Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of the RCMP Corps Sergeant Major rank badge (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 26

1971 – Honour Roll Number 146.

#22830 Constable Michael Robert Mason age 28, drowned while on duty when the private aircraft, in which he was a passenger, crashed into the Courtenay River at Courtenay, B.C.

Four police officers from the Victoria area were flying to Campbell River in a rented Cessna 172 airplane to interview a suspect in a series of thefts. Two officers including the pilot were from the Victoria City Police and #16657 / O.916 Llewellyn Dempsey and #22830 Constable Michael Mason were from the RCMP.

When they departed the weather was overcast with light showers but as they proceeded north the weather deteriorated and ten miles south of Campbell River the pilot began looking for a place to land. As he tried to land on a dirt runway near Courtenay he clipped the top of some trees with one of the wings and the plane spun out of control and crashed into the Courtenay River. All four occupants of the plane were knocked unconscious and when Sgt. Dempsey awoke in the submerged plane he managed to push himself and the pilot James MacDonald to the surface. When workers from a nearby sawmill came to their aid everyone was accounted for except Cst. Mason. When he was located he was found still strapped in his seat at the back of the plane. By the time they removed him from the wreckage it was too late to revive him.

Michael Robert Mason joined the RCMP on September 9, 1962 and was survived by his wife Carole and their two children. He was buried at the Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria BC.

1972 – #26284 James A.R. Bryne received a Commissioners Commendation after an encounter with a man with a rifle on the Blood Reserve in Alberta. Bryne and Native Constable Camille Russell were working on the reserve when a man shot at Cst. Russell’s police car. When the gunman was located Byrne ordered him to drop the rifle, but instead he raised it and attempted to shoot, but it malfunctioned. Constable Byrne then overpowered the assailant and arrested him.

November 27

1885 – After being convicted of multiple murders at Frog Lake Alberta on April 2nd, War Chief Kapapamahchakwew (Wandering Spirit) and 7 other Cree warriors were hanged outside Fort Battleford. It was the last public execution in Canada. Wandering Spirit said his statement, that Canadian Pacific Railway was the main cause of his peoples’ sufferings because the railway brought many settlers to the region.

1974 – During a routine traffic check near Redwater, Alberta, #29986 Constable A.J. Hurkett was overpowered and taken hostage by two suspects. The two brothers; Ronald Barry Martin age 21 and John Raymond Martin age 18, then forced Hurkett into his police car and then drove south with their hostage.

Shortly thereafter several police cars assisted by an aircraft pursued them to Calgary. When they reached downtown Calgary the brothers believed they had eluded the police in the rush hour traffic and pulled into the Highwayman Hotel. Four Edmonton Drug Section members; Constables #21580 David Jackson, #21716 Harold Johnson, #22395 Donald Murray and  #26101 Donald Meggison had managed to follow the suspects and rushed into the parking lot in their unmarked police car, and arrested them at gun point. Constable Meggison seized a .22 rifle and the kidnapped member’s revolver from the suspect in rear seat and as they were removing them from the car a scuffle broke out. The culprits were quickly subdued and were charged with several criminal offences including kidnapping, and auto theft.

Constable Hurkett joined the RCMP in 1972 and retired in 1998.

1998 – The Meritorious Service Medal – Constable Laurie Anne White.

What started out as a simple search of a suspected sex offender’s house in Kitimat British Columbia nearly ended in the death of #45171 Constable Laurie Anne White.

Constable White along with Constables #38230 Michael MacDonald and #38336 Del Byron attended to the residence of Ronald Hoag, to execute a search warrant regarding a suspected sex offender. When White approached the back door, Hoag armed with a rifle, fired two shots through it.

The first shot shattered Constable White’s shin, and the second shot nearly hit Constable Byron. As White lay wounded near the door, her two partners risked their lives to pull her to safety. She was later transported to Vancouver by air ambulance, where after eight hours of surgery she awoke to discover that the lower part of her right leg had been amputated.

The standoff with Ronald Hoag ended at 11:30 PM after he committed suicide. Both Constables Byron and MacDonald were awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery for their rescue of Constable White.

Laurie White did not let the loss of her leg end her career. Fitted with prosthesis she endured several months of rehabilitation and she became the first member of the RCMP to return to active duty with a prosthetic limb. She has gone on to become an inspirational speaker and her positive attitude and courage has been an inspiration to many, resulting in her being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General in September 2000.

