Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of a RCMP king crown cap 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

December 27

1901 – The first annual winter patrol between Dawson and Fort McPherson was undertaken. #2628 Sgt Harry Mapley and a guide on dog sled carried the mail over the Mackenzie Mountains and arrived at Fort McPherson on February 2, 1905, They traveled a distance of 475 miles and enduring bone chilling temperatures of over 50 degrees below zero. The patrols became an annual event and continued for many years.

1969 – Constables # 24696 J. K. Paterson and R. Lawrence responded to a complaint in North Vancouver BC where an intoxicated man had threatened his wife with a gun. Unknown to the policemen the man had also blown a hole in the wall with a shotgun. After positioning junior Constable Paterson to the side of the house Constable Lawrence approached the front with his revolver drawn. When he knocked the man opened the door to the house and carrying the shotgun in one hand pointed a loaded revolver with his other hand at the chest of Constable Lawrence. Constable # 28762 G. F. Paterson then raised his handgun and ordered the man to drop his weapons. After he hesitated, Patterson then pulled back the hammer on his revolver and repeated his order. Realizing the young policeman was prepared to shoot him the gunman dropped his weapons and surrendered. In recognition of his coolness and presence of mind Constable Paterson was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1980 – The detachment at Old Crow, Yukon caught fire as a result of a faulty hot water heater. #26320 Corporal Don G. Pittendreigh and Constable #34655 Mike S. Statnyk did their best to fight the blaze with fire extinguishers. With the help of local residents they managed to confine the blaze to the furnace room thereby saving the rest of the detachment.

1985 – Honour Roll 183

Photograph of Constable Joseph Eddy Mario Tessier (Reg.#37421).

#37421 Constable Joseph Eddy Mario Tessier was shot and killed near Gatineau, Quebec.

While driving to work in Ottawa from his home in Angers, Quebec dressed in civilian clothing; constable Tessier stopped at a minor motor vehicle and picked up the driver Andre L’Heureux to drive him to a garage. While entoute, L’Heureux pulled out sawed-off .22 and shot Tessier nine times. After the murder he dragged the body out of the car and continued on to Gatineau and robbed store. He was later arrested, and pleaded guilty and was sentence to sentenced to life in prison.

Mario Tessier was born in Joliette Quebec and joined the Force on December 21st and posted to British Colombia (‘E” Division) until he transferred to the nations capitol.

1993 – Constables #32487 / O.1712 Pierre-Yves Bourduas, #32996 Tom Spink and #38116 J.G. Richard earned commendations after they entered a burning house in Kings County New Brunswick to subdue a mentally disturbed person who had barricaded himself in the burning building.

December 28

1943 – Honour Roll Numbers 76,77,78,79.

Photograph of (left to right): Constables Terrence Watts, Edison Cameron, David Moon and Gordon Bondurant (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly 1946).

Constables #13064 Terence Graham Newcomen Watts HR76, #12856 Edison Alexander Cameron HR77, #13157 David Charles Gardner Moon HR78 and #12965 Gordon Bondurant HR 79 were killed in action near Ortona, Italy, while serving with No 1 Provost Company in Italy.

1966 – Commendations were issued to #15036 Corporal Wilf Reinbold and #24344 Constable Robert Swann for arrest of Fritz Riederer who stilled armed with his weapon had just shot his wife, in St Albert, Alberta.

1970 – Police capture the suspect FLQ terrorists, kidnappers and murderers of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. Paul Rose, his brother Jacques Rose, and Francis were captured at 04:30 am in tunnel under the farmhouse near Montreal they had been hiding out in.

1988 – Commanding Officers Commendations were earned by Constables #31076 W.J. Bussey, #36167 E.P. VanOuwerkerk and #38712 J.G.D. Leydier for disarming a mentally disturbed man at Stettler, Alberta.

December 29

1967 – The Canadian Parliament drops the death penalty for murder, for a five-year trial period. The death penalty remained in for the murder of police and prison guards.

Photograph of RCMP Commissioner

Photograph of RCMP Commissioner Maurice Jean Nadon (Reg.#13863)

1973 – Maurice Jean Nadon becomes the fifteenth permanent Commissioner of the RCMP after having served as acting commander of the RCMP. He serves until his retirement on August 31, 1977. Under his leadership the Force changed dramatically in ways never before witnessed such as allowing women and married men to enlist.

