Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP yellow trimmed hat with KC 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

May 7

1946 – On this day The King’s Police and Fire Medal was awarded to #14056 Constable Roy Chester Shaw for his courage, determination and initiative for entering a burning building and attempting to save the life of an infant at Whitehorse, YT.

Shortly before noon a house fire broke out at a residence where the owners had gone shopping and left a seven-month-old child sleeping in his crib. When the mother arrived home she found the fire department fighting the blaze and hysterically announced that her child was inside. Constable Shaw arrived on the scene and upon hearing that the child was inside the blaze he attempted to force his way into the house, but was driven back by the heavy smoke. He then smashed out the bedroom window and jumped inside and rummaged around the room until he found the baby, and then leaped trough the window shortly before the building collapsed. The child was rushed to the hospital, but died a few hours later from burns he received in the blaze.

Shaw served in the RCMP from 1941 to 1961 and retired as a Corporal.

 1965 – Two Soviet diplomats are expelled from Canada for plotting an espionage network.

 1999 – Honour Roll Number 195.

Photograph of Constable Joseph Ernest Jean-Guy Daniel Bourdon (Reg.#35689)

Forty year old highway patrol member #35689 Constable Joseph Ernest Jean-Guy Daniel Bourdon, was killed after being hit by a tractor trailer, fifteen kilometres south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

At approximately 3:00 pm, the nineteen-year veteran was conducting a vehicle check on Hwy. #11, when a passing tractor trailer traveling 30 kilometers over the speed limit and too close to the shoulder of the road clipped him propelling him into the ditch. He was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries shortly afterwards.

Nathan Kletka, the truck driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention and for exceeding his driving hours for which he received a $3540 fine.

Dan Bourdon had spent his entire career in Saskatchewan, was married and had a daughter. He had earned his commercial pilots licence and was planning on retiring and pursuing a new full time career in aviation.

After a regimental funeral attended by over 600 police officers, he was buried at the Weldon Cemetery in Saskatoon.

May 8

1933 – Honour Roll Number 54.

Photograph of RCMP Inspector Lorne James Sampson (Reg.# O.281)

#O.281 Inspector Lorne James Sampson age 38, died from injuries he received during the Saskatoon Riot.

 Inspector Sampson was leading a squad of men who were trying to control a mob of unemployed protestors in the Saskatoon riot. The unruly mob began throwing rocks and debris at the police, striking Inspector Sampson in the head. He fell backwards and his horse bolted but his foot was caught in a stirrup. In an attempt to assist him, Constables #10140 Neville Cleary and #11745 Frank Spalding tried to box in Sampson’s horse to get it to stop. As the panicked horse ran between rows of posts, Inspector Sampson’s unconscious body swung in an arc and his head hit a post with such force, that stirrup strap broke and he was killed.

Born at Marksville Ontario, Sampson joined the RNWMP in September 1914. One year later he took a discharge to enlist for service overseas during WW1. He served as a Corporal with the 119th Battalion in England and was transferred to the 58th Battalion in France.

He rejoined the RNWMP in 1919 and was promoted to Sergeant the same year and was transferred to Vancouver where he served until 1932. He returned to Regina and was promoted to Sergeant Major in 1932 and was promoted to Inspector on April 22, 1932, just one month before he was killed on duty.

1943 – #16167 John J. Hogan, KPM Hogan earned the Kings Police and Fire Medal while serving with the Newfoundland Rangers.

1999 – Commendations were awarded to #36577 Constable Ed Lazurko and a civilian Mr. Sam, for rescuing a suicidal man who was going to commit man trying to jump off a 100-foot high Canadian National Railway bridge at Lytton, BC. Constable Lazurko grabbed the man and was suspending him in mid-air when he was assisted pulling the man back onto the bridge platform.

 1999 – #44633 Constable Paul Harvey Zechel and Auxiliary Constable Orsted received commendations as a result of conducting a vehicle check on Bear First Nation, Saskatchewan. When they checked one of the occupants of the vehicle they discovered that there was a warrant for his arrest. The man then brandished a knife, and then retreated into a slough and threatened to commit suicide. Constable Zechel was able to talk the man into dropping the knife and then arrested him.

