Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP books (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.

June 25

1938 – Commendation issued to #11037 Alfred Chad for his excellent investigation of a motor vehicle accident in Manitoba.

1982 – The Medal of Bravery was awarded to #34920 Constable Mark Frederick Oliver for his role in saving two lives on this day in 1982.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery.

Constable Oliver and BC residents; Norman James Lesage, Norman Stanley Walker, Peter Marochi and Peter Robinson of the Manning Park Emergency Services participated in a four hour ordeal rescuing a man and a woman in danger of drowning in the Similkameen River near Princeton BC.

The driver of a motorized camper lost control of his vehicle and rolled down the embankment and landed on its wheels in the raging river near Manning Park. Though injured, the driver and his wife managed to pull themselves up onto the roof of the vehicle and wait for help. Cst. Oliver was the first to arrive on the scene followed by Park Rangers Marochi and Robinson who secured a rope from shore to the vehicle, and then waded chest-deep through the icy, swift-flowing waters, to render immediate assistance to the stricken couple. Cst. Oliver tried to use a rubber raft to make two separate rescue attempts, but the force of the current overturned the raft throwing him into the treacherous river. After the failed attempt with the life raft the rescuers convinced the driver to try and pull himself to shore using the secured line. As he attempted to do so, Peter Marochi entered the water to assist the man, but the current and the cold water had sapped the driver’s strength, so he returned to the roof of the vehicle.

Peter Robinson then entered the water and after reaching the vehicle assisted the man in a second attempt to make it to shore. As they pulled their way along the rope, the force of the water pulled Robinson under the surface several times nearly causing him to lose his grip each time. When they were near shore Cst. Oliver helped both men to safety. Then Robinson returned to the camper to assist the woman but by then was in a state of shock and couldn’t be rescued in the same manner.

Shortly thereafter a Mr. Norman James Lesage, had landed his helicopter nearby volunteered to try and airlift the woman from the river even though he was untrained in canyon rescue techniques. Mr. Norman Stanley Walker, an onlooker in the crowd who was experienced in helicopter rescue operations, came forward and volunteered to assist the pilot.

After surveying the scene from the air, Walker then took a position on the ground and guided the helicopter approach into the ravine. Then Rangers Marochi and Robinson secured a rescue collar on the woman while the helicopter hovered above. Relying on hand signals from Walker, the helicopter lifted her from the roof of the vehicle and carried her to a waiting ambulance, and then returned to recover the two park staff rescuers.

1982 – Former Soviet Embassy cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko died this day having lived out his life under a new identify in the witness protection program.  On Sept. 5, 1945 Gouzenko, defected to Canada taking with him documents and proof concerning Soviet espionage activities in Canada. His cooperation and testimony lead to several arrests and criminal convictions for espionage.

1989 – #29816 Sergeant R.J. Vardy responded to a disturbance complaint at a local church vicarage in Wabasca, Alberta. When he arrived he found an intoxicated man wielding a gun and at great risk to himself successfully disarmed the gunman and took him into custody.  In recognition of his actions he was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.

1995 – The United States Army Meritorious Achievement Medal was awarded to #31553 Sergeant Robert LeMay for his participation in Haitian election process. His dedication to duty was also recognized by the United Nations, which awarded UNMIH Certificate and Medal. He joined the RCMP in 1971 and died while serving in 1997.

1995 – Joseph Philip Robert Murray becomes the eighteenth Commissioner replacing Norman D. Inkster. During his term in office he implemented many community orientated programs and policies such as establishing town hall meetings to improve communication between the RCMP and local communities. In 1997 he ended to the RCMP’s responsibility for airport security, thereby requiring local police agencies and private security to provide it. He adopted and instituted the Force’s Mission, Vision, and Values Statement, which became a pillar in the management structure of the RCMP. He served as until his retirement on September 1 2000, and was followed as Commissioner by Giuliano (Zack) Zaccardelli.

