Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of the RCMP shamrock MP and Crown (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

March 26

1885 – Honour Roll Numbers 6, 7, and 8.

#1003 Cst. Thomas James Gibson age 24, #852 George Knox Garrett age 24, and #1065 George Pearce Arnold age 25 were killed in action at the battle of Duck Lake, in the North West Rebellion.

After a rebel force lead by Gabriel Dumont 1838-1906 seized the trading Post at Duck Lake Saskatchewan an ultimatum was sent to #O.10 Superintendent Lief Newry Fitzroy Crozier telling him to surrender the NWMP post at Fort Carlton. Expecting a show of force would quell the rebellion Crozier lead a force of 56 policemen and 43 men from the Prince Albert Volunteers to Duck Lake. What Superintendent Crozier didn’t know was that the Rebels outnumbered them and were laying in ambush. The two forces clashed about two miles from duck Lake and the police and volunteers were caught in the trap and twelve men were killed and eleven more were wounded.

Fortunately for Crozier’s men, Gabriel Dumont was wounded in the battle and the loss of their military leader enabled the Police and volunteers to retreat back to Fort Carlton. Among the men killed in the battle was Cst. Thomas James Gibson who had been shot through the heart. He had only been in the Force for a year. Initially he was buried in a common grave at Fort Carlton with two other constables; # 852 George Knox Garrett HR7 and #1065 George Pearce Arnold HR8 who died the next day from wounds they received at the Battle of Duck Lake. Eventually the bodies were interred and received a proper burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Prince Albert Saskatchewan.

The following list includes some of the men who fought at the battle of Duck Lake:

Reg.#O.10 Supt Lief Crozier (wounded),

Reg.#339/ O.48 Insp. Joseph Howe (wounded),

Reg.#O.35 Surgeon Robert Miller,
Reg.#101 James Pringle,
Reg.#318 Wm Brooks,
Reg.#400 Alfred Stewart,
Reg.#425 Arthur Murray (wounded),
Reg.#433 David MacPherson,
Reg.#462 Frank Gribble,
Reg.#467 Frederick Fowler,
Reg.#484 Rouge LeFontaine
Reg.#487 Albert Montgomery,
Reg.#491 Alexander McDonald,
Reg.#516 Robert Carter,
Reg.#521 John Collins,
Reg.#525 Richard Dowsley,
Reg.#532 Thomas Gilchrest (broken leg),
Reg.#596 John Street,
Reg.#642 Archibald Cole,
Reg.#649 Frederick Dann,
Reg.#672 Frederick Garton,
Reg.#682 William Halbhaus,
Reg.#710 William Lunnin,
Reg.#730 Andrew McMillan,
Reg.#763 John Rummerfield,
Reg.#764 David Scott,
Reg.#773 William Smart,
Reg.#788 Orlando Worthington,
Reg.#850 Thomas Fleming,
Reg.#852 George Garrett (killed)(Honour Roll 7) ,
Reg.#854 Wm Perkin,
Reg.#897 Thomas Cochrane,
Reg.#916 Alfred Woodman,
Reg.#935 August Miller (wounded),
Reg.#947 Hugh Davidson,
Reg.#981 Thomas Hoyland,
Reg.#993 Edward Morrow,
Reg.#1003 Thomas Gibson (killed)(Honour Roll 6),
Reg.#1004 Thomas Redmond,
#1009 Albert Mountain,
Reg.#1012 William Nunn,
Reg.#1021 Ernest Todd,
Reg.#1034 Herman DesBarres,
Reg.#1045 Alfred Manners-Smith (wounded),
Reg.#1048 John Wood (wounded),
Reg.#1065 George Arnold (killed)(Honour Roll 8),
Reg.#1076 Henry Hetherington,
Reg.#1079 William Jackson,
Reg.#1082 John Edwards,
Reg.#1087 Whimpster Smith
Reg.#1099 Harold Hammond,
Reg.#1117 Sidney Gordon (wounded).

1977 – The Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is awarded to #29012 Constable Barry P. Bates for saving the life of Helen Vogt a victim of an automobile crash near Coleman, Alberta by applying cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

1988 – Constables #39476 R.J. MacLean and #37548 P.M. Delaney-Smith, were faced with a very dangerous challenge when they responded to a complaint regarding an armed intoxicated and mentally unstable man causing problems in a house at Ship’s Cove, Newfoundland.

The constables managed to apprehend the violent man without incident after they were confronted by uncooperative occupants of the house the man was in. In December 1988 Constable MacLean was awarded Commissioners Commendation for bravery by Commissioner Inkster.