May 9

1991 – Constables J.P. Berthelot and P.G. Muehling of Steinbach Manitoba received Commanding Officer’s Commendations after they entered burning and apprehended an armed and dangerous man.


1992 – Commendations were awarded to three members for their role in investigation the West Ray Mine Disaster near Plymouth Nova Scotia. #21413 Chestley Macdonald headed up the investigation to determine how 26 men working underground died. After methane gas explosion killed the mines rescue crews attempted to locate survivors. The bodies of 11 men were recovered immediately but after six days of searching the rescue operation was concluded. #31121 Harry Ullock and #36283 Corporal Mick Cashen were awarded commendations for their efforts in entering the coal mine and searching for evidence.

2009 – While serving with an international operations co-ordination unit in Afghanistan, 55-year old #36022 Sergeant Brian S. Kelly was seriously wounded when a car bomb exploded near the entrance to the Afghan Alliance headquarters in the capital city of Kabul. After surgery to remove shrapnel from his legs he was airlifted to Germany for additional treatments. He arrived back in Ottawa on August 22nd.

Almost 100 people were injured the heavily fortified area of the capital, killing seven Afghans. Sergeant Kelly was a 29-year member of the Force at the time and was serving on his, second overseas mission having previously served in the former Yugoslavia.

Ironically although the RCMP is still on Canada Order of Battle list, Sgt. Kelly was denied the Sacrifice Medal because he was considered to be a civilian and not military.

May 10

1924 – The Alberta Legislature votes to end prohibition in the province.

1937 – #11671 / O.389 Constable Leslie Grayson was traveling from Vermillion to Peace River Alberta aboard the riverboat “Weenusk”, when Earl Blanchard fell overboard. Without hesitating Cst. Grayson dove into Peace River fully clothed and rescued the drowning man.

1995 – Commendation #43125 Constable Tracy Ross for rescuing a suicidal woman from drowning. Ross witnessed a woman walk into cold swift waters of the Tulameen River, in Princeton, B.C. She ran after her and managed to pull the despondent woman to shore and then restrained her until help arrived.

May 11

1913 – In recognition of his bravery in his attempt to save lives of four men who were overcome by natural gas fumes in Nanton, Alberta. #5100 /O.206 Constable William Moorhead was awarded a Commendation for Bravery, the Canadian Humane Society Bronze Medal and $25 from the Fine Fund. Moorhead began his career in 1910 as a member of the RNWMP and retired as an Inspector in the RCMP.

1937 – #10711 Constables Alexander Unia and #11165 Joseph Kessler lost all of the kit and personal effects when the detachment building at Forty Mile, Yukon burned to the ground. Unlia was re-reimbursed $200 and Kessler $151.70 for all of their property.

1942 – The eleventh reinforcement draft to Provost Corps during WWII included; #13537 Douglas Buchanan, #13205 James Bedlington, #13784 William Dwyer, #13901 Ivan Pickerill.

1953 – Honour Roll Number 108.

Photograph of Constable Stephen Kasper (Reg.#16810) (Source of photo – Canadian Veterans Affairs).

#16810 Constable Stephen Kasper age 25 was killed on duty in a plane crash at Prince Rupert harbour, BC.

Constable Kasper was returning to Prince Rupert, B.C. on a Canadian Pacific Airlines flight after completing a prisoner escort. While attempting to land on Prince Rupert harbour the floatplane bounced twice on the surface and then nose-dived into water. Nearby fishermen who witnessed the crash immediately rushed to the scene in their boats and secured ropes to the wings preventing it from sinking. Most of the passengers managed to escape on their own but one passenger was trapped in his seat and rescuers had to cut a hole in the fuselage to free him. The body of the flight stewardess was located still strapped in her seat but the section of the plane Constable Kasper was in had broken away and had descended 200 feet to the bottom. Divers and search teams on shore searched for ten days but the body of Constable Kasper body was never found. Though he only been in the RCMP for two years Kasper saw service in Rockcliffe Ontario, and Chilliwack, Agassiz and Prince Rupert BC.

