Larry Burden – This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP trade badges (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 4

Photograph of the Vimy Ridge memorial to Canadians killed in World War I (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of the Vimy Ridge memorial to Canadians killed in World War I (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

Britain declares war on Germany and draws Canada into World War I.  By the end of the war,  Canada sustained 66,990 deaths and 149,732 wounded.

August 5

1934 – #9072 Sergeant J. D. O’Connell won the coveted “Prince of Wales Silver Cup” at the New Brunswick Rifle Association Meet in Sussex. The cup had been awarded to the best rifle shot in New Brunswick since 1861. Shooters were required to fire seven shots at the 600 yards, seven at 200 yards and ten shots at 900 yards.


Photograph of the grave marker for Corporal Albin R. Nelson (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

1958 – #14064 Cpl. Albin R. Nelson of Blaine Lake Sask. saved the life of a four-year-old boy, Stephen Wawryk after he found the boy unconscious and not breathing. The child lost consciousness and stopped breathing after he consumed a quantity of “home brew” that he had found. Cpl. Nelson revived the boy after he performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and was later awarded the St John’s Ambulance Meritorious Certificate award.

1960 – Canada’s 9th Prime Minister (1920-21 and 1926), Senator Arthur Meighen dies in Toronto at the age of 86. He was the first Prime Minister born after Confederation.

1984 – #32202 Constable James Baker earned a Commanding Officers Commendation after he and three members of the public, E. Redekop, D. Redekop and W. Boulanger, rescued six people after they were thrown from their boat during a storm on Little Shuswap Lake, near Chase, BC .

1986 – Medal of Bravery – Arthur Ross Lewis MB

Upon arriving at the scene of a house fire in Big River, Saskatchewan, #28114 Constable Arthur Ross Lewis was advised by a neighbor that an elderly man was inside the burning shed. While the neighbor sprayed the shed with a garden hose, Constable Lewis wrapped a wet towel around his face and entered the building in an attempt to locate the victim. Shortly thereafter he was forced from the blaze by the intense heat and thick smoke. By then Ross and Chad Dunn had arrived on scene, and with Ross Dunn leading, he and Constable Dunn re-entered the building but again were forced to retreat. Joined by Chad Dunn the trio holding hands re-entered the blaze and found the severely burned unconscious man in a rear corner of the building.

Once they had removed the victim, Cst. Lewis applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and continued to do so while he and the victim were transported to hospital. Unfortunately 85-year-old Alonzo Gallant.

On June 10, 1988 Constable Arthur Ross Lewis was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

August 6

1958 – Honour Roll Numbers 97, 98, 99.

1946 - Photograph of Staff Sergeant Stanley Rothwell standing on the right (Source of photo - RCMP Gravesite database).

1946 – Photograph of Staff Sergeant Stanley Rothwell standing on the right (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

Three members #10880 S/Sgt. Stanley Samuel Rothwell age 49, #14740 Cst. Richard William Green age 35 and #10410 S/Cst. Joseph Edouard Cormier age 39 were killed on duty in an airplane crash, along the East Shore of Skaha Lake, BC.

The Vancouver Air Section DeHavilland Beaver float plane CF-FHW piloted by Staff Sgt. Stanley Rothwell arrived in Penticton to assist in the manhunt for an American fugitive and murder suspect, who had shot Cpl. George Brown of the Summerland BC Detachment (see August 4). The pilot along with Engineer S/Cst Joseph Cormier and local detachment member Cst. Richard W. Green a spotter with local knowledge set out from Skaha Lake and spent most of the day looking for the fugitive. At approximately 13:40 pm, the low flying aircraft crashed into a hillside orchard nearly five miles north of Okanagan Falls. The cause of the crash was never determined but it was believed the plane stalled due to a sudden down-draft. All three members were killed on impact and the subsequent crash ignited a forest fire that eventually covered 80 acres of land. This tragedy was further compounded when the original witness who reported seeing the suspect in the area, admitted to police that he had made a false report of the sighting “just to see some excitement”.

All three men were Second World War veterans, Rothwell and Cormier had served in the RCAF and Green in the Royal Canadian Navy.

S/Sgt. Stanley Rothwell a native of Arden Manitoba was survived by his wife, Helen and their son. He was buried in Valleyview Memorial Gardens in Newton BC.

The remains of S/Cst. Joseph Cormier a native of Moncton NB were returned to his mother and he was interred in Notre Dame du Calvair cemetery in Charterville, NB.

Cst. Richard Green was from Rencontre West; Newfoundland and was survived by his wife Shirley and their two children. He was buried in the Municipal Cemetery in Chemainus BC.

This was the RCMP Air Dvision’s first ever-fatal air crash using Force owned planes since its inception in 1937.

1966 – The British Empire Medal for Gallantry and The Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery were awarded to #22807 Constable Joseph Emile Gilles Potvin age 25, for rescuing three people from a submerged aircraft.