1976 – While the twin engine Beechcraft airplane he was a passenger in attempted to land in heavy snow on a frozen lake at the Stave lake Airport to it veered off course while and slammed into several trees. Trapped upside down in the burning wreckage Constable G. D. Johnson managed to free himself from his seatbelt and with the help of another passenger they kicked open the door and rescued all of the other passengers. They moved the nine passengers a safe distance from the burning wreckage, and waited in the freezing cold until they were rescued 12 hours later. For his courage and leadership Constable Johnson was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1982 – Corporal #31895 Douglas James Lockhart and Constable #36309 Robert Andre Vinet responded to a motor vehicle accident near Jacquet River New Brunswick and saved the life of the driver who nearly died of hypothermia. Both policemen were awarded Meritorious Certificates from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

December 30

Photograph of Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Source of photo Life Magazine).

Photograph of Sergeant Major Harry Stallworthy (Reg.#6316)  Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Source of photo Life Magazine).

1941 Winston Spencer Churchill arrives in Ottawa after his talks with President Roosevelt over strategy to win the war with Germany. In his Chateau Laurier studio, Yousef Karsh snaps this famous photo of a scowling Churchill by his cigar from his mouth when he didn’t expect it. In a speech to Parliament that evening, he quips, ‘Hitler thought that England would have her neck wrung like a chicken… Some chicken… some neck.’

1986 – While patrolling in the early morning hours near Thorsby, Alberta, #37469 Constable Ralph Cervi and Auxiliary Constable Ward Hum observed an injured man driving his snowmobile towards them. As he got closer they saw that he was bleeding profusely from his neck. The man had driven his sled into a barbed wire fence and slashed his throat. Seeing the passing police car, the injured man pulled himself off the fence and drove himself to towards the policemen in hopes of being spotted. The men immediately administered First Aid to injured man and then rushed him to the hospital in Leduc. In recognition of their efforts in saving a life, both men were awarded Certificates of Merit from the St. John Ambulance.

1997 – Former Chilliwack, BC Detachment members #29038 Sergeant David Logan and #32570 John Dykstra were found liable for civil damages because they ignored a drunk mans repeated refusal’s to go to hospital. Even though the men tried to convince him to seek medical treatment he refused, later when he finally sought treatment he was found to have depressed skull fracture. Though the policemen did their duty, the court ruled that they should have forced him against his will to seek medical treatment?

December 31

1928 – Honour Roll Number 49.

Photograph of RCMP Sergeant Richard Nicholson

#5611 Sergeant Richard Henry Nicholson was killed while conducting a search for an illicit still, near Molson, Manitoba.

A month and a half earlier Sgt. Nicholson and Manitoba Provincial Police constable John Watson had searched the home of William Eppinger who lived 4.5 miles north of Molson Manitoba. There they had located and seized an illicit still operation. The search and seizure was uneventful and Mr. Eppinger gave no resistance.

A month later Cst. Watson received a tip that Eppinger was back in business. He contacted Sgt. Nicholson and the pair agreed to meet for breakfast on December 31st and then tend to the illicit still.

Armed with an unloaded 45. Cal. Colt revolver and a Writ of Assistance (a personal search warrant) Sgt. Nicholson and Constable Watson headed to the Eppinger home in the minus 20-degree cold. En-route they noticed dark smoke in a heavily bushed area near the home and the pair separated to investigate. Sgt. Nicholson was the first to see Eppinger and noticed that he had a high power rifle leaned against a tree. Realizing his handgun was unloaded the frantically attempted to dig the bullets out of his pockets. Having been startled by the arrival of the two police officers, Eppinger rushed for his rifle with Sgt. Nicholson racing for it as well. Nicholson was the first to grab the weapon and proceed to hit Eppinger with the butt of the rifle on the head and shoulder. As the two men fought for control of the weapon the rifle discharged and critically wounded Nicholson in the leg. Cst. Waston then rushed to tend to his wounded partner and began applying a tourniquet to the wounded leg as Eppinger fled on foot.

Nicholson was transported back to the Eppinger farm and then Watson had to travel to a neighboring farm to find a telephone to call a doctor from.