November 28

1953 – The Royal Canadian Humane Society Parchment was awarded to #13112 Frank Thompson for the rescue of two boys from Dows Lake, near Ottawa, Ontario.

1970 – FLQ terrorists Jacques Cossette, Jacques Lanctôt, Marc Charbonneau and Pierre Séguin allowed to leave for Cuba after they hand over British trade commissioner James Cross.

1971 – The Fred Quilt Affair.

Two Alexis Creek British Columbia Detachment Constables had their lives turned upside down over false allegations that they had beat and stomped a man who later died of a perforated intestine.

Photograph of RCMP Constables (left to right):

Photograph of RCMP Constables (left to right): Peter Eakins and Daryl Bakewell.

On the evening of November 28th 1971, Constables #23794 Peter Eakins and #25162 Daryl Bakewell checked a pick-up truck that was parked on the road without it lights on. Inside the vehicle they found Mr. Fred Quilt, with his wife and two other natives, all smelling of vanilla extract. Fred Quilt was told to step out of the vehicle and when he complied he fell.

Quilt later died from complications related to a perforated intestine and at the Coroners Inquest, Mrs. Quilt and the others occupants testified that the police officers had beat him and that Constable Bakewell had stomped on him. Even though the Inquest cleared them of any wrong doing, the media had a hayday and published numerous scathing reports about police brutality in press. The two officers always proclaimed their innocence and several years later they were vindicated, when on her deathbed, Mrs. Quilt admitted that she and the others had lied and that she had accidentally run over her husband with their truck. Both officers continued on with their careers with Peter Eakins retiring in 2000 as a Staff Sergeant and Daryl Bakewell retiring in 1987 as a Corporal.

1973 – Commissioners Commendations were awarded to eight members of the Toronto Drug Section. Sergeants #20233 Neville E. Gillespie, G.E. Van de Graaf, J. Schneidhofer, Corporals L. Nave, E. Santori, Constable G. Zeni and Special Constables G. Capra and F. Sirianni had spent several years investigating a group that was responsible for importing and distributing large amounts of heroin into North America. Their persistence paid off when they seized over 70 pounds of heroin and convicted nine people. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced a movie about the investigation entitled “the Flour of the Poppy”.

1985 – Commissioner Simmonds presents Commissioners Commendations for Outstanding Service to #17968 / O.771 Chief Superintendent J.J.E. Poirier, Staff Sergeant #17515 Donald J. Willson and Sergeant J.D.C. Gagnon. The commendations were in recognition for their outstanding service in the planning, coordinating and execution of the 1984 Papal visit of Pope John Paul II across Canada.

1990 – Three members of the RCMP received the Outstanding Law Enforcement Award from United States Department of Justice.

#27889 James McGinnis, #28857 / O.1619 Sidney Bloxom and #33892 Gary Harvey were recognized for their respective roles in a United States conspiracy investigation amounting to $40 million.

November 29

1906 – Honor Roll Number 31.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division in Regina. (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

# O.148 Assistant Surgeon Walter Stafford Flood died from exposure, while on a dog sled patrol near Fort Churchill, Manitoba.

On November 28, 1906 Assistant Surgeon Walter Stafford Flood decided to accompany #O.66 Superintendent J.D. Moodie and Engineer Thibideau on a patrol to the west side of Button Bay. Flood had fallen in love with the Arctic early in his medical career and chose to join the Royal Northwest Mounted Police as an Assistant Surgeon so he could return to the north. As an avid outdoorsman and dog sled handler, Dr. Flood leaped at every chance to go mushing. On the first day of the patrol the men had traveled 15 miles when they discovered at noon that their ration box containing the food for both the men and their dogs had fallen off of the sled. It was a clear day and nobody was concerned about the weather so Dr. Flood volunteered to drive the dog team back along their trail towards Fort Churchill and retrieve the ration box. It began snowing two hours later and when the doctor hadn’t returned the men assumed he had returned to the Hudson Bay Post to wait out the weather. The following day Moodie and Thibideau trekked back to the post and discovered that Dr. Flood had not returned. A search party was organized and his frozen body was discovered five miles south of the point he had departed from.