March 27


1883 – Pile-O’-Bones is made the capital of the Northwest Territories, which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan and the present-day Northwest Territories. The name is quickly changed to “Regina” in honour of Queen Victoria.

1885 – The North-West Mounted Police retreat to Prince Albert abandoning Fort Carlton accidentally burning it to the ground as they leave.

1977 – Commanding Officers Commendation awarded to #25657 Corporal Kenneth A. Craig of Fort Good Hope Detachment for disarming and apprehending a mentally deranged woman. (Also See October 14, 1977)

March 28

1941 – Honour Roll Number 67.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina with the name of Engineer Daniel Everett Gillis (Reg.#12223) highlighted in red. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#12223 Engineer 3rd Class Daniel Everett Gillis age 32 died, when H.M.C.S. “Otter” caught fire and foundered, off Halifax, N.S.

A native of Cape Breton Island, Daniel Gillis served in the Protective Service for two years and became a member of the RCMP Marine Division when the Service was absorbed into the RCMP in 1932. Throughout his career he served aboard the RCMP vessels Adversus, Preventor, Islander, Alert and Alarm. When war was declared in 1939 he along with every member of the Marine Division was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and eventually he ended up serving aboard the HMCS Otter as a Chief Motor Mechanic. On the night he died the Otter caught fire and foundered in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean near Halifax Nova Scotia. The loss of the ship resulted in the death of 19 of her 41-man crew. Gillis’s courage in supporting other members of his crew after their lifeboat had capsized was later mentioned in dispatches. He died of exposure shortly before a rescue ship picked up the survivors. He left behind a wife and six children and was later buried in the Mount Olive cemetery in Halifax.

1964 – Tidal Wave hits Port Alberni BC.

1983 – Three members of the Whitehorse Yukon Detachment responded to an emergency call involving a woman floating in the water and ice of the Yukon River. #17964 Staff Sergeant John William Pringle, #29522 Corporal Robert Alexander Wheadon, and #30795 Robert Peter Dunlap rushed to the rivers edge and saw a woman floating near the edge of the ice. They immediately jumped onto an ice floe and attempted to rescue her. Cst. Dunlap was the first to reach her and he tried to pull the woman out of the water with a long pole, but due to her hypothermic condition she was unable to hold on and then disappeared under the ice. Risking to their own lives the three men probed the soft ice searching for the woman. Eventually, her blue jacket was seen through the thinner ice and S/Sgt. Pringle smashed a hole in the ice, and caught hold of her and with the help of Cpl. Wheadon and Cst. Dunlap the men pulled the unconscious woman onto the ice. They immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and continued resuscitating her until she regained consciousness. In recognition of their bravery all there men were awarded the Medal of Bravery.

1987 – On this day Constable #36440 Evan Graham was dispatched to a report of a drunken woman who was firing a rifle into the air in the community of Tuktoyaktuk NWT. When he arrived on scene he discovered that the suspect was very drunk, standing in the middle of a frozen pond and was swinging a rifle around in the air. Constable Graham then realized that the women was a former matron who had worked at the local detachment and this spot was where her daughter had been killed by an impaired snowmobiler a few years earlier. When she saw the policeman, she looked at him, pointed the rifle at me and yelled out “one of you f***ing Mounties is going to die”. Constable Graham was alone without backup and saw her try to rack a bullet into the chamber of the bolt action rifle but the bullet jammed in the rifle. As she struggled to remove the bullet the policeman used the opportunity to rush out onto the ice and tackle her. After prizing the weapon from her she was taken into custody without any further incidents.

A year later Constable Evan Graham was presented a Commissioner’s Commendation for his actions.

March 29th

1974 – Honour Roll Number 147.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Roger Emile Pierlet (Reg.#29984) (Source of photo – Surrey Detachment).

#29984 Constable Roger Emile Pierlet age 23 was murdered during a routine vehicle check in Cloverdale BC.

Two demented criminals; John Miller and Vincent Cockriell, spent the night drinking and ranting abut how much they hated the police. Eventually they decided they should go and kill a policeman and left Millers house in nearby Langley and hopped in their 1964 Dodge and drove to nearby Cloverdale. There they drew attention to themselves by squealing their tires, throwing a bottle through a window of the Justice Building and driving erratically.

After stopping their car on 176th Street and radioing his location and the suspect licence plate number Cst. Pierlet approached the vehicle. As he spoke to the driver John Miller, Vincent Cockriell shot him in the chest with a 30-30 lever action rifle. As the murderers sped away Cst. Pier let crawled back to his car and collapsed on the ground.

