canadian Illustrated News)

1885 – Battle of Cut Knife Hill (Illustration from the Canadian Illustrated News)

#565 Cpl. Ralph Bateman Sleigh age 27, #907 Corporal William Hay Talbot Lowry age 28 and #402 Constable Patrick Burke age 33 died as a result of the battle between the Government forces and Indians at Cut Knife Hill, N.W.T.

On May 1, 1885 during the Northwest Rebellion Colonel William Dillon Otter led 319 men including 74 members of the NWMP contingent commanded by #O.37 William Herchmer the brother of the Commissioner to Cut Knife Hill, 38 miles from Battleford.

In the six-hour fight with Cree and Stoney Indians led by Chief Poundmaker, surrounded Otter’s forces and soundly routed them. As a result three members of the NWMP were and five members of the militia were killed. Constable Sleigh was killed in action after being shot in the mouth and #36 Sergeant John Ward was wounded but survived. Constable Burke and Corporal Lowry were mortally wounded and died the following day. #762 Constable Richard Routledge was cited for his bravery in battle.

All of the dead were buried at Battleford on May 4th. Cpl. Ralph Bateman Sleigh a native of Matlock England had no relatives in Canada and his North West Canada Medal was never claimed. It is now on display in the RCMP Museum in Regina. Corporal William Lowry and Constable Paddy Burke had both come from Ireland to join the Mounted Police. All five of Burke’s sons later joined the Mounted police and his daughter married a Mountie.

May 3

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division with the names of Constables

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the names of Corporal William Lowry and Constable Patrick Burke (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1885 – #907 Corporal William Hay Talbot Lowry age 28 and #402 Constable Patrick Burke age 33 died as a result of the battle between the Government forces and Indians at Cut Knife Hill, N.W.T. (See May 2nd)

1936 – Ambassador Pictures release “Phantom Patrol” starring Kermit Maynard as RCMP Sgt. Jim McGregor Phantom Patrol in another chapter in the adventures of our Mountie hero. In this escapade the wanted criminal ‘Dapper’ Dan Geary notices the striking resemblance between himself and noted author Steven Norris, so he kidnaps him and hides out in the writers home. Having nothing better to do he decides to try his hand at writing. Things are going well for our fugitive until his stenographer reads some of his latest writing to the good Sergeant. The Mountie becomes suspicious and the jig is up for Dapper Dan.

1983 – Former Commissioner Malcolm F.A. Lindsay LL.B dies. He joined the RCMP in 1927 and rose through the ranks to become the Commissioner on August 15, 1967. Commissioner Lindsay retired on September 30, 1969 after nearly 35 years of service.

1984 – Constable #36305 Paul A. Marsh earned a Commanding Officers Commendation and the Maritime Association of Police award “The Police Officer of The Year” for disarming and arresting an armed and violent man at Burnt Church Reserve in New Brunswick.

1984 – The Royal Canadian Humane Society Certificate of Merit was awarded to #35061 Harvey. C. Stiles. Upon arrival at the scene of a drowning in Pictou County, NS, he found a two-year-old boy not breathing. Constable Stiles performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation on the child and succeeded in reviving the child.

 2008 – On May 3, 2008, Corporal Daniel Melanson was dispatched to a report of an overturned canoe containing two men in the Bay of Chaleur at Belledune, New Brunswick.

When he arrived on the scene he learned that one man had managed to swim to safety, but the second was still in the frigid water approximately 30 metres from shore near the canoe. Cpl. Melanson removed some of his clothing and equipment and swam to the victim grabbed him and pulled him back to shore. The man was then treated by paramedics who in turn rushed him to the hospital. On October 12, 2012, Cpl. Melanson was awarded the Medal of Bravery at a ceremony in Ottawa for his actions in saving the man from perishing.

May 4

1910 – 34 year old Sergeant #4330 John (Jock) Darling and Constables #4829 / O.300 Robert Cranford Bowen, 27 and #4230 Armand St. Laurent, 21 began their 1700-mile patrol from Athabasca Landing in Alberta to Whitehorse Yukon. The purpose of the trip was to clear the trail constructed fives years earlier by Superintendent Charles Constantine.

1910 – Parliament votes to create a Royal Canadian Navy. In 1939 during WW2 the RCMP transfers the Marine Section vessels and 155 officers and men to the Royal Canadian Navy.

