Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP





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 #35982 Sgt. Larry Burden who 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

The following are Larry’s latest “This Day In The RCMP” listings.

July 4

1966 – Constables #21675 Cst Larry Robert Ivison and #21756 H. Barry McCombe were dispatched to complaint of shots fired in an apartment in Prince Rupert, BC. When the members entered the building a man pointing a .303 rifle at them confronted them. Constable Ivison calmly talked to the gunman and convinced him to put down the rifle. When they examined the gun they found a live round in chamber, two more bullets in the clip. After they took the man into custody they discovered that he had murdered a man shortly before their arrival. For his actions Constable Ivison was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

Photograph of the new RCMP Guidon

1973 – Queen Elizabeth II the Honourary Commissioner of the RCMP visits Depot Division in honour of the RCMP 100th anniversary and presents the Force with a new Guidon. The first RCMP Guidon was presented to #O.240 Commissioner Sir James MacBrien by Lord Bessborough at a special ceremony at Depot where it was consecrated on April 13, 1935.

A guidon is a military standard or flag known as regimental colours. Historically, regimental colors were a rallying point of a unit in battle and served to express regimental honour, pride and identity.

Different segments of military have Regimental flags which are referred to under different names and have different shapes depending on the type of military unit. In the infantry flags are rectangular and are called infantry colors, whereas regiments of horse (heavy cavalry) are square and called standards. Dragoon units use the term guidons and are smaller in size and are swallow tailed.

The word guidon comes from Old French “guyd homme”, a leader of horse, who carried the regiment’s flag. The names of battles and military campaigns that the regiment participated in are emblazoned upon it and is a testimonial to the deeds of that regiment.

In the world of military regiments the RCMP is unique in that it is a police agency not a military regiment. But because of its origin, history, customs and traditions, King George V designated the RCMP a dragoon in and authorized its regimental color, the guidon. The customs and traditions of regimental colours are unique in that it is not accorded the distinction of a color nor carried or displayed on parade until it has been consecrated in a religious service. When the color is replaced or retired, it is then “laid up”, in a church or chapel, after a special religious service.

When the Guidon is paraded it is only paraded by itself or with other military colors. The Gudion may not be paraded with other flags or ensigns.

The limited occasions when the Guidon may be paraded include:

  • the Sovereign’s birthday;
  • at the funeral of a dignitary entitled to a 100 member guard of honour;
  • at a change of command ceremony for a new commissioner;
  • at a ceremonial commissioner’s inspection parade
  • at an RCMP memorial church service and parade honouring members who have died in the line of duty
  • at other mounted/dismounted ceremonial parades as approved by the Commissioner.

The Guidon’s Design

The Guidon is a “dove tailed” red flag, trimmed in gold fringe. The current badge of the RCMP is emblazoned upon its centre. In the upper left hand corner is the Royal Cipher and the other three corners have the initials (RCMP) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its predecessor organizations the (NWMP) North-West Mounted Police and the (RNWMP) Royal Northwest Mounted Police.

Placed on either side of and below the badge are the honours for the five theatres of military operations in which Mounted Police members have served and died in battle. They include; The Northwest Canada Rebellion in 1885, the Boer War in South Africa 1900-2, France and Flanders in WW1, the Russian Revolution in Siberia 1918-19, and Europe in WW2, 1939-45.

1982 – At 8:30 am #30691 Constable Bruce Lyle Barkley MB responded to a house fire at Clairmont Alberta. There he learned that all of the occupants of the house had escaped except for 17-year-old Karla Aasen who was trapped and unconscious in her second floor bedroom. When the fire occurred her brother John and neighbour Donald Lloyd had put a ladder up to her room and smashed out the window and sprayed the room with a garden hose in an attempt to fight the flames. Both men had managed to pull Karla to the window but were overcome with smoke inhalation themselves and were calling for help. Complicating the situation was the fact that the fire had been caused by an electric fan that had melted and the electrical current was passing through the hose water and electrically charging the ladder.

Despite the risk Constable Barkley climbed the ladder while constantly being shocked by the electrical current and succeeded in grabbing hold of Karla’s badly burned body and carrying her down to safety. She was rushed to hospital with third degree burns to 80% of her body and she survived but her left had had to be amputated. Constable Barkley, John Aasen and Donald Lloyd were recognized for saving the life of Karla Aasen by being awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery from the Royal Canadian Humane Society and on September 20, 1985 they were awarded Medal of Bravery.

July 5

1900 – Sgt. Richardson earns the Victoria Cross

Photograph of RNWMP Sergeant Arthur Richardson taken at Fort Battleford Saskatchewan. Arthur was the first member of the Force to win the Victoria Cross. (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division).

Photograph of RNWMP Sergeant Arthur Richardson taken at Fort Battleford Saskatchewan. Arthur was the first member of the Force to win the Victoria Cross. (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

1905 – Honour Roll Number 28

Photograph of the original grave marker for

Cape Fullerton – Photograph of the original grave marker for Constable Joseph Russell (Reg.#4152) and is buried beside  S/Sgt. Murray Hayne (Reg.#769) (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

#4152 Cst. Joseph Russell age 24 drowned in an inland lake near Cape Fullerton, Hudson Bay.

