Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

NWMP Manual (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 15

1885 – Louis Riel 1844-1885 surrenders to General Middleton’s troops ending the North West Rebellion. The 100 days war saw a total of 80 men killed from each side and cost the fledgling Canadian government over $5 million dollars. Real was later convicted of treason and hanged.

1921 – Honour Roll Number 44.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina with the name of Sergeant Arthur George Searle’s name highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#4995 Sgt. Arthur George Searle age 33 died when he drowned near Creston, B.C.

Sgt. Arthur Searle along with #8916 Cst. Claude Uren and #9504 Cst. John Burton were patrolling on horseback in an attempt to capture some whiskey runners.

When they arrived at Kootenay Flats near Creston BC they discovered that the approach to bridge over the Goat River had been washed out. The members decided to try and take their horses across the flooded river and with Sgt. Searle leading, they proceeded to ride them into the water. Searle’s horse plunged into a deep spot and panicked throwing him into the fast water and he was swept into a culvert. He desperately tried to hold onto the reins with one hand and the edge of the culvert with the other, but before the constables could save him the force of the water swept him away. His body was not found until three months later and he was buried in the community cemetery at Creston BC.

1932 – Monogram Pictures releases the movie “Mason of the Mounted” starring Bill Cody as Constable Bill Mason. The Canadian Mountie is sent into the United States in search of a horse thief. His only clue to the identity of the villain is a watch chain that was left at the scene of the crime. Along the way the Mountie makes friends with young Andy Talbot and when bad guy Calhoun hits Andy, our hero gets into a fist fight with Calhoun and in the scuffle Calhoun’s watch with the missing chain is dislodged revealing him as the criminal the Mountie is searching for. Our hero then sets out to bring in Calhoun and his gang.

1944 – Honour Roll Number 80.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Ken d’Albenas (Reg.#13678)

#13678 Cst. Kenneth Laurence d’Albenas joined the RCMP in 1940 and two years later he volunteered for overseas service with the RCMP Provost Corps. Having survived the Battle of Ortona, Lance Corporal d’Albenas was driving a staff officer on a reconnaissance mission probing the forward zone in preparation for the battle of Monte Cassino when their jeep was destroyed by a Teller mine killing them both. A few days later his mother Eva May d’Albenas back home in Valois Quebec received that fateful telegram advising her that he 27 year old son had been killed in action. He along with constables John F.J. Nelson and Donald G. Stackhouse (Honour Roll 82, 83) were buried in the Cassino War Cemetery below the Abbey of Mote Cassino where 855 Canadians are interred.

1957 – After a Department of Transportation employee collapsed at the bottom of a 40-foot deep well in Fort Simpson Northwest Territories. Three other men entered the well to retrieve him and were overcome with gas. #14307 Alexander Stewart descended into the well and tied a rope around each of the three would be rescuers and returned to the surface. Then they were hoisted to surface one at a time. When one of the victims began to slip out of the rope, #17748 Constable Arthur Trace descended into the well secured the rope and helped the victim to surface. The three coworkers recovered but the first victim succumbed to the gas.

May 16

1911 – As a result of an Order in Council, RNWMP Corporal #4480 Charles V. Wood was granted $500 for injuries he received during a lengthy dog team patrol in the Norway House district. Wood served from 1906 – 1910 when he was invalided out of the Force.

1914 – The Dingman oil well strike starts the oil boom in Alberta.

1961 – American President John F. Kennedy made an official visit to Ottawa where crowds of over 50,000 people line the streets to welcome him.

1976Staff Sergeant R.A. Sales earned a Commissioners Commendation for his actions in disarming an emotionally deranged man at Hines Creek Alberta.

May 17

1939 – King George VI 1895-1952, along with Queen Elizabeth and the royal party leave Quebec City for Montreal aboard the Royal Train that is comprised of two vice-regal cars and five cars from Canadian Pacific Railways and five from Canadian National Railways. The train is painted in royal blue and aluminum, and royal crowns are affixed to the running boards of both locomotives. For security reasons a second train, carrying officials and members of the press, travels ahead of the royal train by an hour and the rail line is shut down so no other trains are permitted to travel within this period.


Photograph of Constable Kenneth Gerald Kornelson (Reg.#23837).

1965 – #23837 Constable Kenneth Gerald Kornelson a recruit from Mission, British Columbia was accidentally electrocuted while swimming in the pool at the RCMP Academy “Depot” in Regina. When #23716 Cst. Brian Baldwin the pool orderly that evening witnessed Kornelson in trouble, he dove into the pool and pulled him to the surface. In the aftermath of the investigation, investigators were surprised that Baldwin did not get electrocuted as well. It was later determined that Kornelson touched an underwater lamp and was electrocuted.

