Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP





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

October 18

1963 – #21666 Constable Samuel L. Bailey came to the aid of a man who had been blown overboard when the engine on the barge he was working on exploded. After being hauled aboard bleeding profusely from his partially severed leg, Constable Bailey located the leg’s main artery and applied pressure to it to stem the flow of blood. He then assisted the ambulance attendants with the application of a tourniquet. Both the Coroner and the attending physician credited Bailey’s efficient efforts in saving the man’s life.

1971– #16630/O.737 Sub-Inspector Bruce Lionnel Northorp C.M earned a Commissioners Commendation for his actions in dealing with an emotionally disturbed armed man who had hijacked an aircraft from Anchorage Alaska. Northrup succeeded in talking the man into turning over his revolver to him and surrendering without incident.


Photograph of Alister D. MacIntyre – Reg. #29201 (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1979 – #29201 Corporal Alister D. MacIntyre along with Mr. Barry Dean Moffat removed two occupants from a vehicle that had collided with a utility pole in Drumheller Alberta. They then performed CPR resuscitation on Mrs. Hilda Petrie until the ambulance arrived. For actions in saving her life both men were awarded Meritorious Certificates from the St. John Ambulance Society.

1985 – #16087/O.610 Chief Superintendent Hugh Adams Feagan is promoted by the Governor General Jeanne Sauve’to Knight in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. Very few Canadians have achieved this level of the Order, which receives Royal Sanction by the Queen.

October 19

1891 – While searching for whiskey smugglers, three members of the NWMP found themselves in an armed standoff with local Indians. Constables #683 Christopher Hilliard, #752, Thomas Ryan and #2119 William Alexander sighted a group of riders with packhorses and gave chase. When they confronted two natives, one of the suspects, “Steals Fire” turned and shot Constable Alexander at close range hitting him in his neck. Constable Ryan then drew his revolver and shot the gunman in the chest.

When the other natives heard the shots, they converged on the three constables and took the wounded native away. The wound to Constable Alexander’s neck was not serious and he fully recovered from his injuries.

The entire event was included in the 1913 book “The Range Men” by L.V. Kelly. Constable Hilliard joined the NWMP in 1882 and he retired in 1904 a Staff Sergeant. Ryan joined in 1882 and served until 1897. Constable Alexander had the shorter career having joined the NWMP in 1888 and took his discharge in 1894.

1986 – A drunken man on Broughton Island (now Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut) was threatening local residents by repeatedly firing shots from his rifle. Detachment commander #31050 Corporal J.W. Powers along with Renewable Resources Officer, David Kooneeliusie went looking for the suspect and when they encountered him, he threatened to shoot Cpl. Powers but both men were undeterred by his threats and overpowered and arrested him. For their actions they were awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery.

2001 – RCMP members #36425 G.W. Plustwa #40909 M.M. Marshak, and #48090 Paul Meyer were dispatched to the Canadian Armed Forces camp in Wainwright Alberta, to assist the Military Police in dealing with a mentally disturbed woman. The member of the military was armed with handgun and was threatening people with it.

While the members were attempting to negotiate with the woman, she fired nine shots at the police officers and it appeared she was trying to commit suicide, by having police officer kill her. Suddenly the woman advanced on Plustwa, pointing her firearm at him and threatening to kill him. He then took aim and shot her in the arm. She was then subdued and taken to hospital.

All three policemen along with four soldiers received the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.

October 20

1936 – The Village Constable, in Laird Saskatchewan, had been asked to arrest Mr. George White and bring him to the detachment in for an interview. While being questioned by #10703 Constable John Williams, the suspect produced a pistol and shot him in the face.

George White then locked both policemen in a jail cell and fled the scene. After the pair was discovered, Constables #10431 Joseph DesRosiers and #10816 Thurman Guthrie began searching for the gunman. As they approached a haystack in the Village of Laird, the gunman suddenly emerged and pointed his pistol at Constable Guthrie. The policemen ordered him to drop his gun, but when he attempted to shoot, the two constables shot and killed him.

Constable John Williams recovered from his gunshot wound and retired from the RCMP in 1958 as a Sergeant.

1943 – Honour Roll Number 75.

Photograph t

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina with the name of Surgeon Maurice Powers highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#O.298 Surgeon Maurice Powers, age 38, was killed in an airplane crash, near Red Pheasant, Sask.

