Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

RCMP member stands at RCMP memorial (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 larryburden8@gmail.com.

May 29

Photograph of the Henry Larsen bronze statute in the Vancouver Maritime Museum (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1950 – The RCMP patrol schooner St. Roch Captained by Henry Asbjorn Larsen arrives at Halifax after passing through the Panama Canal from Vancouver becoming the first ship ever to circumnavigate the North American continent.

1986Commendation awarded to #26492 James Eglinski for the helicopter rescue of man in gorge, Gold River, B.C.  (Looking for more information

May 30

1973 – The Fort St James BC detachment received a complaint that 25-year-old Theodore Dionne was threatening people on the Necoslie Indian Reserve with a gun. Constables #29882 G.K Betker and #28057 R.J. Senft attended to the scene and when they attempted to talk with the man through a window, he pulled his revolver, pointed it at Constable Betker and stated; “the only way you are going to take me is to kill me, but I’m going to kill you first.” Dionne then ran out the back door of the house and fled into the bush.

Thirty minutes later the police received a call the Stuart Lake Hospital advising that Dionne was there threatening the nurses with a knife. When #18910 Sergeant Kenneth B. Bowron and Constables #23791 Alan C. Evans and #27918 Fredrick D. Larson arrived at the hospital they found the deranged gunman attempting to slash his stomach with the knife. At his feet was and axe and was wearing a holster with the handgun stuffed in it. After a few minutes of attempting to reason with Dionne, Sergeant Bowron made the decision to apprehend the gunman. Suddenly Dionne reached for the handgun and Constable Larsen slammed the barrel of his rifle down on the gunman’s wrist knocking the revolver to the floor. The three policemen then tackled the assailant and subdued him.

Theodore Dionne was convicted of pointing firearm and sentenced to four years in prison. Sergeant Bowron and Constable Evans and Larsen were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1975 – #25268 / O.1505 Joseph Bernard Gilles Michel Lemay earns the Medal of Bravery.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery that was awarded to Corporal Bernard LeMay (Reg.#25268/O.1505).

While driving through Westmount, Quebec, 30 year old Corporal Bernard LeMay noticed smoke coming from the upper floor of a duplex house and stopped his car. There he learned from a young boy that his grandmother was in bed on the top floor of the house. After calling the Fire Department LeMay rushed into the burning building and fumbled his way up the stairs through dense smoke and searched for the woman. While struggling to breathe he finally heard her muffled cries, coming from behind a closed door. Mustering all his strength he forced open the locked door and crawling on his hands and knees searched the room until he found the victim who had lapsed into unconsciousness. Corporal Lemay then picked her up and carried her out of the house to safety.

Shortly after he removed the women from the house fire fighters who attempted to climb the same stairs were forced back by the intense heat and flames. Sadly Corporal Lemy’s efforts were in vain, for the woman died in hospital a few days later. He later received a Commissioners Commendation for Bravery and on February 11, 1977 Lemay was presented The Medal of Bravery.

1982 – On this day #34104 Constable Dennis Wilson was accidentally shot in the face by another member. They had been involved in a pursuit of a car in Richmond, BC. After the suspect vehicle finally stopped, shots were fired. Constable Wilson unexpectedly stood up in a second member’s line of fire and was hit in the face resulting in loss of one of his eyes.

1984 – #32871 D.D. Quinton was investigating a sexual assault near Chilliwack, B.C. when he encountered the suspect who suddenly pulled .22 caliber revolver. Quinton struggled with the suspect who managed to fire two shots. Quinton was able to subdue and disarmed him without injury to himself or others. The suspect was arrested and eventually sentenced to four years for the firearm offence and two years for the sexual assault. He was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1993 – Campbellton NB, member #40745 Constable J. Léo-Charles Pelletier was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.

Pelletier a former welterweight (147 lb) boxing champion had been a member of the Canadian National Boxing Team from 1972 to 1978 with a record of 112-20 in international bouts. He was the Maritime Golden Gloves champion from 1968-78, the Eastern Canadian Gold Gloves champion from 1972 to 1976, two-time Canadian Amateur Welterweight champion in 1973 and 1974. As well he won a silver medal in the 1973 North American boxing championship and was named the New Brunswick Boxer of the Year in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

May 31

1902 – The in South African War (Boer War) ends.

