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 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 25

1923 - Photograph of Sgt.

1923 – Photograph of Sgt. Frederick Anderson is highlighted in red.  Photo taken at Alkavik NWT (Source of photo – Glenbow Institute).

1935 – RCMP veteran #5694 Sergeant Major Frederick Anderton, is made a Member of the British Empire.

1968 – #16974 S/Sgt Guy Houde received a commendation for assisting Scotland Yard, in the arrest of 33 year old Charles Wilson at Rigaud Quebec.

Charlie Wilson was a notorious underworld figure and one of the masterminds behind one of the greatest robberies in British history “the Great Train Robbery” when over £2.5m was stolen from a Royal Mail train on August 3rd, 1963.

Wilson along with twelve other accomplices were identified and eventually rounded up by police as a result of their finger prints being left at a farmhouse. Sentenced to 30 years in prison he made his escape on August 12, 1964 after serving only four months when a gang of three men who broke into the jail in the early hours of the morning. With a stolen ladder they broke into the grounds of a mental hospital next to the prison, and used a rope ladder to scale the 20ft (6.1 metre) high prison wall. After his escape he fled to Canada and hid out for four years before Scotland Yard was tipped off when his wife made the mistake of telephoning her parents in England. After his capture in Canada Wilson returned to jail in the UK, where he served out the rest of his sentence. When he was eventually released from prison he moved to Spain and was shot dead by a hit man on 23 April 1990 as he relaxed by his swimming pool.

The criminal exploits of Charlie Wilson were detailed in the 2004 book “Killing Charlie”: The Bloody, Bullet-riddled Hunt for the Most Powerful Great Train Robber
by Wensley Clarkson.

2004 – Fraser Valley Traffic Services member #47796 Cst. Chad William Greig was on highway patrol duties in the town of Hope British Columbia when he encountered a suicidal woman on the bridge over the Fraser River. Backed up by Cst. Kevin Page he succeeded in getting close enough to the woman to grab her by her jacket as she attempted to jump into the raging river. In the process Cst. Grieg was nearly dragged over the bridge railing by the woman who repeatedly beat on him in an attempt to free herself from his grasp. Fortunately two other police officers rushed in and as the woman continued her struggle, the policemen were able to pull her back to safety. In recognition of his courage Cst. Greig was awarded both the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery and on October 13, 2006 he was presented the Medal of Bravery.

January 26

Photograph of a Canadian Red Ensign (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

Photograph of a Canadian Red Ensign (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles)

1924 – The “Red Ensign” becomes Canada’s official flag and is in use until the present flag is introduced in 1965.

1940 – As King George VI was preparing to leave the Canadian headquarters at Aldershot, England after spending five and a half hours visiting the Canadian Division, he recognized #11288 Sergeant Andrew Drummond-Hay and singled him out. Sergeant Drummond-Hay had acted as one of his Majesty’s bodyguards during his Royal Visit to Canada in 1939. In addition the King greeted another member he remembered, the Company #9894 Sergeant Major Charles Graham who was in charge of the No.1. Provost Company (RCMP) motorcycle escort squad.

1975 – #20255 Constable R.B. Cooke of Valleyview Alberta Detachment encountered a 13-year-old boy driving his father’s car. When Cooke took the child home to his parents he discovered that the father was intoxicated and hostile to the police. A struggle occurred when the man attempted to take the car keys from Cst. Cooke and failing to get the keys, he retreated into his house and came out pointing a loaded rifle at the policeman. Cst. Cooke succeeded in talking the man into dropping the weapon and then arrested him and took him into custody. In recognition of his courage and restraint Cst. Cooke was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1979 – When a neighbour’s house in Vernon, British Columbia caught on fire, #32920 Cst. Charles Neil Duncan, and Auxiliary Constable Dieter Juergen Nieswand rushed into the burning building in an attempt to save a two-year-old child. Entering through the front door they were initially driven back by the intense smoke and heat. Undeterred Aux. Cst. Nieswand tried to crawl into the kitchen on his hands and knees but was soon overcome by the smoke and had to be pulled out by his partner who then crawled back inside the house with a wet towel wrapped round his head but he too was driven back outside by the blaze. Refusing to give up, both men went back inside again and Cst. Duncan succeeded in finding the child and passed him to Aux. Cst. Nieswand, and then they rushed outside to safety. For their heroism in saving the life of the child both men were awarded the Medal of Bravery.

1981 – Constable #30909 R.X. Jerrett is awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation for his thorough fraud investigation into a case involving a scheme to procure money from the Yukon Government.