1961 – While on patrol in Brooks, Alberta, #17377 Constable Christie Sirr McGinnis received a broadcast about an armed robbery in Medicine Hat.Shortly thereafter he saw the suspect car at service station in his detachment area. As McGinnis approached the suspect vehicle, the driver panicked and sped away. As McGinnis chased after the suspect he saw the driver point a shotgun at him so he backed off and continued to follow at a safe distance. The suspect, Reginald McCarthy made several U turns in an attempt to ram the police car, but McGinnis managed to avoid a collision. McCarthy then stopped his vehicle and got out and aimed the shotgun at the policemen. Instead of firing he threw it in the ditch and returned to his car and sped away. Constable McGinnis retrieved the 12-gauge shotgun and resumed his pursuit. Finally the robber stopped his vehicle and surrendered. For his role in apprehending McCarthy, 30-year-old Constable McGinnis was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

2005 – RCMP Vessel Murray is christened in Charlottetown PEI. The Commissioner Class Aluminum Fast Patrol Catamaran 21.62 meters in length with a cruising speed of 25 knots was built in Meteghan NS by A.F. Theriuault & Sons. Launched January 6 2005. Retired Commissioner Philip Murray and members of his family were present for the event.

May 12

1885 – During Northwest rebellion at Batoche Saskatchewan, rebel general Gabriel Dumont 1838-1906 and his Metis warriors run out of ammunition. They continue to fire stones and nails at the government forces before giving up the fight. During the battle #1312 Constable James Stafford is wounded in thigh and Dumont flees to US.

1980 – After Mr. W.P. Davidson overturned his small boat in the cold water near Albion Prince Edward Island an observer on shore called the police. The first people to respond to the emergency were Montague Detachment commander, #18138 Sergeant Winston Ogilvie “Mac” McTavish and Game Officer Walter Stewart. The pair rushed to the scene and rescued the hypothermic victim who was clinging to the side of his boat. The two rescuers were recognized with life saving awards from the Canadian Red Cross.

Supt. George Strathdee presents RCMP Corporal Dalton Watson with the Commanding Officer's Commendation (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly - Volume 49, No. 3 - page67)

Supt. George Strathdee presents RCMP Corporal Dalton Watson with the Commanding Officer’s Commendation (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly – Volume 49, No. 3 – page67)

1983 – Shortly after a man robbed the Toronto Dominion Bank with a .45 caliber gun at a shopping mall in Surrey, BC, the robber jumped into a cab to make his getaway. The cab driver discretely signaled #28170 Corporal Dalton F. Watson who was driving towards him. Corporal Watson observed that the passenger matched the description of the bank robber and alerted other detachment members. When the opportunity presented itself the police made their move and the suspect was arrested without incident. For his role in displaying admirable calm, which resulted in the safe arrest of a potentially dangerous offender, Corporal Watson was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.

1990 – A Commissioners Commendation was earned by #39827 Constable J.E.J. Gagnon who along with citizens, Marc Dagenais and Merlin Whyte apprehended a masked man armed with a sawed off shotgun who was attempting to rob a liquor store on Banks Street in Ottawa Ontario.

May 13

1933 – The new 65 foot RCMP Cruiser “Interceptor” was launched at Manseau Shipyards in Sorel, Quebec. Mrs. Hugh Guthrie the wife of the Minister of Justice christened the vessel.
1973 – Most East Coasters are familiar with the Dick Nowlan ballad called “Aunt Martha’s Sheep” in which the Mounties are called in to investigate the theft of an old lady’s sheep. In the song the little lamb ends up in the stew pot and the investigator partakes in the meal and the punch line ends “We may have stolen the sheep Bye, but the Mountie ate the most”.

On this day in Bristol New Brunswick, a woman’s pet lamb was stolen and she called the police. #28034 Constable Philip Norman Drake responded to the complaint and an hour later was diverted from his search to attend a motor vehicle accident. As fate would have it, the sheep thief in his haste to flee from the scene of the crime crashed his truck. He was arrested and convicted of impaired driving and theft. The lucky lamb avoided the stewpot and was return to its owner unharmed.