Constable Russell and #4173 Cst Andrew Strothhert decided to go canoeing among ice floes at Cape Fullerton NWT. While paddling Constable Russell stood up and upset the canoe plunging both members into the frigid water. Both men were poor swimmers attempted to swim to shore using their paddles for buoyancy. Local native boys on shore witnessed Constable Russell struggling and then slip below the surface. Constable Strothhert managed to make it to shore alive and went for assistance. Russell’s body was retrieved three hours later by the detachment commander #869 Sgt Murray Hayne.

1932 – Honour Roll Number 52.

Photograph of RCMP Constable Leonard Ralls (Reg.#6177) (Source of photo - "In The Line Of Duty" by Robert Knuckle)

Photograph of RCMP Constable Leonard Ralls (Reg.#6177) (Source of photo – “In The Line Of Duty” by Robert Knuckle)

#6177 Corporal Leonard Victor Ralls age 44 was killed by escaping thieves, whom he was trying to intercept, near Foam Lake, Saskatchewan.

Corporal Ralls was stationed at the Foam Lake Detachment in Saskatchewan when he was advised that police from a neighboring detachment were pursuing a car of theft suspects. As Corporal Ralls attempted to intercept the suspect vehicle, he was shot multiple times. He was rushed to the local doctor’s office but died from his wounds.

Two of the three suspects were later captured and the third took his own life in a shootout with police after he had been wounded. One of the captured criminals man was late found guilty and hanged for the murder of Corporal Ralls. The accomplice was sentenced to a 15-year term for manslaughter.

Leonard Victor Ralls joined the RCMP on September 9, 1914 and served for 18 years until his death. He was buried at the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Prince Albert Saskatchewan.

1975 – Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker presents Sergeant W.R. Hoover of the Nipawin, Saskatchewan Detachment with his long service medal.

1996 – Constable Leo Tyler Francis, age 32 died as a result of complications that arose out of an accident at the Pioneer Days Festival in Oromocto, New Brunswick.
He was getting items out of the trunk of his police car when another vehicle struck him and trapped him between the vehicles. In his memory the Tyler Francis Leadership Award was created and monetary awards are awarded annually to students in the Oromocto NB area who best demonstrate leadership and promote healthy life styles.

July 6

Illustration of the first members of the NWMP preparing to set out on the March West

1874 – The March West began from departed from Camp Dufferin (Emerson) Manitoba. The two mile long cavalcade for the 800 miles march, west to foot hills of the Rocky Mountains consist of 275 members of the NWMP, 20 civilian employees, 310 horses, 142 oxen, 187 wagons and carts, 93 head of cattle, forges, mowers. When marching in close file group stretched 2.5 kms but usually stretched out over 5 to 8 kms. This was the longest self-supporting march of troops and personnel in British military history.

1977 – Solicitor General Francis Fox announces the creation of a Royal Commission to investigate allegations of illegal RCMP activities. The commission is headed by David C. McDonald and known as the “McDoanld Commission” leads to spitting the RCMP Security Section away from the Force and creating a new intelligence body known as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

July 7

1875 – While in Helena, Montana, #330A, acting Sergeant James Stanford attends a hearing before a Federal Court Judge and acts as a clerk in the extradition hearing of several Americans accused of being involved in the Cypress Hills massacre in 1873.

Photograph of the face and reverse of the King's Police Medal For Gallantry (Source of photo - The Sclaret Force Collectors website).

Photograph of the face and reverse of the King’s Police Medal For Gallantry (Source of photo – The Scarlet Force Collectors website).

1909 – Prior to 1909 no formal award existed for police officers, for acts of bravery. On this day the “King’s Police and Fire Medal” was instituted by Royal Warrant of his Majesty King Edward VII.

The medal was in recognition of acts of exceptional courage and skill or for those who exhibited conspicuous devotion to duty and was made available for issue to members of a recognized police force or fire department throughout the British Empire. The medallion had the effigy of the reigning sovereign and the reverse side had the figure of a helmeted robed watchman supporting a two handed sword in the crook of his right arm with a lantern on the ground b his right foot. The figure stands in front of a fortified city supporting a shield with his left hand bearing the inscription “To Guard My People”. At the bottom of the reverse side image are the words “for Distinguished Service”.

In 1933 a second division was instituted providing a separate award for acts of conspicuous gallantry. A second medal was designed and was the same as the first except that the words in exergue read “For Gallantry”. The second medal’s ribbon was blue with white stripes containing a red line through the white stripes.

The Kings Police and Fire medal was awarded in Canada until 1950 and only 52 medals for both categories were issued during that period.