1997 – Queen Elizabeth II admitted #26090 Sergeant Robert Humes into The Royal Victorian Order by presenting him with the Royal Victorian Medal in recognition for his coordination of the Royal visit to Newfoundland in 1997. The Royal Victorian Order was established by Queen Victoria on April 21, 1896, as a reward for extraordinary, important or personal services performed for the Sovereign or the Royal Family.
Robert Humes joined the RCMP in 1967 and retired as a Sergeant in 2003.

June 26

1939 – The Commissioners Commendation was awarded to #12179/ O.473 Robert C. Butt as master of the RCMP Patrol Vessel “Acadian” for rescuing two men from their broken down boat during storm. The “Acadian†was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1939 and renamed “HMCS Interceptor†and was decommissioned after WW2.

Robert Butt joined the RCMP in 1932 and was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy On October 1st, 1939. During his service in the Navy he received a Naval Commendation for a rescue at sea. At the end of WWII he transferred back to the RCMP on September 27th, 1945 and served until he retired as an Inspector in 1970.

1970 – Parliament revises Canada Elections Act and lowers the voting age in federal elections from 21 to 18. Now young Mounties who sign up at age 18 and had been serving their country and enforcing the law can vote.

1988 – Sixty years after he transferred out of Old Crow, the Yukon Territories most northerly posting, retired Mountie #8716 Arthur B. Thornthwaite returned for a visit. He first enlisted in the RNWMP on September 4, 1919 having immigrated to Canada in 1911. He helped build the original detachment barracks in 1926 when the community moved there from Rampart House because of an outbreak of smallpox. Thornthwaite’s career in the far north took him on many adventures spending most of his time on snowshoes and traveling by dog sled investigating illegal trapping, smuggling and the occasional murder. In 1932 he participated in the manhunt for the Mad Trapper of Rat River. (See January 1932) On his visit to Old Crow he actually found people who remembered him!

1990 – Justice Minister Kim Campbell introduces gun control legislation banning automatic assault weapons. The new legislation imposes a five-year jail term to anyone convicted of converting a weapon to automatic fire.

June 27

1915 – #5098 Constable George Akrigg is awarded $25 from the Fine Fund because of his good work and ability to interpret German, during enemy alien investigations.

1925 – #4125 / O.199 Inspector George Fletcher lost all his personal effects when the detachment at Fort Smith, NWT burned to the ground.

1990 – History was made in the North West Territories when Corporal P.A. Harrish assumed command of Arviat Detachment, thereby becoming the first woman to become a Detachment commander in the NWT.

1995 – After over 120 years of businesses using the image, likeness and symbols of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for commercial purpose without paying royalties an exclusive marketing license is contracted to the Walt Disney Canada Company for five years. From then on copyright infringement issues are enforced and royalties are paid to the RCMP and used for charitable purposes. At the end of the contract the RCMP established its own Intellectual Property Office to manage the RCMP’s commercial image, and deal with issues related to copyright, trademarks and patents related to RCMP technology.

June 28

1915 – #5098 Constable George Akrigg is awarded $25 from the Fine Fund because of his good work and ability to interpret German, during enemy alien investigations.

1925 – #4125 / O.199 Inspector George Fletcher lost all his personal effects when the detachment at Fort Smith, NWT burns to the ground.

1925 – Honour Roll Number 47.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division in Regina with the name of Constable

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina with the name of Constable Leo Grancis Cox (Reg.#9818) (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#9818 Cst Leo Francis Cox age 33 drowned when his canoe struck a log near La Sarre, Quebec.

After completing his investigation in Abitibi Quebec, Constable Cox was invited to travel back to La Sarre aboard a large motor launch owned by the Abitibi Pulp and Paper Company. When the vessel was one mile from La Sarre it was forced to stop because the boat was unable to pass under a bridge because the water level in the river ad risen too high. All of the passengers got off the vessel and began to walk the rest of the way to the town. Instead of walking, Cox decided to join three others in a canoe that had been tied to the larger vessel and paddle the rest of the way. As they were paddling the canoe they struck a sunken log with such force that all four of them were thrown into water. Only one person made it to shore alive. When Constable Cox saw that Mrs. Gauthier was in trouble he swam over to assist her but the two of them were pulled under water and they drowned. The following day RCMP members conducted a dragging operation in the area and recovered the bodies’ of the three drowning victims. His remains were transported to Ottawa where his wife and three children attended his regimental funeral.