At the time of his death, Surgeon Maurice Powers was the leading Canadian expert in the field of forensic science and the first person to receive the degree of Doctor of Medical Science in Forensic Medicine from New York University. After joining the Mounted Police as a commissioned officer with the position of Surgeon in 1937, he helped establish the RCMP Crime Laboratory, and lectured extensively across the country.

Powers was testifying at an inquest into the death of two people, in North Battleford Saskatchewan. When the inquest ended, the Royal Canadian Air Force offered him a flight back to Saskatoon. The weather had been poor all day and had not improved much when his plane departed at 10:30 pm. His plane never arrived at Saskatoon. The next day, the Air Force began a search for the downed aircraft and located the wreckage strewn across hundreds of feet of the Eagle Hills on the Stoney Indian Reserve, four miles north of the village of Red Pheasant.

Weather was determined to be the primary cause of the tragedy. Maurice Powers had joined the RCMP in January 1937 as a Special Constable and then promoted to Surgeon in August of the same year. After a huge funeral service in Regina, he was interned in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa. His wife Marguerite and two young children survived him.

1984 – Five members of the RCMP earn The Star of Courage when they rescued two people from burning house, in Burnaby, BC.

#30721 Constable David Gerald Otterman, SC

#32088 Constable Walter Alexander Burns, SC

#36063 Constable John Christopher Kennedy, SC

#36981 Constable John Richard McDougall, SC

#37352 Constable Andrew William Lamb, SC

At 3:45 a.m. Burnaby British Columbia Detachment Constables Gerald Otterman, and Walter Burns arrived at the scene of a house fire. The upstairs residents advised them that the basement apartment was occupied and it was believed that two people were inside, so the two constables went to the back of the house and broke a window to call inside to the occupants. After getting no response, the pair was then joined by Constables Christopher Kennedy, John McDougall and Andrew Lamb; and they broke down the door and entered the house on their hands and knees, but they were quickly driven back by intense heat and thick smoke. With Constable Burns as back up, Lamb and Otterman re-entered the burning building and found an unconscious man in the living room. As they proceeded to drag the victim toward the door, Cst. Lamb was overcome by the smoke and was forced to leave.

Cst. Burns then entered the blaze and he and Cst. Otterman managed to bring the first victim out to safety.

Constables Kennedy, McDougall and Otterman then crawled back into the apartment to continue the search, and found another victim in a bedroom. As they dragged her toward the exit, the smoke overcame all three rescuers were forced them to go outside for fresh air. Cst. Kennedy then reentered the building, found the victim, and dragged her outside. Though the effects of smoke inhalation hampered their attempts, all five of the policemen persisted in their perilous task until they had successfully removed the victims to safety.

On March 21, 1986, all five men were awarded the Star of Courage, the second highest honour for bravery, by the Governor General.

Photograph of the Canadian Star of Courage awarded to Constable Laurier Cadieux (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

October 21

1874 The newly created NWMP force re-crosses the Prairies to the Swan River barracks at Pelly Saskatchewan. Then the column divided and the rest marched back to Winnipeg.

1945 – The MacKenzie King Government brings introduced the Canadian Citizenship Act in Parliament, which and later becomes law in January, 1947. The new Act abolishes the terms ‘Canadian national’ or ‘British subject’ as the legal terms for non-aliens in Canada.

October 22

1844 – Louis Riel is born in what is now St. Vital, Manitoba.

1945 – The MacKenzie King Government brings introduces the Canadian Citizenship Act which becomes law in January, 1947. The new Act abolishes the terms ‘Canadian national’ or ‘British subject’ as the legal terms for non-aliens in Canada.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner’s Commendation For Bravery.

1981 – When RCMP members in Pincer Creek Alberta attempted to arrest twenty-six year old James Earl Kilkenny for dangerous driving, he took a woman hostage. He then fled to his residence, where two hours later he released his hostage and stated he was coming out, but would blow away anyone who got in his way.

Even though the members succeeded in flattening a tire on his truck, he managed to drive off armed with a rifle and shortly thereafter arrived at the Detachment, where he drove up over the lawn and shot out the front glass door. He then rushed inside and began shooting.

Having taken cover behind a filing cabinet, #18903 Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Grunert fired a warning shot at the gunman but Kilkenny kept shooting, so Grunert fired three more shots and wounded him, whereupon he surrendered.

On June 27, 1982 Kilkenny received a sentence of five years for a variety of charges, including attempted murder. Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Grunert was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.