His story was forgotten with the passage of time until members of the Mission Detachment gathered with others at his grave in the Hatzic Cemetery in Mission on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death. To date his name has not been added to the RCMP Honour Roll but thanks to the efforts of a Troopmate his name was added to the roll on the Peace Officers Memorial at Parliament Hill in the nations capital. – CHECK MORE DETAILS HERE

1966 – On this day 45 year old Paul-Joseph Chartier, attempted to blow up the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The mentally deranged former truck driver who had a hatred for politicians and homosexuals walked into the Parliament Building with several sticks of dynamyte in his pockets and watched the proceedings in the House of Commons from the gallery. He then left the gallery and went into the washroom and lit the bomb and was intending to go back to the House of Commons when it exploded and he was killed instanly.

When the Police searched his rooming house in Toronto they found several other sticks of dynamite and a number of writings and letters that he had sent to newspapers in which he stated his plan was to “exterminate as many members of Parliament as possible,” because of the actions of rich and greedy politicians and the government, made it so no one could afford to live and that he was prepared to die in the process. Thanks to a heavy wooden door, the blast was confined to the washroom which was heavily damaged, but no other part of the building was seriously damaged.

1970 – For over three hours a squad of men from the Nanaimo BC detachment led by #16431 Staff Sergeant Gilbert A. Perry had surrounded a house because a mentally disturbed man armed with a rifle and handguns had fired off more than 80 shots.  Attempts to reason with him had failed and tear gas had no effect on the suspect.

The man finally came onto deck and S/Sgt. Perry was able calm him down enough that Perry could approach him and remove a pistol lying at his feet and then take him into custody. Perry was awarded the Commissioners Commendation For Bravery and the City of Nanaimo presented him with Silver Medal for meritorious service.

Perry had been a member of the BC Provincial Police and joined the RCMP when it was absorbed in 1950 and he retired to pension in 1974.

1992 – The Medal of Bravery was awarded to #26701 Sergeant Robert S. Guthrie, who along with another citizen attempted to save three people trapped in a burning car near Millet, Alberta.

Sgt. Guthrie was off duty when he heard car crash and an explosion and rushed to the scene. Arriving at the same time as his neighbor who also saw flames coming out of the rear of the vehicle that had three occupants trapped inside the vehicle. They immediately ran over to the car and tried to open the doors and managed to bend the window frame of the passenger door enough to reach in and pull the driver out. Before they could free the other two passengers from the back seat, the flames engulfed the vehicle and the two passengers perished.

May 18

1982 – One of the oldest detachments in Manitoba is at Lac du Bonnet approximately 111 kms/70 miles north east of Winnipeg on the west bank of the Winnipeg River. In addition to policing the local area members were required to fly into the isolated communities of Berens River, Bloodvein and Little Grand Rapids and spend several days there because there was no permanent police presence.

On May 13, 1982 Constable #35164 Thomas W. Sutcliffe and Special Constable #S2445 H.N. Hughie Semple were dropped off at Bloodvein where they spent two days before flying on to Berens River. The pair was scheduled to fly back to Lac du Bonnet on the 17th, but bad weather forced them to stay over. Shortly before noon on the 18th the police received a complaint that a man was firing a gun into the air near a house, so the two policemen climbed into their 4 wheel drive suburban and headed over to the residence. They quickly found the suspect, 21-year-old Lawrence Francis Bear walking down the road carrying a shotgun. The officers came to a stop in front of the gunman and when he realized it was the police he began arguing with them, then raised his weapon and pointed it at the vehicle, alternating his aim between driver and passenger. Both policemen quickly exited their vehicle and taking cover behind the doors with their revolvers drawn they ordered him to drop his weapon. Standing only twenty yards away the gunman suddenly fired his shotgun at Constable Semple hitting the open passenger door of the police truck shattering the window. Some of the pellets from the blast struck Semple in the head and his right eye, resulting in Semple permanently losing the sight in that eye. Both policemen immediately returned fire wounding the gunman and quickly took him into custody.

Lawrence Francis Bear was convicted of discharging a firearm and using a firearm in the commission of an offence and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Both policemen were awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation and Hughie Semple continued to serve in the RCMP until he left the Force in 1988 and returned to his home community of Berens River where his is now one of the Band Councilors. Constable Tom Sutcliffe transferred out of Lac du Bonnet in 1986 and was later promoted to Corporal and eventually transferred to the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit in Winnipeg.