1933 – Commissioner MacBrien established the RCMP Museum at Depot Division.

1958 – #19474 Kenneth Coburn receives a Commendation for disarming a Doukhobor bomb that is left in hotel at Vernon, BC.

1963 – Responding to a burglar alarm at 03:15 am at the St Joseph Co-op in Altona, Manitoba, #15970 Cpl. John Ewashko and #20777 Constable Ralph Wride called the neighboring detachment for backup as they raced to the scene. Upon their arrival at the scene they saw a man standing in the shadow of the nearby ice rink and ordered him to stay where he was.

Instead the man yell at them, ordering them to stay back and then he shot at them with a small caliber handgun. The policemen returned fire and during the gun battle the officers made their way back to their patrol car and radioed for help. Then the suspect fled the scene in a dark colored car and the policemen followed in pursuit while the suspects continued to shoot at them. The chase continued towards the town of Letellier where the criminals encountered a roadblock and were ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint. The two American criminals; William Haldane and Ed Welsh were arrested and Welsh was treated for a bullet wound he received in the gun battle.

When the policemen searched the suspect vehicle they found several loaded guns, explosives, extra license plates and survival gear. When they returned to the scene of the crime they discovered that the criminals had moved a 400-pound safe to the rear of the building and had drilled a hole in it so they could blast it open.

The two accused were charged with 19 criminal offences and received sentences of seven years for shooting at the police and five years for the break, enter and theft. On November 30, 1963 Cpl. John Ewashko and Constable Ralph Wride bravery and perseverance was recognized when they were awarded Commissioners Commendations.

1985 – Canada Post releases two new 34-cent postage stamps depicting two historical NWMP forts; Fort Whoopup and Fort Walsh.

1996 – The new Commissioner Class high-speed catamaran Patrol Vessel “Inkster” is commissioned. The 72-foot/19.75 meter 36 knot aluminum vessel has a full time crew of four, and is a floating detachment posted out of Prince Rupert BC. The new vessel (hull number 256) was built by Allied Shipbuilders of North Vancouver, BC and named in honour of former Commissioner Norman Inkster.

2005 – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announces that the first twenty-two regular members and one civilian member will be invested into recently created “Order of Merit of Police Forces”. This Order within the Canadian Honour System is equivalent to the Order of Military Merit.

June 29

1935 – After Doukhobor protestors threw rocks at the policemen who were attempting to prevent members of the radical Russian sect from disrobing during their celebration of their exile from Russia in 1895. #12034 Constable Jack Love had to be transported to hospital in Prince Albert Saskatchewan by aircraft after he was severely injured when hit in the head with a large rock.

1972 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules that motorists can seek legal counsel before taking breath tests in impaired driving investigations.

1986 – Honour Roll Number 184.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Scott Gordon Berry (Reg.#36152) (Source of photo – 1986 Quarterly).

#36152 Constable Scott Gordon Berry age 27 was killed when he came in contact with a live power line near Clandonald, Alberta.
At 4:40 am Constable Berry was dispatched to a serious motor vehicle accident three miles south of Clandonald, Alberta. Upon his arrival he discovered that a pick-up truck had smashed into a power pole and a 14,400-volt power line was lying on top of the truck and was suspended waist high across the highway.

He noted that a young woman, Christine Yaceko, had been electrocuted after she was tried to assist the three injured individuals in the vehicle. Yaceko was lying in the ditch beyond the crashed vehicle was still alive but was injured and in shock. Constable Berry decided to try and to assist her, so he crouched down to go under the hydro wire hanging across road, but he accidentally brushed against the live power line.

The first electrical jolt hit him so hard that he was thrown back against the live wire and set off a series of electrical shocks to his body that left him stunned and barely breathing. He was rushed to the Vermilion Health Centre by ambulance but died enrolee.

Constable Berry joined the RCMP on July 211980 and was married. He was buried at the Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens in his hometown of Nanaimo British Columbia.