October 23

1958 – A coal gas explosion and rock surge in the Number Two Cumberland coal mine in Springhill Nova Scotia trapping 174 miners’ underground. On the first day of the disaster rescue crews were quickly assembled and were sent underground to look for survivors and bring 81 men up to safety. The search continued for several more days as the rescue crews tried to find their way to the bottom of the 14,200’ mine and 12 men are found alive on October 30th, and seven more are found alive on November 1st. The last body is recovered on November 6th bringing the total to 74 men perished in the deepest coalmine disaster in North America. The coalmine is never reopened.

1960 – While conducting a patrol for two career criminals who had been casing businesses at Whalley BC; #20015 Constable Robert William Rolph Smith, witnessed the suspects fleeing from the Legion at 04:15 am. He radioed for backup and then chased after the pair and found them hiding behind a bush, armed with a loaded handgun. Constable Smith, with revolver drawn, ordered the pair out, but one of the suspects ran off.

The second suspect was then placed against the side of a building, but he became edgy and Smith decided to handcuff him. When he holstered his revolver and proceeded to handcuff him, the man wheeled on him and being much bigger overpowered him, and began beating him about the head with his flashlight and handcuffs. Knocking the constable to the ground the suspect pulled his revolver from the holster and pointed the gun at Smith’s chest. As the attacker pulled the trigger, Constable Smith reached up and grabbed the revolver around the gun’s cylinder, preventing it from firing. The suspect then lost control of the gun and got Smith in a headlock and proceeded to ram his head into a brick wall. Though dazed and bleeding profusely, Constable Smith continued to fight and managed to grab his pistol that was suspended by a lanyard around his neck and fired a shot between the legs of his attacker forcing the suspect to surrender at gunpoint. Shortly afterwards a backup officer who had heard the shot arrived on the scene to assist. The second suspect was arrested later.

For his courage and determination, Constable Robert Smith was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation.

Robert William Rolph Smith retired in 1984 having attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.

1966 – #23086 Constable Phillip Edgar Harrison Smith age 24 was posthumously awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for bravery and great devotion to duty in the attempted rescue of Oswald Schwanke on June 21, 1966 near Kelvington, Saskatchewan.

At 11:05 am Constable Smith was advised that a man had fallen into a well and when he arrived at the scene he discovered that 71-year-old Oswald Schwanke had been working in a 35 foot deep well when he was overcome by gas. Constable Smith descended into the well and found Schwanke still breathing, but as he tried to tie a rope around the man he became dizzy and called to the surface crew to haul him up. Ten feet from the surface he collapsed, but they managed to get him out and transport him to the hospital where he was revived and was released two days later.

Shortly after the attempted rescue, Constable Smith was killed in a hunting accident at his family home in Dutton Creek, British Columbia. He had been a member of RCMP since May 1963.

Photograph of the gravesite marker for

Photograph of the gravesite marker for Constable Philip Smith (Reg. #23086) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

October 24


Photograph of the grave marker for Sergeant Major Arthur Nicholson (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite Database).

1917 – #3924 Sergeant Major Arthur Nevelson Nicholson was giving a demonstration of lance techniques from a horse at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. While he demonstrating “tent-pegging” his lance slipped from his grasp. As he attempted to recover it, the butt of the lance stuck into ground, driving the point of the lance into his stomach, and throwing him off his horse. He died from the lance wound the following day.

Photograph of

Photograph of the 1917 newspaper article regarding burial of RNWMP Sergeant Major Arthur Nicholson.  This clipping was discovered in the S/Major Tim Griffin’s papers (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

Sergeant Major Nicholson joined the North West Mounted Police in 1902 and served until his death and is buried in Battleford, Saskatchewan. He is not on the Honour Roll.

1945 – #13097 Constable Charles L. Delisle received a Commissioners commendation for completing a round trip dog sled patrol from Pond Inlet to Fort Ross after a year of travel. The 151-day journey was completed without mishap and covered a distance of 3,551 miles.

Photograph of a Force dog sled in the northern part of Canada (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Corner).

Photograph of a Force dog sled in the northern part of Canada (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Corner).

He had started the journey from Pond Inlet on March 12th 1943 with two dog teams of 35 dogs and thirteen hundred pounds of supplies and equipment. Accompanied by Special Constable Angnatsiak and Inuit guide Ehaksak their primary task was to investigate a murder at Fort Ross on Somerset Island NWT, and visit several encampments to check on the welfare of the residents and then catch a ride back to Pond Inlet aboard the RMS Nascopie.