1984 – Honour Roll Number 174.

#26574 Constable Robert Charles Anderson age 37 was killed in a police motor vehicle accident, at Kamloops, B.C.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Robert Charles Anderson (Reg.#26574) (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly Volume 49).

The Kamloops, BC, RCMP had received a tip that two local criminals; Guy Craig and Ken Bradley were going to rob a jewelry store somewhere in the city. After the robbery the getaway car was spotted by #30582 Constable Warren T. Forsythe and a high pursuit ensued. A police aircraft flying above was monitoring the chase and the pilot was reporting the direction of travel, which in turn was being relayed to the police cars area. When the suspects turned into Batchelor Heights, #26574 Constable Anderson driving his car with his partner #23965 Corporal Albert “Bert” Malfair was advised to head to Westsyde Road, but the suspects changed direction and Anderson was then told to turn around and head in another direction. When he attempted to make a u-turn he was broadsided by another police car driven by #36545 Constable Stephen Wile. Constable Anderson was killed and Constable Wile and Corporal Malfair were severely injured.

Meanwhile the chase continued and finally came to an end after Constable Forsythe shot six rounds into the fleeing car, and then rammed the suspect’s vehicle. After the culprits were arrested, police recovered $20,000 in jewelry and a shotgun.

Robert Charles Anderson had been in the RCMP for 16 years. He was married and had two young children. He lies buried at the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Vernon British Columbia.

1992 – Residents of the Northwest Territories vote to divide the existing territory into two separate sections creating Canada’s new Inuit territory, Nunavut. The new territory comes into existence on April 1, 1999 and encompasses an area five times the size of Alberta with a population of roughly 34,000 people. The entire Territory continues to be policed by the RCMP.

May 5

1971 – Twenty-three year old #27015 Constable Robert Charles Johannson arrived at the scene of a motor vehicle accident in Kitimat BC and found Joseph Rinsma unconscious and not breathing. He immediately began mouth-to–mouth resuscitation and succeeded in reviving the injured man. In recognition of his quick action in saving a life he was awarded the M.G. Griffiths Award from the Royal Life Saving Society of Canada and the Medal of Merit along with an honorary membership in the Kitimat Lions Club.

DID YOU KNOW the RCMP has its own tartan?

To help celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the RCMP in 1997 a decision was made to design and official tartan. A volunteer tartan committee was created and submissions were invited for an appropriate tartan design from across Canada. Ultimately the design submitted by Mrs. Violet Holmes of Burnaby, British Columbia, was chosen and Burnett’s and Struth Scottish Regalia Ltd. of Barrie, Ontario and Lochcarron of Scotland woollen mills were commissioned to produce the tartan. After Commissioner Philip Murray approved the design, the tartan was officially registered with the Scottish Tartans Society in Pitlochry, Scotland, and was formally presented to the Force by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne during her visit to Atlantic Canada in June,1998.

The colours of the Tartan are taken from the Force’s uniform and badge and are symbolic of:

– Dark blue is the colour of the traditional breeches worn by Members and is also evocative of the shabrack (or saddle blanket) used by the Musical Ride

– Scarlet is for the Red Serge tunic

– Yellow represents the cavalry stripes on the breeches of the ceremonial uniform, the band on the hat and crown, as well as the gilt letters on the badge

– Sienna Brown evokes the bison at the centre piece of the badge and symbolizes Canada’s expansive western plains and the heartland of the RCMP

– Forest Green epitomizes the maple leaf, a distinctly Canadian symbol

– White is reminiscent of the lanyard of the ceremonial uniform, it also evokes the link between the Force and Canada’s First Nation Peoples for whom white has special spiritual significance, symbolizing strength and endurance-traits embodied by the RCMP legacy

– Sky blue elicits both the background of the badge as well as the beret worn by Members when acting as United Nations Peacekeepers.

May 6

1877 – After defeating General George Custer and the United States 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads 1,500 of his followers into Canada to ask protection from the Queen. The Canadian government did not want or need the Sioux settling in Canada for they feared it would lead to conflict with the local natives and endanger relations with the United States.

Photograph of NWMP Superintendent James Morrow Walsh (Source of photo - Library Archives of Canada).

