Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP uniform belt and serge in bronze (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

November 1

Photograph of NWMP Commissioner Acheson Gosford Irving.

1880 – Acheson Gosford Irvine becomes the third Commissioner and serves until March 31, 1886.

1910 – #4817 Constable Edwin Smith was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund to for his efficient work in the arrest of a horse thief, in southern Alberta.

1963– George Brinton

Photograph of RCMP Commissioner George Brinton McClellan.

becomes the twelfth Commissioner and serves until Canada’s Centennial year and retires August 14, 1967.

2005 – #35982 Corporal Lawrence Allen Burden was presented with the Commissioners Commendation for Outstanding Service by Commissioner Zacerdeli at an awards ceremony in Vancouver BC. For several years Corporal Burden had represented the RCMP on an advisory committee to the Canadian Coast Guard and he discovered that Canadian built boats were not required to have any hidden identification that would assist in identifying stolen boats. After bringing this issue to the attention of the Coast Guard, he was instrumental in getting the construction regulations changed to require boat manufacturers to include extra identification in their products.

November 2

1959 – #18759 Constable John Ross and #20318 Constable R.A. Harris were patrolling near Uranium City, Saskatchewan on bitterly cold night when they encountered a water soaked couple standing on the road. Reverend Allen Shanks explained how their car had slid off road and broke through the ice on Martin Lake and sank upside. The two officers stripped off their outer clothes and dove into the frigid water and rescued Mrs. Donalda MacDonald from the vehicle and then Constable Ross rushed her to the hospital while Harris remained at the scene in frozen clothing to wait for a tow truck. Unfortunately three other passengers trapped inside the vehicle did not survive. In recognition of their bravery both Constable were awarded Commissioners Commendations

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner’s Commendation For Bravery.

1996 – On this day Constables #44783 Valerie Ann LaHaie and #44509 Brent J. Mundle earned the Medal of Bravery.

While on duty in Fairview, Alberta, both officers attended to the scene of a fire in a mobile home. Having been advised by bystanders that the owner of the home was still inside the home, the officers made two attempts to enter entered burning trailer but were forced back by the heavy toxic smoke. Constable Mundel then smashed out the kitchen windows, resulting in the flames increasing but the smoke cleared enough that Constable LaHaie was able to see the unconscious man lying on the floor in the kitchen. She ran inside and grabbed onto the unconscious man and shortly afterwards was joined by Constable Mundle. Blinded by the smoke, the two members became disoriented and finally managed to locate the exit where others assisted them in completing the rescue. Despite their valiant efforts, the man subsequently died of his injuries.

November 3

1873 – The first 150 members of NWMP were sworn in as official members of the North West Mounted Police at Lower Fort Garry Manitoba by O.2½** William Osborne Smith. Though this was the date they were “sworn in” most had been hired a month earlier on October 4th at Collingwood, Ontario, before they were sent to Manitoba to begin their training.

Recruits had to be of sound constitution, able to ride, active and able-bodied, between the ages of 18 and 40, and literate in either English or French.

Pay was 75 cents per day but did not begin until they reached Fort Gary and were sworn in. Upon successful completion of service the men would be eligible for a land grant of 160 acres in the North-West Territories.

The place of origin for 245 of the original members was recorded. Of them, 167 were Canadian, 43 were from Great Britain, 20 from Ireland, 1 from the Channel Islands, 1 from Jamaica, 7 from the USA. 4 men represented Continental Europe from France, and one each from Germany and Bohemia.

**Officer numbers did not exist until about 1900 when such things as duplicate names began creating file problems, which explains why Commissioner Smith’s officer regimental number was O.21/5. When the Force began assigning officer numbers they attempted to go back to day one and issue them in sequence, but missed three men. To try and correct the error they squeezed the missing officers into the sequence as .5 or 1/2 numbers. Smith was actually the 3rd officer to be hired for the new police force.