The investigation concluded that he had got lost in the blizzard ignoring his dogs sense of direction had steered them off course and died of exposure.

He was buried at the Mission Church cemetery at Fort Churchill.

1915 – #5487 Constable Charles Harris was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund for his meritorious service in investigating a case of the theft of horse’s involving Joseph Riggart, of the Battleford area.

1955 – While working as a superintendent in a gypsum quarry at Windermere, BC, Mr. Albert Edward Portman fell into hopper and found himself under six feet of loose frozen gypsum. For over two hours #16518 Corporal Kenneth Marshall McHale and two workers laboured to free him. As they were trying to dig him out a wall of frozen gypsum began to give way and #17909 Constable Hugh Dickson Bowyer wearing a short sleeved shirt jumped into the hopper and spread himself against the wall of gypsum and for over an hour and a half held the wall back from sliding on top of the victim and his rescuers until Mr. Portman was freed. As a result of the prolonged exposure to the frozen gypsum Constable Bowyer contracted pneumonia. In recognition of his gallantry the British Empire Medal was awarded to Constable Bowyer and the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery was awarded to Constable McHale.

November 30

1916 – Two prisoners; Bill Nibisnuik and Mike Shumanski escaped from the jail in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when they overpowered and beat #5818 Constable James Edge unconscious and stole his revolver and boots.

A posse consisting of #4091 Sgt. Robert White (also see Nov. 10, 1918) and #5174 Cst. Harry Morren of the RNWMP and Cst. Osmand of the Moose Jaw City Police. The posse cornered the two fugitives who began shooting at them. Sgt.White’s rifle jammed and despite being shot at, he cleared the rifle, and shot and killed Mike Shumanski, whereupon Bill Nibisnuik surrendered.

Cst. Edge was later killed in action during WW1; Harry Morren took his discharge as a Sgt. in 1917.

1966 – Former Canadian Football League player and retired Lance Corporal #11675 Charles Bismark (Tiny) Hermann was killed this day in a plane crash near Metcalf Ontario. Hermann played for the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1933 to 1940. A former Nova Scotia Provincial Policeman he was absorbed into the RCMP on July 2, 1932 and took his discharge in 1941 to serve in the Canadian Navy where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander during WW2.

1997 – Honour Roll Number 193

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Joseph Luc Francois Carriere (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly – Spring 1998 edition)

#41129 Constable Joseph Luc François (Frank) Carrière age 41, died in a scuba diving accident, during an underwater search of a vessel’s hull, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Constable Frank Carrière was a member of the “H” Division Underwater Recovery Team and as part of a Customs inspection; he was engaged in a hull search for suspected contraband drugs on a ship at the Little Narrows Gypsum Company on the Bras d’or Lakes.

While he was inspecting the hull of the ship he reported that he was low on air and then the surface team lost contact with him. Despite an immediate search by the other team divers, he could not be found until the next day. Investigation revealed that he had released his weight belt and tried to make it to the surface but, he came up under the flat-bottomed hull of the ship and drowned.

Joseph Luc François (Frank) Carrière joined the RCMP on August 9, 1989; he was married and had two teenaged children.

December 1

Photograph of

Photograph of Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot nation.

1874 – Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot nation called on 38 year-old Assistant Commissioner Macleod called “Stamixotokan” or Bulls Head because of the buffalo head over his door. The visit leads to a formal meeting with Macleod and all of the chiefs of the Blackfoot nation. After the passing of the peace pipe during the meeting, Macleod remarked, “I come in friendship.” And explained that the police had not come to steal the Indians land. Chief Crowfoot stated “Before you came the Indian crept along in fear,” and expressed his and others approval and stated they were glad the redcoats were driving away the whiskey traders who robbed them of their wives, their horses and their robes.

1898 – The Arctic Express Company was to take over mail delivery in Yukon from the NWMP but the company gave up on the contract on their first delivery to the Stewart River Post. #1818 Corporal Fred Green and his trusty dog team then reassumed delivering the mail.

1912 – Doctor Patrick Doyle was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon for Yukon and became #O.218 Surgeon Doyle on January 1, 1923. In the early days of the Force there was no rank of Assistant Surgeon therefore appointed doctors were called Acting Assistant Surgeons.