1992Commendation is awarded to #40241 Cst. Brian Arcand for saving the life of a two-year-old child caught in mechanism of security gate at Ottawa air show.

June 30

1912 – A tornado roars through the downtown core of Regina Saskatchewan. The five-minute rampage kills 28 people, damaging or destroying several buildings including three churches, the new Carnegie Library. Over 2,500 people are left homeless.

Photograph of the bronze statute of Queen Elizabeth II on the RCMP horse Burmese. Statute situated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the bronze statute of Queen Elizabeth II on the RCMP horse Burmese. Statute situated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1992 – As part of Canada’s 125th anniversary celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II unveils a new statue on Parliament Hill depicting Her Majesty riding on the horse “Centennial” that was presented to Her Majesty on her visit to Depot Division on July 4, 1973 as a gift from the RCMP by then Commissioner W. L. Higgit. The statue was created by British Columbia sculptor Jack Harman and took two years to complete and is the only equestrian monument to the Queen in the entire Commonwealth. “Centennial” was the grandson of the famous racing horse “Man O’ War”. “Centennial” was actually chosen by the Queen during a visit to the stables at “N” Division.

1993 – Canada Post releases a new series of 43¢ Postage Stamps commemorating famous Canadian Parks. Included in the series are two stamps that have a significant historical connection to the RCMP; Herschel Island Park, in Yukon and Cypress Hills Park in Saskatchewan. American whalers initially used Herschel Island as a wintering station from 1890. Over concerns of national sovereignty the RNWMP established a detachment on the island and maintained a presence there until the detachment was closed in 1964. The Cypress Hills is and area steeped in history, and once was the hunting grounds of Cree and Metis. The massacre of local Indians by American whisky traders led to the creation of the North West Mounted Police and was the location the NWMP’s Forts Whoop-up and Walsh.

July 1

1884 - Photograph of NWMP Inspector Francis Dickens - taken at Fort Pitt (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division).

1884 – Photograph of NWMP Inspector Francis Dickens – taken at Fort Pitt (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

1881 – Inspector Francis Dickens, the son of the famous author Charles Dickens made a name for himself when, accompanied by #21 Sergeant Frank Spicer and #323 Constable George Callaghan went to the Blackfoot Reserve and in the presence of a large hostile force of Indians recovered fourteen stolen horses.

Photograph of Dicken's aircraft - provided by Doreen Riedel (Source of photo - Library Archives of Canada - 1974-269 LP95-1_

Photograph of Dicken’s aircraft – provided by Doreen Riedel (Source of photo – Library Archives of Canada – 1974-269 LP95-1_

1929 – RCMP members greet aviator “Punch” Dickins as he becomes the first to fly into Aklavik NWT. Flying in his Fokker Super Universal he starts the first regular flight service into the north. G-CASK was Dicken’s aircraft that he flew into Aklavik in 1929 where dad photoed it. It was also flown in later years by Walter Gilbert who assisted Lindbergh on his flight to the orient in 1931 by taxiing ‘SK in front the Sirius to make waves to assist his take off from Aklavik.

1935 – The Regina City Police and members of the RCMP are ordered by Ottawa to arrest leaders of the “On To Ottawa Trek” They wade into the large crowd at a rally at the Regina Exhibition Grounds and a riot breaks out In the melee one policeman killed, and several police officers and rioters are injured. Among the injured police officers is #11860 Constable Walter MacDonald who was hit in the face leaving him with permanent injuries and disfigurement thereby ending his career in the Mounted Police.

1954 – Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem are awarded to Constables #18014/ O.818 Mike Dwernichuk and #17686 F.C. Rankine for saving the lives of two participants of a parade in Merritt, BC. During the parade Mr. Tessier and William Pooley’s costumes catch fire and the two officers act quickly to put the flames out.

1960 – Treaty and registered aboriginal Canadians are given the right to vote.

1972 – The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) was created. CPIC is a computerized police information system designed to provide police forces throughout Canada with immediate information on crimes and criminals. It was credited with being the most important innovation in combating crime since the introduction of fingerprinting.

Photograph of RCMP catamaran (Source of photo - RCMP 191-119).