2014-08-06_12-25-33Constable Potvin was competing in the 12th International Swim Meet at Lake St.John Quebec on this day. After swimming for three hours he had to withdraw from the competition for medical reasons and was talking with his wife at the finish line near Roberval, when he was advised that a small aircraft had crashed into the lake nearby. He rushed to the scene in a boat operated by Marcel Guay of St. Felicien and observed the tail section sticking out of the water and a large gas slick had spread across the surface. Constable Potvin then dove in, and swam underwater to the wreckage. Though he could not see he managed to find the door to the cockpit and wrenched it open freeing two occupants, Gilbert Gaudreault and Marthe Trudel. He then swam inside the plane and found the lifeless body of Colombe Lamontange and pulled her free and swam her body to the boat. The unconscious victim had two broken legs and was bleeding from her mouth, so Potvin used the Shaffer method of artificial respiration and after five minutes succeeded in reviving her.

1967 – While boating on the St. Lawrence River near Charlottenburg Park Ontario non-swimmer Hector Menasce stood up in a paddleboat to take a photograph and he and his wife Lucie fell overboard. After a short struggle he slipped below the surface of and descended in 18 feet of water.

32-year-old J. Donald Sauve happened to hear the cries for help from shore and rushed to the scene and dove in the water and retrieved Menasce’s body. Long Sault detachment members #19175 Corporal Lorne D. Poulin and #24023 / O.1310 Wayne Wawryk were patrolling nearby and observed several boats gathered together 100 yards from shore. When they investigated they found the lifeless body of Menasce on the bow of a boat. Corporal Poulin then used a pocketknife to pry open the victims mouth so that Constable Wawryk could insert a plastic rescusitube and begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After a couple of minutes the victim was revived and transported to hospital.

As result of their efforts in saving the life of Hector Menasce the Royal Canadian Humane Society awarded a parchment certificate of bravery to Mr. Sauve and certificates of Merit to the two policemen.

1976 – At approximately 9:30 p.m. #23861 Staff Sergeant Lynn F. Kendel, #21786 Corporal John Matthews, and #29434 Constable G.R. Pritchard responded to what they thought was a routine domestic dispute in Inuvik NWT.

Upon arrival they found themselves embroiled in a barricade situation with an armed man who was holding his children hostage and was repeatedly shooting at them with a rifle. The standoff lasted for several hours and all attempts to reason with the gunman failed. The event was brought to a conclusion when one of the hostages managed to open a door to the house enabling S/Sgt. Kendel and Cst. Pritchard to enter the residence unnoticed. While Cpl. Matthews kept the gunman distracted the two policemen rushed in and disarmed him. All three officers received the Commanding Officers Commendation for their courage in apprehending the gunman without anyone being harmed.

1990 – While on routine patrol in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT #37077 Constable Thomas H. Roy, witnessed an intoxicated woman attempting to slash people with a knife. When he intervened, the woman turned the knife on him. After a brief altercation he succeeded in subduing her. For his bravery and composure he was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.

August 7

1903 – As a result of concerns from the Canadian Government over possible American territorial ambitions in the arctic The North West Mounted Police (NWMP) establish a detachment at Herschel Island Northwest Territory. For several years American whalers had used the location as a winter base so they didn’t have to make the long journey back to American waters. The new detachment staffed by #2218 / O.156 Sgt. Francis Fitzgerald (see December 21, 1910) and Constable F.D. Sutherland was nothing more than sod huts was which they had to live in until a detachment building could be constructed.

 1920 – Honour Roll Number 43.

#6096 Cpl. Ernest Usher, age 25 was killed in a shootout with two train robbers in a restaurant in Bellevue Alberta.

Three Russian men held up the Canadian Pacific Railways train number 63, on August 2, 1920. The trio jumped off the train and fled into the bush near Sentinel Alberta and a manhunt ensued shortly thereafter. It didn’t take authorities very long to identify the culprits as George Akoff, Alex Auloff and Tom Basoff who had come to Lethbridge from Great Falls Montana. When the trio was spotted in Coleman Alberta the combined force of Alberta Provincial Police, RCMP and deputized civilians closed in. On Saturday August 17th, the local Justice of the Peace, Joseph Robertson spotted two of the fugitives in the mining town of Bellevue. After grabbing his pistol and heading for the police office he encountered Cpl. Usher and Provincial Police Constables Frewin and Bailey. The three officers then confronted the men in a local restaurant and a shoot-out erupted when George Akoff pulled a Lugar pistol out of his coat.

Corporal Usher and Constable Frederick Bailey and were shot as they backed out of the restaurant by Akoff even though Constable Frewin had emptied his revolver into him. Tom Basoff then came out of the restaurant armed with two hand guns and shot Cst. Bailey in the head at point blank range and fired several shots into Cpl. Usher until he was dead. He then put a bullet into his partner’s head to put him out of his misery and fled as the Justice of the Peace fired at him from behind a telephone pole.