Photograph of NWMP Superintendent James Morrow Walsh (Source of photo – Library Archives of Canada).

Superintendent James Morrow Walsh, who on behalf of the Canadian Government, met sitting Bull at Pinto Horse Butte after he went into the encampment of 5000 warriors with only six men and advised him that the Sioux must obey the law and that they must not raid the United States. Chief Sitting Bull responded, the he had “buried his weapons on the American side” and that he would do no wrong in the country of the White Mother. While he was meeting with Sitting Bull Superintendent Walsh decided to impress upon the Sioux that he met business when it came to enforcing the law. His men had recognized a South Assinoboine warrior named White Dog was riding a stolen horse, so Walsh promptly went over to the warrior and in front of everyone arrested him and seized the horse. Expecting the natives to assist him, White Dog called for assistance, but discovered that none was coming.
James Morrow Walsh had great admiration for the natives and encouraged them to stay. This made the Sioux happy but infuriated Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald who subsequently removed him from his post and ordered him to have no further dealings with Sitting Bull.

In 1883 this noble officer resigned from the Mounted Police in protest over the government’s treatment of the Sioux. His career did not end though; in 1897 he was made the first commissioner of the Yukon District and was reinstated as a superintendent in the NWMP and given command of the NWMP in the Yukon.

In 2000 author Ian Anderson published “Sitting Bull’s Boss” and told the story of these two fascinating men.

1910 – King Edward VII dies King George V ascends to the throne.

1979 – Commanding Officers Commendation awarded to #34696 Rob Diack and Auxiliary Constable Wolfe when they responded to a complaint of a man who had taken shotgun and a knife and was threatening to commit suicide. The man was pointing the weapon at members and when A/Constable Wolfe distracted him Constable Diack jumped him and succeeded in subduing the suspect. (DIACK now Sgt ‘E’)

1992 – Commendations issued to #33259 D.R. McInnis and #40814 Constable T.W. Peter after they entered the basement of a burning building in Rapid City, Manitoba to rescue hostage while they were confronted by armed intoxicated suspect.

May 8

1933 – Honour Roll Number 54.

Photograph of RCMP Inspector Sampson

Photograph of RCMP Inspector Lorne James Sampson (Reg.#O.281).

#O.281 Inspector Lorne James Sampson age 38, died from injuries he received during the Saskatoon Riot.

Inspector Sampson was leading a squad of men who were trying to control a mob of unemployed protestors in the Saskatoon riot. The unruly mob began throwing rocks and debris at the police, striking Inspector Sampson in the head. He fell backwards and his horse bolted but his foot was caught in a stirrup. In an attempt to assist him, Constables #10140 Neville Cleary and #11745 Frank Spalding tried to box in Sampson’s horse to get it to stop. As the panicked horse ran between rows of posts, Inspector Sampson’s unconscious body swung in an arc and his head hit a post with such force, that stirrup strap broke and he was killed.

Born at Marksville Ontario, Sampson joined the RNWMP in September 1914. One year later he took a discharge to enlist for service overseas during WW1. He served as a Corporal with the 119th Battalion in England and was transferred to the 58th Battalion in France.

He rejoined the RNWMP in 1919 and was promoted to Sergeant the same year and was transferred to Vancouver where he served until 1932. He returned to Regina and was promoted to Sergeant Major in 1932 and was promoted to Inspector on April 22, 1932, just one month before he was killed on duty.

1943 – #16167 John J. Hogan, KPM earned the Kings Police and Fire Medal while serving with the Newfoundland Rangers.

1999 – Commendations were awarded to #36577 Constable Ed Lazurko and a civilian Mr. Sam, for rescuing a suicidal man who was going to commit man trying to jump off a 100-foot high Canadian National Railway bridge at Lytton, BC. Constable Lazurko grabbed the man and was suspending him in mid-air when he was assisted pulling the man back onto the bridge platform.

1999 – #44633 Constable Paul Harvey Zechel and Auxiliary Constable Orsted received commendations as a result of conducting a vehicle check on Bear First Nation, Saskatchewan. When they checked one of the occupants of the vehicle they discovered that there was a warrant for his arrest. The man then brandished a knife, and then retreated into a slough and threatened to commit suicide. Constable Zechel was able to talk the man into dropping the knife and then arrested him.