Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP books and carving




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

January 11

1815 & 1891 – Two Canadian Prime Ministers share the same birthday today; Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander MacDonald 1815 -1891 and its twentieth, Jean Chrétien 1934.

1983 – After responding to the scene of an accident involving an overturned car in a water filled ditch on the Trans Canada Highway near Chilliwack BC. Sumas Highway Patrol Constable Dale J.C. Hanson learned that the victim, Mr. Wayne Becker had been pulled from the vehicle by three civilians and they were attempting to revive him using CPR. Constable Hansen relieved the exhausted nurse Joanne Toews and continued performing CPR and succeeded in reviving him shortly before the ambulance arrived. Meritorious Certificates from The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem to Grant Stamford, Joanne and David Towes and Constable Hanson.

1985 – Tenacity and perseverance are the qualities that make a good policeman, and these qualities were demonstrated by #22268 Staff Sergeant Paul Michael Omilon of the Forensic Laboratory in Winnipeg.

He wasn’t satisfied with the investigative results of a shooting at Fort Smith NWT where police officers had believed the story that a man had been shot in the chest by his wife after an argument and that she then killed herself. Refusing to believe the theory and through painstaking work utilizing numerous photographs and radiographs of the victims wounds along with band blood spatter patterns he proved that she had been shot twice in the head and that the man had shot himself to make it appear that he was the victim. Due to Omilion’s efforts the man confessed and was convicted of murder. Staff Sergeant Paul Omilion was awarded a Commissioners Commendation for Outstanding Service.

1990 – After a child had fallen through the ice on Bissett Lake in Halifax County NS, #33549 Constable R.W. Pattison dove under the ice and searching in the frigid blackness located the child’s body and returned him to the surface. Unfortunately the child died in the hospital the next day. In recognition of his selfless courage Constable Pattison was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner’s Commendation For Bravery.

January 12

1960 – Honour Roll Number 100.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Colin Eric Lelliott (Reg.#19731) – Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly 25 – 4).

#19731 Constable Colin Eric Lelliott age 21 was shot and killed at Cambridge Bay, N.W.T., while attempting to arrest an escaped prisoner.

Cst. Lelliott had been in the RCMP for nearly three years when he was transferred to Cambridge Bay. The small detachment consisted of a Corporal and two constables and had no jail. Prisoners slept on the couch in the same building as the two constables and the Corporal and his family resided in a second building. For several days a notorious Inuit prisoner; Jimmy Ayalik slept on the couch awaiting his day in court for “Assault Causing Bodily Harm with intent to Kill”. While he was there he had ample time to observe where the members kept their weapons and ammunition.

On January 12th, Ayalik appeared in court and was released on his own recognizance, whereupon he promptly got drunk and made advances towards a local woman. The woman’s husband didn’t appreciate his behavior and the two began to argue and fight but continued to drink and fight throughout the night. In the morning the woman went to the report the matter to the police, #15293 Cpl. Robert “Bob” Milmine was busy, so he sent Cst. Lelliott to deal with the matter. Ayalik put up such a fight with the young policeman that Cpl. Milmine had to be sent for to assist. Finally the two policemen got him under control and dragged him back to the detachment and made him lie down on the couch and sleep himself sober. When the corporal left the building Jimmy Ayalik jumped Cst. Lelliott and stabbed him with a knife and then ran out of the building. The two policemen then chased the assailant towards the sea ice but as they closed in on him Cpl. Milmine realized that Ayalik had a rifle and as he shouted a warning to Cst. Lelliott, Jimmy Ayalik turned

and fired a hip shot that struck Lelliott in the arm and passed into his chest. Cpl. Milmine rushed his mortally wounded partner to the local nursing station but he died shortly thereafter. Then Cpl. Milmine and #19345 Cst. Dominick French and Inuit guide Sammy Anouyak tracked the murder over two miles where his threw down his rifle and gave himself up. When they examined the rifle and ammunition they discovered that it had been stolen from the detachment.

While awaiting his trial for the murder of Cst. Lelliot, Jimmy Ayalik’s first victim died, but Crown Counsel only proceeded on the charge of murdering the policeman. Much to the dismay of the community Jimmy Ayalik only received a five-year sentence. When he was released from prison he committed his third murder.

Constable Colin Eric Lelliott was given a military funeral and lies buried in Hatley Memorial Gardens in Colwood British Columbia.