1985 – Around 1:00 a.m. a women called the detachment in Meadow Lake Saskatchewan reporting that a man armed with a rifle was ringing her doorbell. When the police officers arrived they conducted a quick search of the property and discovered a broken basement window. While the other constables searched the outside area for the suspect, #27367 Corporal William C. Cameron went inside the house with the owner to check on the broken window and see if anything had been stolen. As they were leaving the basement, the homeowner was confronted by the man holding a rifle. When she screamed Corporal Cameron shoved her aside and placed himself in the line of fire. He then grabbed the barrel of the rifle and knocked the gunman to the floor and arrested him. When they checked the rifle they discovered that it was loaded and the hammer was in the cocked position. Corporal Cameron was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1987 – Honour Roll Number 185.

Photograph of

Photograph of Special Constable Gordon Sigmund Kowalczyk (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

# S/1550 Special Constable Gordon Zigmund Kowalczyk age 35 was murdered on duty at Calgary, Alberta, during a routine traffic stop.

Gordon Kowalczyk had joined the RCMP as a Special Constable in 1975 and was assigned to the Calgary Airport. On the night that he was brutally murdered he had responded to a complaint of a “gas and dash” at nearby gas station. When he attended to the scene he learned that the suspects had left in a pickup truck without paying for $20 worth of gas. Shortly afterwards he radioed that he was checking a black Ford pickup on Highway 2A. A few minutes later passing motorists found his body lying in the middle of the road and called the police. The investigation revealed that Cst. Kowalczyk had been shot six times at close range with a shotgun and the killer had stolen his service revolver. The investigation quickly stalled due to lack of any witness to the murder but nearly a month later the police got a big break in the case when a man and a woman robbed a pizza parlor in Edmonton. The robbers fired a shotgun blast into the air during the robbery and the ejected shell casing matched those found at the murder scene and this time a witness was able to provide the police with a vehicle description and a licence plate number. The trail quickly led to a farmhouse near Crossfield Alberta and to the arrest of a mother and her son. The investigation determined that 43 year old Linda Marie Bowen and her son Andrew Kay were responsible for several armed robberies and the night Cst. Kowalczyk was murdered they had intended on robbing the gas station he was dispatched to. Andrew Car was in a stolen pickup truck and his mother was across the street in her car acting as the lookout, but whereas the station was closing, Kay panicked and drove off without paying for the gas.

When he was stopped a short time later Andrew Kay shot Cst. Kowalczyk at point blank range and then stepped out of the vehicle and fired five additional rounds into the policeman as he lay on the highway.

Kay was convicted and sentenced to 25 years and his mother to 13 years in prison for the senseless murder of a policeman. Gordon Zigmund Kowalczyk had three young children and was remarried. He was buried with full military honours at Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary Alberta.

1991 – Body armour stops more than bullets. #24385 Cpl. R.C. Toner is patrolling on rainy highway near Cole Harbour, NS, when a Jaguar car struck a passing van, then crashed into drivers door of Toners police car pushing the door in and bending frame. He is saved from serious injury by his Kevlar body armour.

January 27

Photograph (left to right) of: Chief Constable R.J. Stewart of the Vancouver Police Department; Sgts. D.E. Dichrow, T.M. Wagner and Commanding Officer "E" Division - D/Commr D.K. Wilson (Source of photo - RCMP Quarterly).

Photograph (left to right) of: Chief Constable R.J. Stewart of the Vancouver Police Department; Sgts. D.E. Dichrow, T.M. Wagner and Commanding Officer “E” Division – D/Commr D.K. Wilson (Source of photo – RCMP Quarterly).

1988 – Sergeants, #23868 Dale E. Dichrow and #25825 Thomas M. Wagner earned Commissioners Commendations and Commendations from the Vancouver City Police for the rescue of the occupants of a burning house in Vancouver, B.C. Both members were conducting drug surveillance on a building when they saw that it was on fire and rushed into the blaze and succeeded in getting all of the occupants out safely.

January 28

1965 – Canada receives Royal Proclamation replaces the Red Ensign with the new Maple Leaf flag as the official flag of Canada.

1976 – Constables #24609 John Hay and #30669 Louie S. Racz responded to a call for assistance at a farm near Yorkton, Sask. Shortly after they entered the house a very agitated and emotionally charged man came in brandishing a loaded high power rifle. Though the man was acting irrationally and at times incoherently, the two policemen managed to calm him down enough that he laid down the rifle. In recognition of their actions, both constables were awarded Commanding Officers commendations.

January 29

1941 – #13375 Constable Brian Patrick Barry O’Callaghan while serving as a Private in the Number 1. Provost Company in England was granted a testimonial from the Royal Canadian Humane Association, for saving the life of Maurice I. Henning who was drowning in the Harmon River on near Nampa Alberta on January 29th 1941. Constable O’Callaghan joined the Provost Company in the thirteenth draft in October 1941.