The group covered the first 240 miles across the Arctic By to Baffin Island in -45 degree temperatures in only twelve days. After an arduous journey they arrived at Fort Ross. After some time to rest and hunt for food and dog feed Cst. Delisle sent his guides back to Pond Inlet with most of the supplies and equipment before the sea ice broke up. He then conducted the murder investigation he had been dispatched to. He located the 21-year-old female suspect “Mitkaeyout” who readily confessed to shooting her husband “Kookieyout” and leaving the body at the scene. After taking her into custody Cst. Delisle travelled to Thom Bay and recovered the frozen body from a cache of rocks. After putting the cadaver in a wooden box several friends and family members climbed onto the makeshift coffin and rode it down the slope and onto the sea ice like a toboggan laughing and giggling the whole way.

Unfortunately for him the heavy pack ice prevented the Nascopie from teaching Fort Ross for a second year in a row and the community did not get the much needed food and supplies she was carrying. When the ship failed to arrive, Delisle was faced with a choice of flying south on an American rescue plane or travelling back to Pond Inlet because the NCO in charge had gone south for medical reasons. He chose to return to the detachment by dog sled. He succeeded in hiring a local guide and wearing the summer dress he had arrived in they set out on October 19th 1943. Because the previous route across the sea ice could not be made until freeze up the following February they decided to take the much longer land route. Building igloos to sleep in and low on supplies they were forced to live off the land most of the trek eating what ever they could find or get from other Inuit they met along the way. Two days after leaving their campsite on the ice of Lancaster Sound where they had been held up by a storm, the ice bearing their igloo broke off from the shore and drifted away.

Despite all of the obstacles and hardship the air arrive in Pond Inlet on St. Patrick’s Day 1944. Commissioner Wood was so impressed with this outstanding patrol that he made special mention of it in his 1945 annual report and included a four and a half page detailed report of the patrol.

Constable Charles L. Delisle served in the Force from 1937 to 1959 and retired as a Corporal. He died in 2001 and is buried in Morrisburg Ontario.

1970 – Newfoundland members, #23887 Constables Raymond E. Roddick and #25808 / O.1473 and W. Ross Black responded to a complaint of a man with a rifle. Upon their arrival a shot rang out and Constable Black fell to the ground seriously wounded. Taking cover behind a car Constable Roddick raised his head above the vehicle to survey the situation when his partner cried out for help. Suddenly the gunman fired shots into the vehicle, splattering fragments that hit Roddick in the face. Though wounded, Constable Roddick was able to return fire and succeeded in wounding the gunman in the abdomen and arresting him. Constable Black was rushed to hospital where he later recovered from his injuries.

At a later ceremony Constable Roddick was presented a Commissioners Commendation “for courage and determination” by Commissioner W.L. Higgitt personally. Both men had full careers with Roddick retiring as a Staff Sergeant and Black as an Inspector.

1982 – While working in Montreal, #27557 Constable Joseph Andre Richard Beaudoin heard shouts for assistance from an elderly woman, and saw a man running away with a purse. Constable Beaudoin ran after the thief and chased him for three blocks before catching him. A struggle ensued as the suspect resisted arrest but Beaudoin succeeded in subduing him and holding him until the Montreal Police arrived. When the police opened the purse they discovered it contained over $500. which was promptly returned to Mrs. Bouchard. In recognition of his courage and commitment to duty Constable Beaudoin was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1990 – Commissioner Norman Inkster allows native members of the Force to wear braids on duty. The directive is in recognition of their traditional spiritual needs.

1990 – Honour Roll Number189.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Gerald Breese’s grave marker. (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite Database).

17 year veteran, #30967 Constable Gerald Vernon Breese age 37, died as a direct result of injuries sustained from an RCMP motorcycle accident, at Penticton BC.

Constable Breese was responding to a reported stabbing when his motorcycle was hit broadside by another vehicle. He suffered serious head injuries and died on October 24th 1990, five months after the crash, from complications related to his injuries.

Gerry had recovered physically but suffered significant personality changes and battled bouts of depression. After his death his wife Janelle Breese-Biagioni was inspired to write a book about the problems of brain injuries. “A Change of Mind” published by New Canada Publications.

Also see October May 19th

1995 – After responding to a domestic dispute complaint in Prince Rupert BC, #36381 Constable Dennis Bauhuis found himself face to face with a despondent man armed with a knife who was threatening to harm his innocent children. For over five hours Constable Bauhuis calmly spoke with the suicidal man and succeeded in negotiating his surrender. For his courage and presence of mind Constable Bauhuis was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.