2003 – While off duty #33829 Staff Sergeant Joseph Marcel Norman Boucher responded to the cries for help from two people whose snowmobile broke through the ice on the Rideau River in Manotick, Ontario. Grabbing a ladder he ran down to the river and crawled out to the victims on the thin ice and succeeded in grabbing onto the woman while lying on the ladder. After dragged her to shore he crawled back out onto the ice and lying in several inches of freezing water he made several attempts to reach the second victim and managed to grab onto him after the ladder slid further into the water as the began to break away. Though he was becoming hypothermic himself, he refused to let go of the man and held onto him until other rescuers could reach them with a rope and drag them back to safety. Unfortunately the second victim did not survive the ordeal.

January 13

1947 – Great Britain’s Privy Council rules that Canada is within its rights in passing legislation making the Supreme Court of Canada the final court of appeal.

1961 – Shortly after midnight the RCMP received a report that a man was climbing up the bridge structure on the Pattullo Bridge which spans the Fraser River between Surrey and New Westminster BC.

When Constables #20836 Robert Laurence Marshall and #20602 Gary Michael Bell arrived on the scene the man had climbed 75 feet up the bridge superstructure and was threatening to jump over 200 feet to the river below. The two constables then climbed up the superstructure and Marshall proceeded to try and talk the man down. Their supervisor #11105 Sgt. J. Brucker arrived on scene and took charge of things below as well as climbing up the structure several times to counsel the 22 year old policemen. When the man began to climb higher Constable Bell climbed 20 feet higher than the deranged man and succeeded in discouraging him from climbing any further. While Constable Marshall talked to the distraught man, the two policemen remained perched in their precarious positions for over an hour and eventually succeeded in convincing him to come down to the bridge deck In recognition of their courage both constables were awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.

1977 – At 7:70 pm North Vancouver BC Dog Master Constable James G. Brewer left his house with his police dog “Bandit” to start his shift. Less than an hour later members of a surveillance team observed two local criminals carrying two rifles and a revolver enter the house the team was watching. Shortly thereafter the suspects left in their car so team members followed them in unmarked cars and eventually stopped and arrested them. A search of the vehicle recovered the two rifles but the revolver could not be found. After obtaining a search warrant for the house the team members called Constable Brewer and asked for his assistance. At 10:40 pm Brewer and Bandit searched the house and much to his shock and amazement he eventually located a shotgun and a rifle that looked very familiar. They then found an RCMP “Sam Brown” belt and holster and eventually his own service revolver in the pocket of a prostitute’s coat. (Dog masters are issued snub nose revolvers for operational duty) Constable Brewer then rushed home and discovered that his house had been broken into 15 minutes after he left for work and his original issue revolver and personal hunting weapons had been stolen.

1985 – Honour Roll Number 176.

photo of RCMP Cst. Allen Garry Giesbrecht.

Photograph of RCMP Cst. Allen Garry Giesbrecht (Reg.#30318) (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly Magazine Spring 1985).

#30318 Cst. Allen Gary Giesbrecht age 32 was shot and killed, while investigating a domestic dispute, at Vegreville, Alberta.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. four members of the Vegreville Detachment responded to the scene of complaint where a neighbour had been threatened by a well known unstable man armed with a shotgun. Forty-four year old Tom Zaiec was no stranger to the police and had a lengthy history of erratic behavior and hatred towards the cops. When constables #29757 Kimberly Connell, Allen Giesbrecht, #25537 Cornelius Kikkert and #25537 Bob Pike arrived they found the house locked and even though they could see Zaiec’s mother sitting at the kitchen table, they couldn’t get anyone to answer the door. The four constables then forced their way into the house and located Zaiec in his darkened bedroom at the back of the house.

The elderly woman was found to be alive but was muttering incoherently and proceeded to wander around the house aimlessly as the officers tried repeatedly to get Zaiec to come out of his room. When Cst. Giesbrecht attempted to peek around the corner he was a shot with .270 caliber rifle striking him on the right side of the chest between the flaps of his body amour. As the other officers exchanged gunfire with Zaiec Cst. Giesbrecht stumbled back into the kitchen and collapsed mortally wounded and then Cst. Kikkert was wounded as well.

Unfortunately the members could not extricate Giesbrecht from the scene for nearly an hour, due to the gunman’s heavy firepower. When he was finally transported to hospital the medical staff realized that he was bleeding internally and that they could not treat him because the small hospital did not have enough blood or plasma in stock. Cst. Giesbrecht was then transport by ambulance to Edmonton, but he died at 8:45 p.m.

The Edmonton Emergency Response Team attended to the scene and a standoff occurred wherein they repeatedly tried to get Zaiec to speak with them. Eventually they established a telephone link with him but he refused to surrender. At 9:00 a.m. the following morning Tom Zaiec shot and killed himself. Cst. Allen Gary Giesbrecht had nearly 12 years service and was married with two sons under the age of three. He was buried in the community of Slave Lake Alberta.