Pierlet’s backup officer #27648 Cst. William J. Mead, found Pierlet within minutes but he was too late to save him. He quickly radioed for an ambulance and alerted the detachment members that Pierlet had been shot. Several road blocks were quickly set up in area and the suspect car was soon found. A dangerous high speed chase ensued with speeds reaching over 120 miles per hour and the suspect’s plowing through a roadblock. The chase continued onto the Port Mann Freeway before the car was finally rammed off the road by Csts. #27652 Larry Misner and #29646 Blaine Everett. The cowardly murders quickly surrendered and were taken into custody.

Miller and Cockriell were charged with murder, convicted and sentenced to hang but in 1976 the death penalty was abolished so their sentences were changed to life imprisonment. By 1995, Cockriell was already receiving day passes from prison!

Adding to the tragedy Cst. Pierlet’s parents arrived in Vancouver later the same day for a visit with their son only to be met at the airport and advised of his murder. After a massive funeral service Roger Emile Pierlet was buried at the RCMP Cemetery in, Regina, Saskatchewan.

1978 – Commanding Officers Commendations awarded to Constables #27577 Gary Buss and #29982 Mike Barrett at Penticton, B.C. for alerting the occupants of an apartment building that had caught on fire. All of the occupants were able to get out safely except for one. The members entered the blaze and rescued the one remaining occupant.

1990 – Any landing you survive is a good landing!

#33880 Cpl.Peter Markgraaf was piloting a RCMP Beaver airplane CF-MPE when it crashed on take off from Fort Ware. Though the airplane was destroyed in the crash both the pilot and his passenger walked away with minor injuries.

2002 – Honour Roll Number 199.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Wael Toufic Audi (Reg.#45528) (Source of photo – RCMP).

#45528 Constable Wael Toufic Audi age 29 was killed on the treacherous Highway #99 “The Sea to Sky Highway” near Squamish, BC when he attempted to complete a U turn in his unmarked patrol car.

After identifying a speeding vehicle Cst. Audi activated his emergency equipment with the intent of pursuing the violator. As he began the turn the car following him slowed down, but a tour bus pulled out and passed the slower vehicle and broad sided the police car killing him on impact.

Constable Audi was a five year member of the RCMP.


1876 - Photograph of Louis Riel.

1876 – Photograph of Louis Riel.

1874 – Louis Riel sneaks into the House of Commons and manages to get himself sworn in as a Member of Parliament without being discovered even thou he is wanted for the murder of Thomas Scott and has a $5000 reward for his capture.

1895 – The Royal Canadian Humane Society Bronze Medal was awarded to #2976 Cst Linley Trustram for saving a man from drowning. While Constable Trustram along with another member and a civilian Mr. McEwen were fording the Milk River in a heavy wagon with a trailing buckboard, the wagon lurched into hole, tipping all three men into the water. McEwen could not swim and was saved by Constable Trustam.

1974 – Staff Sergeants #18283 Jack C. Lee-Knight and # 18302 Kasimir “Bill” Klama received a special honour when Former Prime Minister John Deifenbaker presented them with their Long Service Medals.

1980 – Around 9:00 Constables #33984 R.C. Steward and #34064 / O.1994 S.B. Burke responded to a report of a woman down in North Battleford Saskatchewan. Upon their arrival they found an elderly woman who was not breathing and had no pulse. The two policemen immediately performed CPR and succeeded in reviving the lady shortly before an ambulance arrived. Credited with saving her life the two policemen were awarded Meritorious Certificates from Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

2003 – The Commanding Officer’s Commendation was awarded to #37492 / O.2079 Inspector Peter Clark for outstanding performance during 2002 G8 Summit conference in Kananaskis Alberta. The G8 Summit was one of the largest security operations ever provided by the RCMP and was made more difficult due to the fact that it was held in a remote wilderness area.

2003 – The Commissioners Commendation for Bravery was awarded to #47938 Pamela Francis and #48393 Craig Beson for preventing a suicidal man with knife from harming himself or others at Fort McMurray, Alberta.

March 31

1959 – Despite Premier Joey Smallwood’s request for additional RCMP reinforcements to deal with a massive strike that had resulted in the death of Royal Newfoundland Constabulary constable William Moss. Prime Minister Diefenbaker refuses to allow the RCMP to send in the additional reinforcements and as a result of being overruled then Commissioner L. H. Nicholson resigned in protest.

1991 – The Commissioners Commendation For Bravery was awarded to #40132 Constable Kerry Petryshyn for rescuing an elderly confused woman from her burning house in St Stephen, N.B. The woman was Raili Ganong, a well-known member of the Ganong Chocolate family.