1933 – The RCMP Patrol Cruiser “Alchasse” arrested a speedboat off of St. Joachim Quebec that was smuggling 345 gallons of alcohol.

1973 – Despite the fact that a Spruce Grove, Alberta mobile home was engulfed in flames, #28214 Constable Garry Radford entered the burning trailer and rescued a woman who was unconscious inside. Having located the victim, he carried her to an open window and pushed her out and immediately followed as the trailer exploded in flames. He was later awarded a Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.

1988 – The Medal of Bravery was earned by #24439 Corporal Brian Hugh Stephenson for saving a woman from a burning building. Corporal Stephenson crawled through a broken window into a smoke-filled house trying to locate the person trapped on the second floor. Due to the heavy smoke he was forced to retreat twice for air, but finally reached the unconscious victim and brought her to a window where he was assisted by #26645 Norman Thomson and a fireman.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery.

1991 – Multiple murder Allan Legere is convicted of four counts of first-degree murder in the beating deaths of three women and a Catholic priest during a reign of terror in the Mirimichi region of New Brunswick.

1993 – A Commanding Officer’s Commendations for outstanding service was awarded to #22263 / O.1524 Inspector Brian E. Robinson and #26110 Staff Sergeant Martin J. Kerelchuk because of their exceptional leadership in the investigation of a murder of a16 year old girl in Manitoba.

November 4

1913 – On this day in 1913, Constables #3775 Charles Harper and #5591 Frederick Stevenson set out on a three month trek to retrieve a young girl who dad been reported abducted by a trapper named Asa Hunting.

It was alleged that Hunting had abducted sixteen-year-old Mildred Shaw and taken her to his trap line in the Porcupine River area near present day Grande Prairie. After nearly two months of searching, the constables located the pair on December 22nd and arrested Hunting. Nearly one month later they delivered their suspect and the alleged victim to Saskatoon Lake detachment where they were brought before a judge. After listening to the evidence the judge handed Hunting a suspended sentence and on July 30th 1914 the accused and his kidnap victim were married!

For their efforts in tracking the pair and bringing them before the courts both constables were awarded $50 from the Fine Fund.

1949 – A Commendation is issued to #14853 Constable William Parsons for his investigation of a safe breaking at Imperial Bank in Yellowknife NWT. His efforts resulted in the recovery of the stolen property and the conviction of three accused.

1982 – The Ontario Supreme Court orders the extradition of Canadian citizen Albert Helmut Rauca to West Germany; charged in connection with murder of over 11,000 Lithuanian Jews in World War II; first extradition of a Canadian accused of war crimes.

1990 – A Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery was earned by Constable #36603 L. Grant McCulloch for his restraint and arrest of a schizophrenic man who was choking a police dog “Jake” near Merritt, BC.

November 5

1939 – The National Research Council in Ottawa first broadcasts its official time signal at EXACTLY 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.

1941 – Honour Roll Number 103.

Photograph of the gravemarker for

Photograph of the gravemarker for RCMP Special Constable Joseph Kent (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

During world war two the RCMP hired many special constables for use as guards at vital domestic installations. 58 year old #S/3185 S/Constable Joseph Henry Kent a veteran of the Great War was assigned to guard Bridge No.4 on the Welland Ship Canal, at St. Catharines, Ont. At approximately 11:50 pm, he was walking home at the end of his shift when he was run over by a 1930 Chrysler that had traveled 130 yards after jumping the curb. Hit from behind Constable Kent was knocked unconscious after receiving two broken legs and a cerebral hemorrhage. He was immediately transported to the nearby hospital in a patrol car driven by Sergeant E. Anstead, but died en-route. The driver; Harold Jacobs was charged with manslaughter.

Special Constable Kent had only been married for 8 short months and was buried in the Victoria Lawn Cemetery in St. Catharines, Ontario.

1958 – The last body of the 74 miners killed in the Springhill Mine disaster that occurred on October 23 is finally removed from the mine.

