Larry Burden’s This Day In The Force





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

February 28

1916 – As a result of their “very good service” in the investigation of a cattle rustling case near Calgary Alberta Staff Sergeants #3120 Joseph Dubuque and #4436 John Goodrich were awarded $25.00 from the Fine Fund. In those days, a $25 bonus was considered a considerable sum.

1979 – Meritorious Certificates from The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem were awarded to #19586 Staff Sergeant Tom K. Vickers and #23388 Corporal Gordon A. Smith for rendering of first aid to #25363 Corporal Larry R. Bennett who was seriously injured in police car accident at Grand Harbour, New Brunswick.

2004 – Honour Roll Number 203.

Photograph of

Photograph of Corporal James Wilbert Greyson Galloway (Reg.#27332).

#27332 Dog Handler Cpl. James Wilbert Gregson Galloway, age 53 was shot and killed, while assisting the Edmonton Emergency Response Team, in Spruce Grove, Alberta.

Around noon the Spruce Grove Detachment received a complaint of a car being riddled with bullets from a nearby house. When the police arrived at the scene a woman ran out of the house and told the officers that her husband was armed with a rifle. The Edmonton Emergency Response Team was called and soon the house was surrounded. One of ERT members who arrived at the scene was Cpl. Jim Galloway. The members settled in for what was expected to be a lengthy period of negotiations when suddenly suspect, Martin Ostopovich, suddenly rushed out of the house, and fired a shot fatally wounding Cpl. Gregeson. The ERT members immediately returned fire and killed the gunman.

February 29

1892 – A disability pension was issued to #s 451, 93 and 1259 Constable George B. Mills as a result of injuries he received to his head when his horse threw him while on a patrol from Regina to Wood Mountain. The Order in Council granted him a pension of 30¢ a day, to be reviewed annually. As a result of the head injury he received, Constable Mills gradually lost his vision. George Mills had three regimental numbers because he was given #451when he first engaged in the NWMP in 1876, and then was issued #93 when the Force created a new numbering system in 1878. Mills left the Force for a couple of years and when he re-engaged in 1885 he was issued #1259. He was invalided out of the Force in 1891 and never recovered from his injuries. He died in 1921.

March 1

Photograph of an Alberta Provincial Police cap badge.

1917 – The Alberta Government decides to replace the RNWMP as their provincial police and create the Alberta Provincial Police Force, which lasts until 1928 when it is dissolved due to the economic effects of the Great Depression and provincial policing is resumed by the RCMP.

1918 – For his role in the investigation and arrest of a suspect in a theft of mail case in Edmonton Alberta, #5379 Constable Arthur Moss was awarded $25 for meritorious service from the Fine Fund

1923 – Members of Parliament defeat a vote to disband the RCMP.

1966 – As a result of solving one of Canada’s highest profile cases three men receive the RCMP’s highest honour, the Commissioners Commendations.

A daring robbery at the Winnipeg airport netted five criminals several gold bars. #14863 Robert Morley, #17296 Thomas Gardiner and #17625 Allen Richards foiled their plans of getting rich when they arrested all five suspects and recovered the gold.

1977 – Too often police officers find themselves alone in dangerous situations having fight for their lives.

This was the case for Constable #28949 J. M. Crawford when fate brought him to a confrontation with armed and violent mentally deranged man at Oxford Nova Scotia. Fortunately for the lone Constable, Mr. Glen Ronald Dykens came to his assistance and they were able to disarm and subdue the suspect. In recognition of his courage and support of a policeman in need of assistance Mr. Dykens was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation and Constable Crawford received a formal Letter of Appreciation.

March 2

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division in Regina. Red circle denotes the name of J. Her

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina. Red circle denotes the name of J. Herron. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1891 – Honour Roll Number 18.

#913 Cst. James Herron age 29 died during a blizzard near St. Mary’s River, while on patrol. The native of Ireland had lost his way due to snow blindness and is believed to have shot himself after freezing his nose, wrists and fingers. He was buried in the Union Cemetery at MacLeod Alberta.

1989 – #39329 Constable B.W. Smith of Surrey, BC, earned a Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery as a result of arresting an armed robbery suspect who was thought to have been armed with handgun and a bomb.