Photograph of RCMP Corporal Wayne Plimmer (Source of photo - Dave Mah)

Photograph of RCMP Corporal Wayne Plimmer (Source of photo – Dave Mah)

1998 – Two Commissioners Commendations For Bravery were issued to #30383 Corporal Wayne Plimmer and #43253 Constable Phillip Sullivan, members of the “E” Division (British Columbia) Underwater Recovery Team. The award was in recognition of the two divers risking their lives while searching under an ice covered sewage lagoon for young boy who had fallen through. The child was found but he died later in hospital.

April 1

1884 – Mounties put down mob riot on CPR line. While providing security on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad lie near Beaver Crossing, midway between Golden and Revelstoke B.C. #O.40 Superintendent Samuel Steele, #795 John Walters, #664 Frank Fane, #643 Thomas Craig and #333 William Fury. Had to face a mob when the when CPR workers rioted. The officers arrested one man, and constables Fane and Fury held back the mob as a rear guard while Walters and Craig escorted the prisoner to the police camp. When the armed crowd attempted to rush the police as they crossed a footbridge, Sam Steel armed with a rifle stood the mob down. The prisoner was later moved to Palliser east of Golden for safekeeping. He was fined $100 or 6 months in jail.

Photograph of NWMP Commissioner Lawrence Herchmer.

Photograph of NWMP Commissioner Lawrence Herchmer.

1886 – Lawrence William Herchmer becomes the fourth Commissioner and serves until July 31, 1900.

1918 – The Alberta government declares total prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

1922 – Honour Roll Number 45.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division with the name of NWMP Corporal Doak circled in red (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of NWMP Corporal William Andrew Doak (Reg.#4396) circled in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#4396 Corporal William Andrew Doak age 39 was murdered by an Eskimo prisoner who was being held for murder, at Tree River, N.W.T.

William Doak had joined the RNWMP in 1905 as a Bugler and worked his way up to the rank of corporal, spending most of his career in the Arctic serving at Herschel Island and eventually at the remote outpost of Tree Island. This was a period of time when the local aboriginal communities were strife with feuds over the shortage of women and wife stealing was a common problem. The feuds often lead to murder and infanticide. Shortly before his death Cpl. Doak and Constable D.H. Woolams had arrested two Inuit for the murder of five people. The prisoners; Tatamagama and Alikomiak were being held in the cells at the Tree Island Detachment when Alikomiak managed to get out of his cell. He then stole a rifle and went into the Detachment and shot Cpl. Doak as he lay sleeping in his bed. After murdering Doak, Alikomiak waited in the detachment and when he saw Otto Binder, the local Hudson Bay Store manager approaching, he shot him dead as well. When Cst. Woolams heard the shooting he rushed in and managed to overpower the gunman and take the rifle away from him.

Both William Doak and Otto Binder were buried at Tree River and Tatamagama and Alikomiak were later convicted for multiple murders and hanged at Hesrchel Island on February 1, 1924.

1923 – Commissioner A. Bowen Perry retires having been the Commissioner of the RNWMP and the RCMP for 23 years. He is replaced by Cortlandt Starnes as the sixth permanent Commissioner who serves until July 31, 1931.

1935 – The town of Flin Flon, Manitoba becomes the first municipality in Canada to contract the RCMP to provide municipal policing. The terms of the five-year contract, stipulated that a three-man force would be maintained in the municipality in return for an annual payment of $3,000.

1932 – RCMP absorbs provincial police forces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta and the Preventive Service absorbed.

Photograph of the RCMP Marine Section Tally. (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Marine Section Tally. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1947 – The RCMP Marine Division is created.

1949 – Newfoundland joins confederation and the RCMP assumes responsibility for federal policing. Sixteen months later the RCMP assumes responsibility for provincial policing as well and absorbs the Newfoundland Rangers into the RCMP.

1959 – Charles Edward Rivett-Carnac agrees to delay retiring and become the tenth permanent Commissioner and serves one year.

1960 – Montreal born, #8758 Clifford Walter Harvison becomes the eleventh Commissioner. Replacing C. Rivett-Carnac who had been Commissioner for only one year having delayed his retirement when his predecessor Commissioner L. H. Nicholson resigned in protest. Commissioner Harvison retired on October 31, 1963 and later published a book on his career entitled “The Horsemen”.

1970 – The rank of “Marine Constable” is discontinued.

1974 – The rank of “Sub Inspector” was discontinued.