Photograph of RCMP catamaran (Source of photo – RCMP 191-119).

2000 – On this day the RCMP vessel “Nadon” renamed St. Roch II, captained by #37336 Sergeant Kenneth Burton sets out on a historic voyage to circumnavigate North America. The expedition is part of the RCMP 125th anniversary celebrations and is in honour of the historic voyages of the RCMP vessel “St. Roch”.

The original vessel skippered by famous arctic explorer Inspector Henry Larsen made history between 1928 and 1944, when it became the first ship to travel both directions through the Northwest Passage and the first to circumnavigate North America. Making several stops along the way to spread good will and raise funds for the restoration of original “St. Roch” at the Maritime Museum in Vancouver, the Nadon’s journey is completed in only six months and 14 days.

July 2

Photograph of Chief Big Bear.

Photograph of Chief Big Bear.

1885 – Big Bear “Mistahimaskwa” accompanied by his son, “Horse Child,” and a councilor, “All And a Half,” surrender to the North-West Mounted Police at Fort Carlton and is taken into custody by #773 Sergeant William Smart, #1119 Frederick Nicholls, #766 Daniel Sullivan and #887 Warren Kerr. Mistahimaskwa was born around 1825 near Jackfish Lake, north of present-day North Battleford.

In the late 1870’s he became the leading chief of the Prairie River People and headed a camp of 65 lodges (approximately 520 people). His influence rose steadily in the following years, reaching its height in the early 1880s. He was the first major chief on the prairies to refuse to sign a treaty with the government until destitution and starvation in 1882 compels him to finally sign on to Treaty Six. Throughout the 1870s he attempted to create a political confederation of Indian bands capable of forcing concessions from the government. But the government’s refusal to negotiate with him caused him to lose influence over the band’s warrior society during the winter of 1884. The loss of influence led to his son Ayimisis and the war chief, Kapapamahchakwew (Wandering Spirit) attacking a NWMP patrol at Duck Lake and killing nine people. On April 14,1885 Kapapamahchakwew moved to attack Fort Pitt and Mistahimaskwa ever the peacemaker successfully negotiated the surrender of the fort’s 44 civilian inhabitants and the police evacuation. After surrendering to police at Fort Carlton he was brought to trial on the charge of treason-felony in Regina on 11 September 1885. After a 15-minute deliberation he was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment at the Stony Mountain Penitentiary. He was released in February 1887 because of poor health, and settled on the Poundmaker reserve where he died on 17 January 1888.

Photograph of Supt. Begin of the NWMP & RNWMP.

Photograph of Insp. Joseph V. Begin of the NWMP.

1890 – #O.68 Inspector Joseph V. Begin and a squad of men arrive in York Factory District of Keewatin to establish a detachment. Shortly thereafter the Inspector dispatches men on the first NWMP patrol into the far north and Hudson Bay. Inspector Begin and his men had traveled to York Factory from Winnipeg and patrolled the shores of Lake Winnipeg aboard the first NWMP vessel “Keewatin” during which they established a detachment at Norway House. The “Keewatin” later capsized in a storm killing two members. (See September 8, 1890).

July 3

1977 – The M.G. Griffiths Certificate of The Royal Life Saving Society was awarded to #23839 Corporal Peter Howes. While sick in bed Peter Howes was alerted by a neighbour requesting help in rescuing a child who had drowned in a swimming pool at their home in Regina Saskatchewan. He rushed to the scene and located the youth on the bottom of the pool and performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation for nearly ten minutes reviving him. Unfortunately for Howes the effort resulted in him getting pneumonia.
1991 – In recognition of over 20 years of exemplary work in the field of arson investigation, The Insurance Crime Prevention Bureau awarded #23001 Staff Sergeant Jim W. Somers with the Douglas W. Hiron Memorial Award. Somers was the first member of the RCMP to receive this award.


1998 – Canada Post releases two new 45-cent stamps in honour of the 125th Anniversary of the RCMP. One stamp features a male member wearing the uniform of the NWMP while the second features a female in the present day uniform with a Force with helicopter and computer operator.