March 3

1962 – Two 14-year-old boys driving stolen car fled a service station without paying for gasoline. When the police caught up to them one of the boys began shooting at the police car and seriously wounded Constable #21465 Anthony Terrance Cooper who was in the passenger seat of the pursuit car. He was rushed to hospital at Moosomin, Saskatchewan and received five blood transfusions and fortunately survived and continued with his career, retiring in1986 as a Staff Sergeant.

1967 – Brothers match a stolen car to its thief. It is not uncommon for brother to serve in the Mounted Police at the same time but seldom are they involved in the same case. On this day #19695 Cpl. Robert Fairhurst a Forensic Identification specialist attended to the detachment in Williams Lake, B.C. to examine a stolen car for evidence. The car had been recovered by his older brother, #18343 Ronald Fairhurst. When the vehicle was examined Robert found a match stub in the car which he successfully matched it to the match folder that his brother had seized from the suspect’s pocket!

1971 – At a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II invests Commissioner Nicholson as Bailiff Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. This was only the second time a Canadian citizen was accorded this honour.

2005 – Honour Roll Numbers 206, 207, 208 & 209.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph in Regina with the ghost images of past members (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph in Regina with the ghost images of past members (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

Constables #49673 Constable Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon age 28, #48568, Lionide (Leo) Nicholas Johnston age 32, #51874 Brock Warren Myrol 29 and #48064 Peter Christopher Schiemann age 25 were murdered while guarding the scene of a chop shop, on a farm near Mayerthorpe, Alberta.

This was one of the greatest tragedies and loss to gunfire in the history of the RCMP resulting in the deaths of four members. Constables Peter Schiemann and Leo Johnston were the veterans of this squad of men and they only had three years service as compared to Anthony Gordon who had two and Brock Myrol who had only graduated from the police academy two weeks previously. This tragedy began on the afternoon of March 2nd when two bailiffs went out to the farm belonging to James Roszko to execute a civil order to seize a Ford truck.

Photograph of James

Photograph of James Roszko.

Roszko’s reputation for being short tempered and violent was well known in the area so the bailiffs contacted the Mayerthorpe Detachment and asked for a member to attend to the farm to “keep the peace” while they seized the truck. When the bailiffs arrived at the property around 3:00 p.m. they found the main gate locked and saw a man they believed to be Roszko moving about the property. After calling out his name the bailiffs were confronted by two aggressive Rottweiler’s, that rushed to the gate. While they waited for the police to arrive, they watched Roszko gave them the finger get into his pickup truck and sped away from the scene.

When #37858 Corporal James Martin, along with three other members from Mayerthorpe Detachment, arrived at the property they went in with the bailiffs. After pepper spraying the dogs and forcing them into a shed they accompanied the bailiffs who proceeded to search the property for the vehicle they had come to repossess. When the men enter a large Quonset building they discover an automotive chop shop and marijuana grow op. The scene was then secured so a criminal search warrant could be obtained and additional members were called in from Mayerthorpe and the neighboring Whitecourt detachment to secure the scene. While the search warrants applications were prepared the Edmonton Auto Theft Unit was notified.

At 8:40 p.m. the search warrants arrived and the criminal search of the property began. After being briefed on the situation, the Mayerthorpe Detachment Commander #39934 Sgt. Pinder arrived at the scene at10 p.m. and the RCMP-Edmonton Police Green Team arrived at 11:30 p.m. They dismantle the grow-op and seize 280 seized marijuana plants and leave the scene at 04:30a.m.

Throughout the evening the police receive several unconfirmed sightings of Roszko’s vehicle in the Mayerthorpe area. Constables Gordon and Johnston are then sent to guard the scene until morning.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Peter Christopher Schiemann (Reg.#48064)

At 9:10 a.m. Cst. Schiemann left the Mayerthorpe Detachment, and drove out to the scene and arriving shortly before the two plainclothes Auto Theft members #35087 Cpl. Steve Vigor and #42788 Cst. Garrett H. Hoogestraat, arrive. When they get out of their car they observe two members on top of a shed sedating the dogs, then the four constables walk over to the Quonset while the Auto theft men changed into their coveralls.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Brock warren Myrol (reg.#51874).