7368 Canadians citizens served with a variety of British forces including more than 200 members of the NWMP. These men had received a leave of absence to serve in the war and most of them served in Canadian companies such as the Lord Strathcona’s Horse commanded by Sam Steel and The Canadian Mounted Rifles commanded by W. Herchmer. One member, Sgt. Arthur H.L. Richardson of the NWMP was awarded the Victoria Cross while serving with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (See July 5, 1900)

Seven members of the NWMP serving in the Boer War were killed in action; unfortunately their names are not listed on the RCMP Honour Roll. The men were:

#O.74 Inspector Thomas W. Chalmers, who was killed on November 2, 1900, while attempting his second rescue of wounded comrades. He was buried in South Africa. (See November 2, 1900)

#2431 Joseph R. Taylor, died of his wounds on August 19th 1900 while serving with 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles and is buried at Dornkop, South Africa

#3188 Herbert Robertson Skirving, was killed in action November 20th 1900 and is buried at Rhenoster Fontein, South Africa.

#3051 Gerald M. O’Kelly, died of Enteric fever serving with 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles on June 16, 1900.

#3165 Cst. Zachary Lewis, was killed in action on February 18th, 1900 while serving with the 2nd Special Services Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment at Paardelberg Drift.

#3369 Richard Lett, died of Enteric fever on July 21st, 1900 serving with 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles and is buried at Bloemfontein, South Africa

#3380 Harry H. Clements, died of Enteric fever on May 25th 1900 serving with 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles and is buried at Springfontein, South Africa

1911 – #3419 Thomas Nicholls was awarded $50 from the Fine Fund in recognition of his arduous six-month patrol from Norway House to Churchill Manitoba.

1936 – While attending a picnic with several friends on the Little Smokey River near High Prairie, Alberta four swimmers got into trouble and #11456 Constable R.H. Wilson swam to their aid. He succeeded in rescuing three of them but the fourth swimmer a Mr. Hunt drowned. In recognition of his courage he was awarded the Meritorious service Parchment from citations from The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

1944 – Honour Roll Number 83.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of Constable D.G. Stackhouse’s name highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#12108 Constable Donald Gilbert Stackhouse age 31 was killed when his motorcycle hit a Teller mine, while serving with the R.C.M.P. Provost Company in Italy. The 31 year constable hailed from Arnprior Ontario joined the RCMP in 1934 and serve in Ottawa, Regina and Estevan Saskatchewan before volunteering to serve overseas with the Provost Corps in 1940. He was buried in the Cassino War Cemetery below the Abbey of Mote Cassino, Italy along side 855 Canadian comrades.

1959 – Mountie Shot in the Heart and survives.

#15512 John Clark responded to a complaint of a fight on a native reserve near Coquitlam, BC. On his arrival, he was confronted by a man who without warning shot him in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. Constable Clark’s life was saved when another native, John Robertson, placed the wounded officer in his police car and even though he didn’t have a driver’s license, drove the police car five miles to the hospital. Doctors operated and removed the bullet from his heart saving his life. Clark who had joined the RCMP in 1948 received a commendation for his bravery and eventually returned to active duty and retired in 1974 as a Staff Sergeant.

1982 – The federal Governments Merit Award along with a cheque for $1500 to was presented to #22572 / O.1223 Corporal Michael Cassidy for his innovation and expertise in authoring a reference book on “Footwear Identification”.

1999 – #35096 Michael Beaudoin of the Yellowknife “G” Division Major Crimes Unit was wounded in leg by a shotgun blast.

Police were attempting to make an arrest at Baker Lake, NWT when the man began shooting at the police. The officers backed off and a tactical unit from Yellowknife was flown to the scene. During the standoff the gunman began shooting through the walls from inside his the house, striking Cpl. Beaudoin. Negotiations between authorities and the gunman continued on for 15 hours when 52-year-old James Warren Maxwell finally gave himself up. He was charged with a variety of offences including attempted murder, endangering life with a firearm, uttering death threats and possession of a firearm while prohibited.

June 1

1875The sod is turned at Fort William Thunder Bay Ontario and construction begins on the Canadian Pacific Railway. The new rail line heads west to Winnipeg running on the left bank of the Kamistiquia River. The construction of this railway opens the west and eventually goes all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The original troop of Mounties had the arduous task of trekking by horse and on foot to Winnipeg that lasted several weeks. Had the rail line been available their trip would only have taken hours.

1915 – #5199 Cpl Clifford Weight was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund for his meritorious service into the investigation of “theft of wheat” that lead to the conviction of the accused, Arthur Lohn.

Photograph of the Saskatchewan Provincial Police cap badge (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the Saskatchewan Provincial Police cap badge (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1928 – RCMP absorbs the short-lived Saskatchewan Provincial Police due allegations of political interference and the fact that province was near-bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

1935 – The Royal Canadian Post Office releases a new 10-cent postage stamp depicting a Mounted Policeman on a horse. This is the first ever postage stamp to include a Mountie on it, several more will be produced over the next 80 years, including one in 1999 that is a reproduction of the original.