1981 – Medal of Bravery awarded to Constable John Ronald McIntyre.

After a man and a young boy had collapsed from gas fumes in a collector well directly across the street from the Detachment in Sherwood Park, Alberta someone ran over to the detachment seeking a gas mask and rope. #36211 Constable John Ronald McIntyre responded by grabbing a tear gas mask and rushed across the street not realizing his mask would not work in oxygen deprived environments.

The well had been installed by the County to collect fuel that had leaked into the ground from a nearby gas station. The six-meter deep well had a mixture of water and gasoline lying at the bottom and was filled with gas fumes. After a youth had fallen into the well and was overcome by the fumes, Mr. Leonard Komant climbed down the well and was attempting to hold the youth’s head above the water/fuel mixture when the fumes too overcame him. Without hesitating Constable McIntyre put on his gas mask and tied a rope around his waist and descended into the well. Shortly after entering the well McIntyre became dizzy as he attempted to remove the victims and he began to lose consciousness and had to be pulled to the surface.

Shortly thereafter he recovered and despite the danger he made a second attempt to rescue the pair. After entering the well a second time McIntyre fell unconscious and had to be pulled from the well again. By the time rescuers were able to reach the two unconscious victims had died.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

On December 2, 1982 Constable McIntyre was awarded the Meritorious Certificate from Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. On June 24, 1983 he was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Beechcraft-18 “Expeditor” aircraft at “Depot” Division in Regina (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

2000 – In recognition of the contribution to Canadian aviation the RCMP Air Division was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. Check out the details about the RCMP Air Services being recognized in the Hall of Fame here.

May 14

1885 – Honour Roll Number 13.

#973 Constable Frank Orlando Elliott Killed by Indians near Battleford, N.W.T., while on scout patrol.

Photograph of the RCMP "Depot" Cenotaph with the name of NWMP Constable

Photograph of the RCMP “Depot” Cenotaph with the name of NWMP Constable Frank Elliott (Reg.#973) circled in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

Two days after the battle of Cut Knife Hill, Constable Frank Elliott along with fellow patrol members #670 Sergeant John Gordon, and Constables. #544 Thomas McAllister, #619 Charles Allen, #776 Harry Storer, #865 Brenton Robertson, #969 Edmund Racey, and #983 William Spencer were conducting a patrol for signs of Chief Poundmaker’s encampment when they were surprised by an Indian war party. While fighting a running battle back toward Battleford, Elliott’s horse began bucking frantically and he was either thrown from or fell off his horse. After his horse ran off, Elliot took cover on a nearby knoll and although he was surrounded, the former member of the United States Cavalry continued to fight despite being wounded several times. When he finally ran out of ammunition his attackers shot killed him and left his body where he fell. The rest of the scouting party along with Constable Spencer who had received a serious gunshot wound in his mid section, managed to ride seven miles to safety. Frank O. Elliott had only been in the Mounted Police for two years when he killed. Father Louis Cochin a local priest buried Elliot in a shallow grave and then the body was later re-buried with military honours at Battleford.

1944 – While with serving with the Provost Corps in Italy during WWII #13826 Constable Peter Morris was seriously wounded when the Germans conducted and artillery barrage on the highway he was riding his motorcycle on. When the shell exploded near him he lost control of the bike and was thrown into the path of an oncoming truck. Morris suffered a severe concussion and a broken arm and leg. His injuries were serious enough that he was soon transported by hospital ship from Naples to England and then he was retuned home to Canada.

Peter Morris joined the RCMP in 1940 and after recovering from his war injuries he returned to active duty with the Force and continued to serve in the RCMP until he retired as a Corporal in 1961.

In 1949 he received a Commissioners Commendation and $25 from the Fine Fund for his role in saving the life of a downed bush pilot near Bonneville Alberta.

1976 – Former Commissioner L.H. Nicholson, invested serving Commissioner Maurice J. Nadon as a Commander Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.