Dr. I. S. Dubnov arrived at 12:30 p.m. and found his patient in critical condition, suffering from shock from caused by a foot long gapping wound in the front of the right thigh, about and a smaller wound at the back of his right knee. Despite the doctor’s best attempts to save his patient Sgt. Nicholson passed away at 4:30p.m.

Members of the Manitoba Provincial police captured William Eppinger the next day and he was brought to trial in Winnipeg for first-degree murder. After hearing all of the evidence the Jury was satisfied that there was not enough evidence to support the charge and found him guilty of the lesser crime of Manslaughter. Eppinger was sentenced on March 14th 1929 to serve five years in prison.

Sergeant Nicholson received a full regimental funeral service at the “Depot” Division Chapel and was laid to rest at the “Depot” Division cemetery on January 4, 1929.

Unbelievably the Mounted police sent Nicholson wife Maggie a bill for his uniform and kit. Nearly 50 years later Maggie passed away and is buried beside her husband in Regina. Check the tribute article on Sgt. Richard Nicholson here.

RCMP members involved in the Albert Johnson investigation) - Left to right) Constable A. W. King, was wounded; Mr. Hutchinson; Corporal Hall; unknown; Mr. Melville; Corporal R. S. Wild; Constable E. "Newt" Millen, was killed and unknown member (Source of photo - Glenbow Institute)

RCMP members involved in the Albert Johnson investigation  (Left to right) Constable A. W. King, was wounded; Mr. Hutchinson; Corporal Hall; unknown member; Mr. Melville; Corporal R. S. Wild; Constable E. “Newt” Millen, was killed and unknown member (Source of photo – Glenbow Institute)

1931 – After reports were received from local Louchoux Indians that they had been threatened by a recluse trapper who lived 80 miles south of Aklavik, NWT Detachment commander #9669 Constable Edgar Millen sent Constable #10211 Alfred Wheldon “Buns” King and Special Constable Joseph Bernard on December 26 to investigate. When they arrived at the cabin of Albert Johnson they found smoke coming out of his chimney but he refused to answer the door. The two men then traveled by dog sled 80 miles to Aklavik and reported their findings to the Western Arctic Sub Division commander Inspector #5700 / 0.209 Alexander Neville Eames. He issued them a search warrant and then the pair along with Constable Robert McDowell and Special Constable Lazarus Aittichiulis returned to Johnson’s cabin to execute the warrant. When they arrived on this day Albert Johnson still refused to open answer his door and when Constable King approached the door he was seriously wounded when Albert Johnson shot him with a rifle through the door. The other three policemen returned fire and managed to get their wounded comrade out of harms way and then raced the wounded man as fast as could to the All Saints Mission Hospital back in Aklavik. Fortunately Constable King survived but the events that followed led to the death of Constable Millen and became one of Canada’s greatest manhunts known to the world as the “The Mad Trapper of Rat River” and even spawned a Hollywood Movie starring Lee Marvin. (See January 30, 1932)

1975 – After being called to a family dispute in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, #26497 Constable James H. Hill entered the house with the wife of the suspect. Upon entering he heard the action of a rifle and immediately warned his co-workers and rushed the woman out of the house. Taking cover behind a telephone pole he was confronted by the gunman who had come outside and was aiming the rifle at him. Ordering the man to drop his weapon the constable tried to reason with him. Initially the man refused but when warned again to drop the rifle or he would be shot and killed the man complied and was safely arrested. In recognition of his courage and actions in peacefully effecting the arrest Constable Hill was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1991 – RCMP pilot #29771 Staff Sergeant Brian Dick flying one of the RCMP Turbo Beaver’s with skis, was practicing touch and go landings on the frozen Paul Lake near Kamloops, BC. As he touched down the ice broke apart from the weight of the airplane. The plane was so severely damaged that it could not get airborne. Fortunately for the pilot he survived and reinforced the old saying that any landing you walk away from is a good landing!

January 1

1875 – #247 Sub Constables Frank Baxter and #228 Thomas D. Wilson were granted leave for Christmas and were traveling back to Fort MacLeod by horseback from Fort Kipp.