Photograph of Thomas Caulkin receiving Kings' Police Medal from Prince of Wales

RCMP members who have received the Kings Police and Fire Medal include:

#04557 / O.193 Thomas Benjamin Chamberland Caulkin (Oct. 1919 For Distinguished Service on the Bathurst Inlet Patrol)
#05816 Alexander Gamman, KPM (See May 25,1925)
#06369 / O.283 Robson Armitage, KPM (See March 8, 1939)
#09577 Edwin Tongue, KPM
#10288 Joseph William Pooke, KPM (See April 20, 1945)
#11973 / O.454 Hugh Cecil Russell, KPM (See November 25, 1946)
#11979 Lionel Fred Muirhead Strong, KPM (See April 8, 1942)
#12963 William Harold Warner, KPM (See September 12, 1945)
#13610 Thomas James Keefe, KPM (See September 12, 1945)
#14056 Roy Chester Shaw, KPM (See May 7, 1946)
#16167 John Joseph Hogan, KPM (See May 8, 1943)
#16200 Eric Bruce Gillingham, KPM (See October 1948)

1979 – When constables #31324 J.R.G.G. De La Sablonniere and #32420 Frank Van Degraaf checked a suspicious man with rifle at Lundar, Manitoba. He loaded the weapon and then pointed it at Constable DeLaSablonniere and threatened to shoot him. The two constables drew their guns and after a standoff, the gunman was convinced to surrender. As a result of their courage and presence of mind the men were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations for bravery.

1983 – #35075 Constable P.W. McManaman earned a Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery after he rushed into a burning residence in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and rescued Mr. James O’Neil.

July 8

1995 – Honour Roll 223 – #31502 Constable Norman Harry Atkins age 41 was killed when his police car struck a moose.

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph (left side panel) at "Depot" Division and red block denotes the name of

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph (left side panel) at “Depot” Division and red block denotes the name of Constable Norman Harry Atkins (Reg.#31502) (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

The dangers of driving on many Canadian highways in moose and deer country are well known to most motorists. Moose are especially dangerous because of their size and their unpredictability. Many motorists have been maimed or killed when a large moose weighing 1500lbs, rushes across the road in front of them in the middle of the night. The collision often results in the front end of the car snapping the animal’s legs causing the bulk of the animal to crash through the windshield and slam into the occupants in the front seat.

Constable Norm Atkins was conducting a routine patrol on Highway 7, near his detachment at Westfield New Brunswick when a large moose rushed onto the highway at Finnegan’s Hill and before he could avoid hitting the beast he collided with the massive animal.

Constable Norm Atkins was originally from New Brunswick and had originally been posted to British Columbia in 1974 where he served at Kamloops and Williams Lake. He left the RCMP and returned home and joined the New Brunswick Highway Patrol in 1985. When the Highway patrol was shut down, he rejoined the RCMP in 1988 and served at St. Andrews and Westfield.

1999 – While on duty at Nelson BC, #46136 Constable Carol Kurbel responded to a report of a vehicle in submerged in the Slocan River. Upon her arrival at the scene she discovered that a 15-year-old boy was trapped inside the vehicle. Ignoring the hazardous conditions, she entered the river risking hypothermia or being swept away by the swift current she made repeated attempts to save the life of Vincent Christian. Constable Krubel received the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery and The British Columbia Award of Valour for her efforts.

July 9

1886 – The Government of Canada grants a general amnesty to everyone (except for murderers) who was involved in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.

1954 – Honour Roll Numbers 87 and 88.

Photograph of (left to right): Constable

Photograph of (left to right): RCMP Constable Joseph Sander (Reg.#14819) and Constable Ronald Bloomfield (Reg.#16141) (Source of photo – RCMP Gravesite database).

Constables #14819 Joseph Kasimir Sander age 28 and #16141 Ronald Charles Bloomfield age 23 drowned in the Red Deer River, near Swan River, Manitoba while on patrol.

Three members of the Swan River, Manitoba Detachment were assigned to assist in a search at the Red Deer Lake and had stopped at a forestry camp to get a boat. There they learned that the river was swollen and running fast. Constable #16669 Ernest Bonderud chose not to go in the boat with the other members and agreed to meet them at the site of a bridge crossing further down stream.

Constables Sander and Bloomfield got in the boat and preceded down the river, as they approached the bridge where Constable Bonderud was waiting, they lost control of the boat. The strong current swept the small into a bridge support, capsizing the boat and hurling the two members into the water. Both men were quickly carried away by the current and drowned. The body of Constable Bloomfield was recovered on July 13th but Sander’s body was not recovered until the following year when it was discovered on May 15th, 1955.

Constable Sander joined the RCMP on February 8,1947 and had over seven years service. Constable Bloomfield joined the Force on June 9, 1950. Constable Bonderud had also joined in 1950 and served until 1977 retiring as a Staff Sergeant Major.

1979 – Using a shirt and a clipboard as a bandage and splint. Constables #28154 Edward P. Walsh and #27821 Michael W. Nash saved the life of a man who received a shotgun wound to his arm. In recognition of their efforts they were awarded the Meritorious Certificate by the most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.