Suddenly, gunfire was heard from inside the building and upon hearing the shooting Cst. Vigor yelled to his partner to call in a 10-33 (Officers need assistance) and then rushed toward the front of the building where he saw James Roszko armed with a Heckler and Koch Model .308-calibre rifle come out of the building. Roszko had assumed he had shot all of the police officers and was momentarily shocked to see the other policemen in the yard. He fired at Cst. Vigor missing him and striking a police car. Cpl. Vigor immediately fired two shots striking Roszko in his left hand and right thigh. The gunman then staggered back inside the Quonset. The second Auto Theft member backed his vehicle up to provide cover for his partner and then called out to the members inside but they got no response from any of the men.

Photograph of Constab

Photograph of Constable Lionide Nicholas Johnston (Reg.#

By 10:19 a.m. the property is crawling with members from the Emergency Response Team, explosive units, police dogs and a helicopter. At 2 p.m. an explosives unit robot equipped with a real time video camera is sent into the Quonset and after fifteen minutes of searching the Emergency Response Team is given the order to enter the Quonset. The team members find the bodies of all four policemen and Roszko dead from a self inflicted gunshot.

Photograph of

Photograph of  Constable Anthony Fitzgerald Orion Gordon (Reg.#49673).

In the subsequent investigation the members at the scene discover that Cpl. Vigor had succeeded hitting Roszko four times when he fired back at the gunman and that two shots hit him in the groin area a third bullet hit a pistol Roszko had tucked in the front of his pants and the fourth round hit the rifle stock the gunman was using to shoot everyone. Roszko four times when he fired back at the gunman and that two shots hit him in the groin area a third bullet hit a pistol Roszko had tucked in the front of his pants and the fourth round hit the rifle stock the gunman was using to shoot everyone.

Immediately people began asking how a gunman could return to the farm and get the jump on four policemen, the answers were found in the examination of the scene. James Roszko had placed socks over his boots for silence and a white bed sheet that he was believed to have used as camouflage was found nearby in the snow covered field.

Many questions still remain as to how and when he entered the building without being detected, but the fact is that he deliberately returned to the property and stalked the police officers and when the opportunity presented itself he murdered these young policemen in a cold calculated manner and none of them had a chance. If it had not been for the tactical emergency response training of Cpl. Vigo enabling him to return fire with such accuracy there is a very real possibility that many more policemen would have been murdered that fateful day.

The news of the multiple murders of four young policemen had an immediate impact on people across Canada, and the entire nation was thrown into a state of shock. Canada is relatively peaceful country and police officers are seldom killed in the line of duty. The outpouring of national grief was swift and moving which speaks to the values of the Canadian people for unlike many other countries in the world, where the shooting death of a police officer is just a local issue, in this country it is a national tragedy.

The memorial service for the four men was broadcast live to the world and thousands of law enforcement and emergency personnel from around the world attend in person. Across the country thousands more huddled together in police stations, fire halls and community centers across the land watching the service on TV.

In recognition of his courage under fire on February29th 2008 Cpl. Stephen W. Vigor was awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada.

March 4

Photograph of

Photograph of Igor Gouzenko.

1946 – As a result of the Igor Gouzenko revelations the RCMP laid charges against Communist Member of Parliament, Fred Rose and 13 others for spying for the Soviet Union.

1969 – The RCMP decides to replace the last remaining dog sled teams with snowmobiles.

March 5

1911– #4862 Alonzo White was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund to for his arduous work and hardship patrols in checking on the condition of settlers in the Wild Horse and Pendant d’Oreille Districts.

1945 – A Commendation is awarded to #13061 Constable William Ritchie for his prompt response and his rendering first aid to those more seriously injured than himself in train derailment near Zorre, Ontario.

2001– Honour Roll Number 196.


Photograph of Constable Jurgen Siegfried Seewald (Reg.#32250)