1960 – Commissioners Commendations along with $25 grants from the Fine Fund were issued to nine members who were involved in a stakeout and gun battle at a farmhouse near Edmonton Alberta.

Police received a tip that a group of armed men planned to enter a farm house 30 miles west of Edmonton Alberta and rob the elderly residents of a large sum of money. The Edmonton General Investigations Section headed by #13382/O.537 Staff Sergeant Waldemer Werner Peterson had other plans for the robbers.

The elderly couple were removed to safety and replaced by #15225 / O.565 Sergeant Peter Wright, Corporals #14430 John D. Kennedy, #16915 / O.643 Thomas S. Venner, #17484 / O.668 Victor G. P. Irving and Constables #17703 Allen S. Cedar, #17068 Harry P. Greaves, #17455 Dennis Norton and #18440 Derlin C. Dillabaugh.

When the three-armed men entered the building they were ordered to drop their guns by the waiting policemen. Instead of complying, the trio began shooting at the police officers. Constable Cedar was struck in the chest but his life was saved because he was wearing a bulletproof vest, which was a rarity in 1960. Several shots were fired in the dark farmhouse and in the ensuing struggle two of the suspects were arrested. The third suspect managed to get outside where the gun battle continued and finally ended when Constable Norton was able to subdue and arrest him.

1981 – Two youths received commendations from the RCMP for assisting a constable who had been stabbed.

#30408 Constable Graham Holmes while assisting Calgary Immigration Officers went to search a home in Calgary Alberta for illegal immigrants. When the officers entered the residence one of the suspects fled. Constable Holmes caught him and in the struggle to arrest him, was stabbed with a knife.

Although he had been stabbed, Holmes continued to fight with the suspect in an effort to subdue him. Witnessing the struggle, brothers Keith and Ken Dussome age 15 and 17 jumped into the fray and assisted Holmes’s in handcuffing the suspect.

2001 – Police Dog handler #36090 Constable William Finney accompanied by #41257 Constable Roland Wallis were tracking a suspect in the mountains of the Hemlock Valley, near Mission BC when they became stranded on a mountain ridge in a sudden snowstorm. At the beginning of the search the two officers had no way of knowing that the pursuit of their quarry would lead them into the rugged mountain wilderness or that they would become stranded by the weather. They were not dressed for the severe winter weather and were in danger of perishing.

In spite of the extreme weather conditions, RCMP helicopter pilot #39446 Corporal Dwayne Harlem Jennings volunteered to transport a search team to the area to participate in a rescue his comrades. After locating the two officers and their dog on a precipice, Corporal Jennings managed to skillfully maneuver his helicopter, so that the tip of one skid rested on the mountain face and the search members could exit the hovering helicopter. Corporal Jennings repeated the tricky maneuver three times, so he could off-load personnel and supplies. And then repeated the process to reload the rescuers and the three stranded victims and then flew them back to safety.

Had Corporal Jennings not volunteered to fly in very adverse conditions, the two constables and their police dog could have perished.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner’s Commendation For Bravery.

For his bravery and outstanding flying ability, Corporal Jennings received the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery, the Treasury Board Award of Excellence and the Meritorious Service Medal.

November 6

1873 – Three days after the first recruits were sworn into the NWMP, Sir John A. Macdonald Canada’s first Prime Minster resigned and was replaced by Alexander Mackenzie.

1978 – The Royal Canadian Humane Society Bronze Medal is awarded to #25756 Constable Gerald Moen for helping Mr. Mel Dyck, escape from his burning car he was driving near Red Deer, Alberta.

1984 – Former Saskatchewan cabinet minister Colin Thatcher is found guilty of murdering his ex-wife Joanne because he was angry that he had to pay her $820,000 in a divorce settlement. Initially he tried to hire someone to kill her but when that failed he smuggled a gun into Canada and shot her himself. He was sentenced to life in prison.