1996 – Commendation awarded to #36840 R. Doug Aird of the Whitehorse, Yukon detachment, for saving Patrick Malloy from drowning after he had jumped into the river while attempting to evade arrest.

2000 – The Public Service Outstanding Achievement Award was issued to #21259 / O.988 Assistant Commissioner Cleve Cooper.

May 19

1939 – Security was tight on Parliament Hill when King George VI (1895-1952) became the first reigning monarch to address the Canadian Parliament.

Photograph of Deputy Commissioner Emil Carriere (Source of photo - Raoul Carriere).

Photograph of Deputy Commissioner Emil Carriere (Source of photo – Raoul Carriere).

1943 – A Commendation is awarded from England’s Scotland Yard to #10700 / O.439 Joseph Raoul Rene Carriere for his assistance in an investigation of Canadian Soldier murdered in England. Carriere joined the RCMP in 1929 and retired in 1972 as a Deputy Commissioner.

1990 – Honour Roll Number 189.

Photograph of RCMP Constable Gerry Breese (Source of photo - wife of Gerry Breese).

Photograph of RCMP Constable Gerry Breese (Source of photo – wife of Gerry Breese).

17 year veteran, #30967 Constable Gerald Vernon Breese age 37, died as a direct result of injuries sustained from an RCMP motorcycle accident, at Penticton BC.

Constable Breese was responding to a reported stabbing when his motorcycle was hit broadside by another vehicle. He suffered serious head injuries and died on October 24th 1990, five months after the crash, from complications related to his injuries.

Gerry had recovered physically but suffered significant personality changes and battled bouts of depression.

Initially Gerry’s death was ruled to be a heart attack and not duty related. Through the efforts of his wife Jannelle who has since become an expert on the effects of brain injury related stress and accelerated heart disease, the Canadian Pension Commission reversed their decision and his death was ruled duty related. Janelle Breese-Biagioni research and work in the area of brain injures inspired her to write a book about the problems of brain injuries. “A Change of Mind” published by New Canada Publications. Gerry and Janelle had been married for 14 years and had two young daughters.

May 20

1969 –26 year old Constables #23075 Arnold Cameron Reid and #26707 David Nels Sigvaldson, responded to a report of man in alley with rifle in Powell River, BC. When the officers arrived they found themselves being threatened with a shotgun. When the suspect pointed the rifle at a civilian, Constable Reid rushed him pushing barrel skyward. In the process the shotgun discharged and with the help of Constable Sigvaldson the suspect was overpowered and arrested. The Commissioners Commendation was awarded to Cst. Reid and a Commanding Officers Commendation was awarded to Cst. Sigvaldson.

1972 – It wasn’t that long ago that a man in the Mounted Police could not marry until he had enough service and money in the bank. Even into the 1980’s members of the Force had to get permission from their Officer Commanding (OC) to marry. What is less known is the fact that the OC also had the power to perform the marriage ceremony as well! This was the case at Whitehorse Yukon, when on this day the Officer Commanding Whitehorse Sub Division, #16140 / O.579 Inspector Guy Marcoux officiated at the marriage of #25596 Constable J.R. Card of Carcross Detachment and Miss Valerie Newton.

1972 - Photograph of RCMP Staff Sergeant H.T. Laing with Governor General Micherner (RCMP Quarterly - April 1973 - Volume 38 - No. 2)

1972 – Photograph of RCMP Staff Sergeant H.T. Laing with Governor General Micherner (RCMP Quarterly – April 1973 – Volume 38 – No. 2)

1972 – #15085 Staff Sergeant Hamish T. “Jim” Laing is invested as a Serving Brother in The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John by the Governor General Roland Mitchner at a ceremony at Government House in Ottawa.

May 21

1923 – Prohibition comes into effect in Prince Edward Island.

1937 – Commendation awarded to #12705 Constable Ainsile Kenneth Bond for his investigation of a theft, at Springdale, Sask.

Bond joined the Force in 1935 and retired in 1963 as a Sergeant.

1986 – Commendations were awarded to #29874 B. Wesley Luloff and #36632 Constable Stephen Raine for the arrest of an armed man in Norman Wells, NWT who was shooting at them.