1922 – New Brunswick drivers switch to driving on the right-hand side of the road.

1941 – #13747 Constable Alvin Evans awarded Royal Canadian Humane Society parchment for saving woman from fire at Rose Valley, Sask.

1953 – The rank of “Corps Sergeant Major added to the Force.

Photograph of the RCMP Corps Sergeant Major rank badge (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Corps Sergeant Major rank badge (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1968 – Constable Joseph G. Netsena of the Eastend Saskatchewan RCMP was the first adult at the scene of a drowning. Several young boys were playing on the ice on the Frenchman River when a five-year-old child broke through. Eight-year-old Peter Kuystermans jumped in the water and managed to push his brother Arnold to safety but then slipped back into the frigid water and disappeared below the surface. When Constable Netsena arrived he spotted a blue toque under the ice and rushed into the river and found the boys body. He immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the child as he waded to shore and then to the nearby hospital. Unfortunately his efforts were in vain because the hospital staff was unable to revive him. For his efforts in the attempted rescue constable Netsena was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

1969 – Canadian Police forces begin using the Breathalyzer to test for blood alcohol levels of suspected impaired drivers.

1978 – Constables Ken Chislett and Barry Clarke and Mr. Josiah Ittulak of Nain Labrador tried in vain to rescue a man from the icy waters of Nain Harbour after his snowmobile broke through the ice. The trio’s efforts were recognized by being awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1991 – #40404 Constable Joseph Marc Comeau responded to the complaint of a highly intoxicated man who was armed with a .22 caliber rifle and an axe at Pauingassi Reserve, Manitoba. Undaunted by the violent mans threats; Constable Comeau disarmed him and took him into custody. For his courage and presence of mind he was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

2002 – While serving with United Nations Forces in Yugoslavia in 1993 Constables #46570 Glenn Peters, #47255 Mark Lundie, #48883 Christian Bichler and #49472 Warren Vogan found themselves in the middle of a combat zone. Their actions under fire were formally recognized on this day when they received the Commander-in-Chief commendation for their courage during battle.

December 2

1970 – FLQ terrorists kidnap victim British Trade Commissioner James Cross, is found alive by police after they surround house in Montreal.

1971 – 45 year old #15600 / O.858 Staff Sergeant Lloyd Stancil Smith and #21226 Corporal William Sanford Hacock age 32 earned Commanding Officers Commendations after they responded to a shooting in Colwood BC. At approximately 3:45 pm the detachment received report that a shooting had occurred in a Canadian Pacific Railways crew train. The two policemen accompanied by Corporal D. Peterson and Constable B. McCombe rushed to the scene and S/Sgt. Smith spotted a man lying on a bunk in a railway car. When Smith spoke to him, the man rolled off the bunk and yelled, “he’s got a gun” as a second man entered the car with a shotgun. Smith yelled a warning to the others as the two men began to fight and then the gunman ran out of the rail car. Then Smith saw that the man from the bunk was suffering from a gunshot wound and was then transported to hospital by ambulance. The gunman advised S/Sgt, Smith that he had no quarrel with the police but he was not going to give-up his gun. As Smith kept him distracted, Corporal Hacock climbed on the roof of the railway car and worked his way in behind the suspect. When the opportunity presented itself he rushed the gunman and seized him by the legs causing him to drop the shotgun and was arrested.

1974 -Fort MacLeod Alberta, constables #30876 David C. Lock and #31463 James Arthur McGibbon received a complaint that three youths had guns and were firing them into the air. The constables located the trio inside a local restaurant and approached them. The youth then pointed their weapons at the police officers and after talking with the boys for several minutes they succeeded in disarming them. In recognition of their courage and the calm manner in which they handled the dangerous situation both men were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1986 – Special Constable Harvey Russell Black of the Fond du Lac Saskatchewan rescued the life of a fellow member from the waters of Lake Athabaska. The men were traveling across the lake ice in a snow vehicle when the ice gave way and they plunged in to the water. For his valour Constable Black was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.

1995 #43217 Constable S.F. Bruinsma received commendation when he entered burning building and rescued a disabled man at Selkirk, Manitoba.

2003 – It was a busy day for Surrey British Columbia Dog Handler, #41509 Constable Dean Muir and his dog “Lar”. They caught four car thieves in three separate incidents in the one-day.