Both men had celebrated the season in style and had consumed their share of beverages were on their way back to their post when they were caught in a sudden blizzard and the temperature dropped. The severely frost bitten men struggled on and in hopes of finding shelter but did not make it. A search party found them and transported them to the hospital at Fort MacLeod but they died on New Years day and were buried at Fort MacLeod.

1885 – As part of Supt Sam Steele’s crew that were policing the construction of the CPR, #557 Constables Ernest Percival and #760 William Ross were camped at Palliser, B.C. located midway between present day Field and Golden British Columbia. During the night Constable Ross froze to death and became the first member of the NWMP to die in BC.

Photograph of

Photograph of the grave marker for Constable William Ross (Reg.#760) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite Database).

The unsubstantiated story is that the two men had some liquor and did a bit of celebrating on New Year’s. Ross was buried at the campsite and the railway and history moved on forgetting about the young constable. In 1953 Golden Detachment member #16721/O.795 John “Jack” W. White discovered the overgrown grave of Constable Ross on a hillside behind the oil storage tanks in the Canadian Pacific Railway yards at Golden. Constable White then wrote to Ottawa and made a request to have the grave moved to Golden Cemetery. In 1955, official permission was granted and #14891Corporal Al Jensen dug up the grave and re-interred remains in the Golden Cemetery.

1904 – While working in Norway House Manitoba, located 456 kilometers (285 miles) north of Winnipeg, #1714 Cpl. David Bennett “Daisy” Smith was promoted to Sergeant in recognition of his outstanding service and commitment to duty.
The isolated community was stricken by an outbreak of diphtheria and scarlet fever and Cpl. Smith had to act as both a doctor and undertaker to numerous residents who were taken ill. Sgt. Smith served from 1885 to 1910 and died in 1942 at Melfort Sask.

1935 – The Criminal Code of Canada is amended, requiring the registration of all pistols and revolvers. As a result the Firearms Section was established at RCMP headquarters and within two years, there were 150,000 records on file.

1938 – #10570 Cpl. Robert Christy loses all his effects in fire at Fort MacPherson, NWT.

1947 – Canadian Citizenship Act comes into effect, officially creating Canadian citizens; Canadian citizenship becomes paramount to being a British subject.

1995 – The Abbotsford B.C. Detachment headed by #23563 S/Sgt Franklin Stacey closes its doors for good after the public votes to keep the Matsqui Police in favour of the RCMP. The new police force is named the Abbotsford City Police.

January 2

1884 – #3453 Cst Walter Samson Lee was fined $10 in Service Court by Superintendent Deane at Lethbridge for falsely reporting that he was sick. A tidy sum when you are making 50 cents a day.

1938 – The Hollywood movie “Death Goes North” starring Edgar Edwards as Sgt. Ken Strange is released by Warrick Columbia Pictures. The movie tells the tale of two Mounties and the son of Rin Tin Tin who join forces to solve a complex mystery where a lumber heiress finds herself victimized by two rivals who are after her land.

1996 - Photograph of Saskatchewan Lt. Governor Jack Wiebe presenting RCMP Corporal Bob Norman with his RCMP 20 year medal with Insp. Les Chipperfield looking on. Photo taken at the RCMP Chapel at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - Bob Norman family).

1996 – Photograph of Saskatchewan Lt. Governor Jack Wiebe presenting RCMP Corporal Bob Norman with his RCMP 20 year medal with Insp. Les Chipperfield looking on. Photo taken at the RCMP Chapel at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – Bob Norman family).

1979 – Two members save the lives of a suicidal man. Constables #32256 Robert Anthony Norman and #34776 David Willson respond to a complaint of a man standing on the girders of Pattullo Bridge ever the Fraser River between Surrey and New Westminster BC. While Cst. Willson talked to the jumper from the bridge deck below, Cst. Norman climbed the bridge girders 45 feet above deck and caught subject as he fell. The jumper was found to be drunk. Cst. Norman received a Commissioners Commendation for his actions.

1989 – After a man fell from a barge into the ocean near Nanaimo BC, Constables #38815 Shelly L. Mason and #37186 Gary R. Styles dove in and attempted to rescue him from the icy waters. For their efforts in attempting to save him, Constable Mason was awarded a Commissioners Commendation and Styles received a Commanding Officers Commendation.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner’s Commendation For Bravery.