1969 – During their ‘bed-in” at suite 1742 in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, singer John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono record “Give Peace a Chance” with friends Tommy and Dick Smothers, Derek Taylor, Murray the K and Timothy Leary. Earlier a brash student union president from the University of Ottawa named Allan Rock talked his way into the room and suggested he take John Lennon back to Ottawa to meet Canada’s new Prime Minister. John Lennon agreed and accompanied Allan Rock to Ottawa, but Pierre Trudeau wasn’t interested.

Two weeks later Lennon and Rock gave a press conference at the University and held a panel discussion on world peace. Afterwards Rock drove the Lennon’s around Ottawa and stopped by the Prime ministers residence, but he wasn’t home.

Photograph of Allan Rock (Source of photo - Wikipedia).

Photograph of Allan Rock (Source of photo – Wikipedia).

Over twenty-five years later the same Allan Rock is the Federal Justice Minister and is instrumental in pushing through sweeping legislation imposing tighter restrictions on handguns.

Shortly thereafter the RCMP upgrades their handguns from a 38. Caliber to a 9mm semi-automatic. Even though he was quoted as saying “I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers.” when the members of the Force asked for permission to purchase their old revolvers as mementos of their careers, the request was refused and they are advised that because of the new legislation the weapons have to be destroyed. The RCMP then offers to have the handguns laser cut in half so they can be mounted on plaques at the members expense they are informed that wasn’t permissible either. Alan Rock then went on to a new post as Canada’s Health Minister and over the objections of the Canadian Medical Association he pushed through legislation legalizing “medical marihuana in 1993.

June 2

1967 – The first recruit sworn in, as a member of the RCMP in Canada’s centennial year is #25366 Constable Eric James Suley of St. Johns Newfoundland.

1977 – The Guidon leaves Canada for the first time to be paraded in the 25th Jubilee Parade for Queen Elizabeth II. The Guidon colour party was made up of #15548 Sergeant Major John Walker Maquire, and sergeants # 21310 J.E. Dunn and # 20541 G.S. Olgivie.

1977 – The Saint John Ambulance Meritorious Certificate is awarded to #27639 Lindsay Jacobs for reviving an infant that had stopped breathing.

RCMP "E" Division Ensign lapel pin - $3.50

Photograph of the RCMP Ensign for “E” Division.

1991 – The Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Raymond J. Hnatyshyn presented the new RCMP Ensigns to Commissioner Inkster at a ceremony held at the Training academy in Regina. The new Ensign along with seventeen divisional and section Ensigns were designed for use in a variety of different public events. Check out the different division ensigns here. Prior to the creation of the new Ensign the Force only has its “Guidon” or Regimental Colour. (See April 13, 1935)

June 3

1980 – Thirty-five years ago today, #35982 Constable Larry Burden was sworn in as a member of the RCMP in Moncton, New Brunswick.

1912 – Honour Roll Number 38.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at "Depot" Division in Regina. The name of Constable Francis Davies is highlighted in red (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division in Regina. The name of Constable Francis Davies is highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#4837 Cst. Francis Walter Davies age 23 was killed by an Indian known as Mike Running Wolf, near Brooks, Alberta, while trying to arrest him.

After three drunken Indians in a wagon fired a rifle at two local men, the victims reported the event to the local RNWMP. Upon hearing the description of the assailant, Cst. Davies recognized him as Jim Ham a local member of the Blackfoot Nation who went by the name Mike Running Wolf. Davies saddled up his horse and tracked the wagon to the Canadian Pacific Railroad station and learned from the station agent that Running Wolf, his brother Pretty Young Man and a woman named Red Face who was carrying a baby had headed south. When Davies caught up to the trio he confronted Running Wolf and ordered him to turn the wagon around and head back to Brooks. When Running Wolf ignored him and drove off, Cst. Davies drew his revolver and fired a warning shot and galloped ahead of the team. When he turned his horse back towards them, Running Wolf fired at him with his rifle but missed. His second shot killed the policeman and knocked him off his horse. Running Wolf then climbed down from the wagon and stripped the constable of his gun belt, chaps and took his hat and horse and then rode it back to the reserve.

When the drunken murderer boasted about killing the policeman the residents of the reserve were shocked and appalled. They waited until he fell asleep and then tied him up and delivered him to the police still covered in Cst. Davies blood and wearing the items of kit that he stolen. Running Wolf was later convicted for the murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Frank Davies had only served in the RNWMP for three years having immigrated from Hampstead, England. He was buried with full honours at the Mounted Police Cemetery in Calgary.

1935 – King George V knighted James Howden MacBrien, the eighth Commissioner of the Force.

Photograph of Major General Sir James Howden MacBrien (Reg.

Photograph of Major General Sir James Howden MacBrien (Reg.