Basoff’s escape was short lived and when Canadian Pacific Railway Police detectives arrested without incident four days later near Pincer Creek. He was tried and convicted for murder and hanged on December 22, 1924 in Lethbridge.

Alex Auloff was arrested in1924 and extradited back to Canada from Butte Montana and was sentenced to seven years in prison but died in April 1926.

 Both policemen were buried in a joint military funeral at the Protestant cemetery in MacLeod Alberta. Corporal Ernest Usher joined the RNWMP on September 14, 1914. He was single and his closest family was his sister Maud, who lived in London England.

 1943 – During WW2, many prisoners of war (POW) camps were established across Canada. Among them, Camp 132 at Medicine Hat and another at Lethbridge, Alberta. All POW camps had a hierarchy within them and the camps in Canada were no exception only it was the Nazis within the camps ruled the German prisoners and dished out their own punishments on those who did not conform. On this day August Plaszek was murdered by a mob of fellow prisoners because he was believed to be disloyal to the Nazi cause. Before the war Plaszek had served in the French Foreign Legion and like all Legionnaires who returned to Germany in the 1930’s he was subjected to Nazi ideology and then forced into the German army. Because he was an ex-Legionnaire Plaszek was assigned to Erwin Rommels 361st African Regiment, which was nearly wiped out at Torbuk in 1943, resulting in his captured by the British.

Within the pecking order of the POW camps the Nazis despised the Legionnaires because they felt they didn’t fight hard enough for the Fatherland. In addition they were suspected of being the leaders of the communist sympathizers. The camp lead believed that the ex-legionnaires group was planning to overthrow of the camp leadership so they decided to interrogate four of them. After one of the men was interrogated he made a dash to the warning wire and was taken into custody by camp officials. Having escaped a mob of nearly 600 POW’s the angry men forced their way int the interrogation room and dragged August Plaszek out and took him to the recreation hall where they severely beat him and then hanged him.

 Because he was fluent in German, #8281 Sgt. George Krause was transferred from Stony Plain Detachment to work in the Intelligence section and assigned to the case. His 26 month investigation resulted in the two Nazi ringleaders; Werner Schwalb and Adolf Kratz being tried and convicted of murder. Kratz avoided the hangman’s noose by having his sentence commuted but Werner Schwalb was hanged for his role in the crime. When asked if he had any last words, Schwalb said, “Mine Furher I follow thee.” He was hanged on June 26, 1946 at Provincial Gaol, in Lethbridge, Alberta.

 His skills in investigating POW murders were call upon again in 1945 (see December 18, 1946) when POW Dr Karl Lehmann was murdered by hanging in Camp 132.

George KRAUSE served in the Force from 1919 – 1954 and died in 1989.  CBC produced a historical clip on this incident.  Check it out here.

1948 – Honour Roll Number 106.


Photograph of the grave marker for# 14890 2/Cst. James Boyd Henderson (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database)

#14890 2/Cst. James Boyd Henderson drowned in the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque Ont.

Twenty-three year old Constable James Boyd Henderson joined the RCMP on May 1, 1947 and was quickly transferred to Marine Division. He was assigned to the 50’ Patrol Vessel “Carnduff” in Kingston Ontario patrolling the St Lawrence River under command of #12866/ O.472 Corporal Kenneth Creaser. While returning from a regatta at Gananoque Ontario, Cst. Henderson’s career and life were suddenly cut short. As the boat neared Howe Island under full throttle and in calm sea conditions, Cst. Henderson went aft to dump some garbage from a pail. A couple of minutes later the skipper, Cpl. Creaser looked back from the wheel and realized that the pail was on the deck but Cst. Henderson was missing. He immediately turned the vessel and retraced its route to where he found the floating garbage and searched the area for several hours until dark. The area was searched for several days to no avail, ten days later his body was found on the banks of the St. Lawrence.

Cst. Henderson’s body was returned to his parents in Oshawa Ontario where he was buried in the Union Cemetery. The cause of his death was never determined, but he is believed to have lost his balance and fallen overboard possibly striking his head on a boom at the stern of the vessel.

August 8

1941 – As a result of Japan’s involvement in the second world war Federal Minister Ian Mackenzie declares that because it is a national security matter under the War Measures Act he orders the RCMP to begin registering all Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. At a later date all of them are moved inland to detention camps.

 1958 – #16087/O.610 Corporal Hugh Feagan was awarded the St John Meritorious Certificate after he saved the life of Earl Carl in Kamloops BC. Cpl. Feagan rushed into a smoke filled service station where he located the body of the unconscious man and dragged him from the burning building and then performed artificial respiration until the fire department arrived on scene.