May 22

1922 – The Coast Guard Ship “Arctic” departs for the far north with ten members of the RCMP who are dispatched to establish detachments on Ellesmere & Bylot Islands. Included are #4314 / O.194 Inspector Charles Wilcox with Constables #4919 Alfred Joy, #6296 James Wight, #8608 Finley McInnes, #9454 Bernard Jakeam, #8610 Hugh Friel, #9520 Charles Fairman, #9521 Leonard Fielder, #9613 Henry Must & #9754 Herbert Lee. These are the most northerly posts in the Canadian Arctic and the establishment of posts there is a direct response to government concerns over challenges to Arctic sovereignty from the USA and Denmark. Some of these extra ordinary adventurer policemen go onto to accomplish fantastic feats of endurance in patrolling the most isolated and northern reaches of Canada.

1940 – Honour Role Number 65.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division with the name of Constable Frederick Gordon Counsell (Reg.#

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of Constable Frederick Gordon Counsell (Reg.#11298) circled in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#11298 Constable Frederick Gordon Frank Counsell age 31 was shot and killed at Parkland, Alberta, by 60 year Charles Hansen, who was wanted for the shooting of his son.

The Lethbridge Alberta police received information that Charles Hansen had supposedly shot his son and fled to nearby Parkland. After confirming the murder they contacted the detachment in Parkland and advised them of the murder and requested members check and see if the suspect was at his house.

#11331 Cpl. William H. Wilson accompanied by #11298 Cst. Frederick Counsell attended to Hansen’s address and upon their arrival, Hansen opened fire on the two police officers from inside his house. Cpl. Wilson called for back up and shortly thereafter #8054 Staff Sergeant George Harvey rushed to the scene. The members then fired tear gas into the house and after a long wait with no action they cautiously entered the residence. As Cst. Counsell began climbing the stairway to the attic, Hansen suddenly appeared and shot him in the head and killed him. Soon after, Cst. John Bull observed Hansen through a window and promptly shot and wounded him in the chest. Hansen disappeared from view and shortly thereafter a second shot was heard. When the remaining officers entered the house entered they discovered that Hansen had shot himself. Follow-up investigation revealed that Hansen had previously served a prison term in Minnesota for the killing of his mother.
Hundreds of people from all over Alberta attended Constable Frederick Counsell’s funeral at the St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Lethbridge. The former carpenter from Vancouver BC was buried in the RCMP plot at the St. Augustine’s Anglican Church cemetery having served eight years in the RCMP.

1944 – Honour Roll Number 82.#12398 Constable John (Jack) Francis Nelson age 33 was killed in action in WWII, while serving in the R.C.M.P. Provost Corps in Italy.

Photograph of Constab

Photograph of Constable John Francis Nelson (Reg.#12398) (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly – Volume 12).

On the day he was killed the Halifax native was directing traffic at an intersection on the main north / south highway south of Rome known the “Heart Route”. Due to the allied push north through Italy the road was constantly congested with military traffic, infantry and long lines of prisoners of war. As he was ding his best to keep the flow of traffic moving the Germans launched an artillery barrage and a 88mm shell burst beside Constable Nelson’s jeep killing him instantly.

The graduate of St. Mary’s University had enlisted in the RCMP in 1934 and volunteered to serve with the RCMP Provost Corps in 1941. He lays buried in the Cassino War Cemetery, at the Abbey of Monte Cassino Italy.

1986 – The 16 member Emergency Response Team (ERT) from Newfoundland were mobilized and were sent on a chase across the Atlantic Ocean to apprehend two Spanish fishing trawlers. At 02:15 AM Fisheries officers from the patrol vessel “Cape Roger” had boarded the Spanish trawlers “Amelia Meirama” and “Julio Molina” and arrested the Captains for illegal fishing within Canada’s 200 mile limit and ordered the ships to return to St. Johns. Instead of complying the Captains ordered the officers off their ships and when they refused to leave the two vessels departed at full speed headed for Spain. Two days later the pursuit vessel “Leonard J. Cowley” caught up to the Spanish Trawlers 300 miles from the Azores Island and after the Captains again refused to stop, the ERT members went into action. Four Zodiac’s with ERT members and divers were launched and soon overtook the trawlers. After thunder flashes were thrown aboard, the Spanish crewmembers ran below and the ERT teams using boarding ladders scrambled aboard and arrested the crews and their Captains at gunpoint. The shops were turned around and 72 hours later arrived back in St. Johns where 200,000 pounds of salt cod was unloaded and the ships were seized and the crew flown home to Spain. Eventually the matter came to court and the total fines levied were only $150,000.