Commissioner MacBrien was one of the most accomplished men in Canadian history. Having retired in 1927 from a distinguished military career, Major General MacBrien was recalled to duty by Prime Minister R.B. Bennett who asked him to serve as the Commissioner of the RCMP. He led the RCMP from August 1, 1931 until March 5, 1938 when he died while still in office at the age of 59.

MacBrien was born at Myrtle, Ontario and first joined the North-West Mounted Police on April 7,1900. He took a free discharge to join the South African Constabulary in February 1901 and upon returning to Canada in 1906, he joined the Royal Canadian Dragoons. In the First World War he fought in France and Belgium with the 1st Canadian contingent and was twice wounded at the battle of Ypres and at the Drocourt-Queant line. At the age of 38 he became the youngest Canadian to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General and was place in charge of the 12th Canadian Infantry Brigade. In 1923 he was appointed as Canada’s first Chief of Defence Staff.

When he retired in 1927 he pursued his interest in aviation and became a founder of the Canadian Aviation League is considered to be one of builders of air travel in Canada.

Commissioner, MacBrien’s term as the head of the RCMP was just as impressive as his military career. Under his leadership the RCMP nearly doubled in size and became a truly national police force. He instituted the Aviation section, the Police Service Dog Section, the first Crime Detection Laboratory and a museum for RCMP based in Regina. He introduced the RCMP Long Service Medal and created a Reserve Force of 300 men across Canada trained to be ready for service in the event of a national emergency.

It can be argued that no Commissioner before or since had as much of an impact on modernizing the RCMP and preparing it for an ever-changing world. His service to King and Country both as a soldier and a policeman was exemplified by the numerous awards he received over the course of his life and included; being decorated with a Distinguished Service Order in 1915, awarded the Companion of St. Michael and St George in 1918, and given both the Companion of Bath and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1919 as well as becoming a Companion of Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in 1934.

Three years after his death, his 23-year-old son, Flying Officer Michael Desmond MacBrien was killed in a flying accident in Manitoba while training with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

1936 – Columbia Pictures release “Secret Patrol” staring Charles Starrett (best known for his role as the Durango Kid) as Corporal Alan Barclay. Filmed on Vancouver Island, the 60-minute movie has our hero go undercover to solve the case after his best friend is murdered.

1967 – Honour Roll Number 134.

Photograph of Constable Terry Tomfohr (Reg. #25214) of Burnaby RCMP Detachment.

Photograph of Constable Terry Tomfohr (Reg. #25214) of Burnaby RCMP Detachment.

#25214 3/Constable Terry Eugene Tomfohr was killed on duty at Burnaby BC

Constable Tomfohr had only been out of basic training for three weeks after being posted to Burnaby BC. He along with Constable #22949 R.W. Yakubchuk attended a late night complaint of boys throwing rocks at houses. While looking for suspects, Tomfohr heard some movement in the bush so the two members split up to search. Unfortunately Constable Tomfohr was unfamiliar with the area and when he ran after them, he unknowingly ran over 100-foot cliff in the darkness and died as a result of the fall.

On June 3, 2002 Constable Leigh Tomfohr attended the unveiling of a monument dedicated to his older brother and placed a rose on the monument.

1969 – The Masset Detachment on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia had to call in the assistance of members of the Royal Canadian Navy and United States Navy to detonate a Japanese WW2 ship mine. The mine had drifted in the Pacific Ocean for over 25 years and washed up on the beach on the west coast of Graham Island. Local helicopter pilot Jim McDougall was flying by and spotted the mine lying in a pile of logs. The Naval demolition team used a ten-pound charge of explosives to detonate the mine. After the smoke cleared all that remained was a crater 25 feet across and 15 feet deep.

1972 – Commendation awarded to #26946 Constable Gordon Manson of the Faust Detachment, in Kinuso District Alberta. Manson responded to a family disturbance where a man had ordered all of his family members from his house with shotgun. He was able to calm the suspect down and convinced him to surrender without anyone getting injured.

2005 – Honour Roll Number 218.

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Photograph of Constable Jean Minguy (Reg.#37655) (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly – Volume 70 #4).

#37655 Constable Jean (Joseph) Minguy, age 46, drowned when he fell overboard from an RCMP patrol vessel into Okanagan Lake at Vernon BC.

At approximately 3:00 pm, Cst. Minguy launched the detachment rigid hull inflatable boat on Okanagan Lake near the Vernon Yacht Club and as he increased the power to the engines he was thrown overboard and did not surface. He was wearing full uniform with kevlar vest, sidearm, ammunition but no personal floatation device. Members of the underwater recovery team recovered his body the following day. He had 23 years service with the RCMP.

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