#32250 Constable Jurgen Siegfried Seewald age 48 was shot and killed on duty, while investigating a domestic dispute, in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Ziggy Seewald had been in the RCMP since 1975 and in 2000 had requested a transfer back to the Arctic from Bible Hill Nova Scotia to finish off his career. He had planned to retire in 2002. In October he was posted to the troubled community of Cape Dorset, well known for its violence due to drugs and alcohol. Around midnight on May 4th the police received a domestic abuse call from Barbara Ettinger complaining that her boyfriend Salamonie Jaw was drunk and causing problems. Cst. Seewald decided to attend the complaint himself and went over to the tri-plex. While there he found Jaw in a foul mood and he attempted to get him to sit down and shut up. When Jaw refused to comply with Seewald’s commands he got aggressive and when the policeman attempted to push him into a chair a fight broke out. Constable Seewald then resorted to using pepper spray in an effort to subdue him but it had little effect on Jaw. As Seewald attempted to wrestle him towards the apartment door, Jaw grabbed a loaded shotgun and both he and the constable struggled for it. In the process Jaw pulled the trigger and shot Seewald in the abdomen and showing little emotion, walked out of the house. Constable Seewald was then moved to the local nursing station but his wound was so serious that he died.

Salamonie Jaw had fled to a neighbor’s house and barricaded himself inside, so the Emergency Response Team was flown in from Iqaluit. After several hours of negations with the police, Jaw finally gave up and walked out of the house and was arrested. Three years later he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Ziggy Sewald’s body was flown back to his wife and adult children in Antigonish Nova Scotia where a huge funeral was held at St. Francis Xavier University attended by over 400 uniformed police officers and hundreds of local citizens. The man who had served in the northern communities of Hay River, Fort Liard, Cape Dorset and in Amherst, Antigonish, and Bible Hill, Nova Scotia as well as with the United nations in Yugoslavia was laid to rest in a little cemetery overlooking the Northumberland Straight at Arisaig Nova Scotia.

March 6

1911 -#4817 Constable Edwin Smith was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund in recognition of his good work in searching for missing settlers north of Medicine Hat, Alberta.

1938 – Stuart Taylor Wood. C.M.G. becomes the eighth permanent Commissioner and serves until April 30, 1951

Photograph of Commission Stuart Wood - Commissioner of the RCMP.

Photograph of Commission Stuart Wood – Commissioner of the RCMP.

Commissioner Wood had a distinguished family history including, General Zachary Taylor John Taylor, the twelfth President of the United States and Captain John Taylor Wood the famous Confederate Naval Commander, who is buried in Halifax Nova Scotia. Commissioner Wood’s father was appointed n inspector in the NWMP in 1885. Both he and his father were graduates of the Royal Military College in Kingston Ontario. Commissioner Wood was commissioned as an Inspector in the RNWMP in 1912. He served as a lieutenant in WWI and retired from the RCMP in 1951. Stuart Taylor Wood died in 1966.

1962 – The RCMP investigates the bombing of an electric power pylon near Riondel BC. The investigation identifies the Sons of Freedom sect “The Doukhobors” as being the culprits.

1986 – Honour Roll Number 180.

Photograph of Special Constable Robert Thomas.

Photograph of Special Constable Robert Thomas.

#S/2886 Robert W.C. Thomas was murdered while working Highway Patrol near Powerview, Manitoba.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. Special Constable Robert Thomas was patrolling with is partner #37371 Constable Reginald Albert Gulliford near Powerview, Manitoba 80 miles north of Winnipeg. They decided to check a vehicle that was parked at a service station with two occupants in the car and assumed that they had run out of gas.

After a brief conversation with the driver the two policemen turned and walked back to their car when the driver suddenly got out of his car armed with a .303 rifle and shot Cst. Thomas in the back from only six feet away killing him instantly. Cst. Gulliford managed to pull his revolver and return fire but the gunman wounded him in the wrist and chest rendering him unconscious on the pavement.

After shooting the policemen the 46-year-old gunman Edgar Martin Olson and his female passenger drove to the Fort Alexander Reserve in search of Olson’s estranged common-law wife who had left him to live with her first husband Harry Fontaine. Arriving at the Fontaine residence, Olsen took them hostage and threatened to kill them both. While he held the pair hostage, one of the Fontaine children ran to a neigbours house and called the police. During the standoff with the police, Harry Fontaine succeeded in grabbing the rifle and striking Olsen with it, as the rest of the hostages ran out of the building the police rushed in and overpowered him. After arresting Olsen the police discovered that he was out on parole for attempted murder. He was later convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He committed suicide six years later.

Special Constable Robert Thomas was buried in the United Church graveyard on the Peguis Reserve the community where he had grown up. Cst. Reg Gulliford recovered from his wounds and was eventually transferred back to his home Province of Newfoundland.