1985 – New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield found not guilty in provincial court in Fredericton NB of possession of marijuana. The drug was discovered by #25087 Cpl.Eugene Hoffman in his personal suitcase that was on the Queens plane during Royal Visit security search Sept 25th in Moncton NB. Premier Hatfield claimed it was planted.

January 30th

1911– # 3948 Sergeant Stafford Eardley Aubyn Selig age 31, died of an unknown infection on Herschel Island, NWT.

1932 – Honour Roll Number 51.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of Constable Edgar Millen highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#9669 Constable Edgar Millen age 31 was killed near Rat River, N.W.T., while attempting to apprehend Albert Johnson.

Cst. Millen was a casualty in one of the most famous manhunts in Canadian History; the hunt for “the Mad Trapper of Rat River”. By the time the ordeal was over a policeman and a soldier would be shot and wounded, Cst. Millen would be killed and the murderer tracked for six weeks through the bush aided by a WW1 flying Ace.

Trapper Albert Johnson was a reclusive American who had appeared in the Yukon in 1927 and had his first encounter with the policeman he would later kill when he arrived in Fort McPherson in July 1931. Johnson brought attention to himself because of his elusiveness and eccentric behavior and the fact that he was spending enormous amounts of cash. Constable Edgar Millen the commander of Arctic Red Detachment decided to check out the newcomer and after an interview that consisted mostly of vacant stares and few words; Millen advised Johnson that if he was going to trap in his detachment area he would require a trapping licence. It didn’t take long for Johnson to scare off the locals and in December local Indians came to the detachment and reported that Johnson had destroyed their traps and threatened to kill them if they didn’t leave his trapping area.

On December 26th Cst. Millen then sent his two men the eighty miles to Johnson’s cabin to investigate. After constables #10211Alfred Wheldon “Buns” King and Special Constable Joseph Bernard arrived two days later, they found a fortified cabin that was dug three feet into the ground and equipped with peep holes to shoot out of. Even though smoke was coming out of the cabin, Johnson refused to answer the door, so the men decided to travel 80 miles to the RCMP Headquarters in Aklavik and obtain a search warrant. Inspector #5700/O.209 Alexander Neville Eames issued the warrant and then ordered Constables #10269 G. Robert McDowell and Special Cst. Lazarus Sittichiulis to return to the scene with the other two men and arrest Albert Johnson.

The four men arrived back at the fortified cabin on December 31st, but the trapper still refused to respond to their calls. When Cst. King approached the cabin door to serve the Search Warrant, Albert Johnson shot him in the chest through a peephole. As the other three men opened fire on the cabin they managed to pull their wounded comrade to safety and then rushed him to the All Saints Mission back in Aklavik and miraculously he survived.

On January 5th, 1932 eight policemen and seven trappers returned to the scene armed with guns and 20lbs of dynamite and after a 15 hour siege involving heavy gunfire and blowing off part of the cabin roof Albert Johnson was still alive and shooting. Running low on supplies the men decided to return to Aklavik and came back eleven days later with a posse of 21 men. Upon their arrival the police discovered that Johnson had fled the scene and was headed towards the Alaskan border. Refusing to be deterred, Inspector Eames equipped a squad of four men led by Constable Millen with enough supplies to last nine days and with the thermometer reading 50 below zero they set out to pursue the fugitive. When the men caught up to Johnson a gunfight occurred and Cst. Millen was killed by a shot from Johnson’s high-powered rifle.

After Millen’s body was returned, the manhunt became a national story and the search for the Mad Trapper of Rat River gained a new intensity. Canada’s war hero Wilfred “Wop” May, the ace who had challenged the Red Baron in France was brought in from Edmonton over 1000 miles away with his Bellanca airplane, and hired to lead an aerial search. With the bush pilot’s assistance the posse closed in on Johnson on February 17th and in the shootout that followed Albert Johnson was riddled with bullets.

The story of the hunt for Albert Johnson was made into a best selling book “The Death of Albert Johnson, Mad Trapper of Rat River”. Even Hollywood got in on the act when in 1981 they released the movie “Death Hunt” starring Lee Marvin as Millen and Charles Bronson as Albert Johnson. Using poetic licence they promoted Millen to sergeant and subtitle the movie as “the saga of two rivals who clash as enemies and triumph as heroes”, The movie tells how a reluctant Lee Marvin is forced to pursue Charles Bronson in the manhunt across the Canadian wilderness.

Edgar Millen a native of Belfast Ireland was initially buried in Aklavik but on February 29, 1932 he was re-interred with full military honours at the Beechmont Cemetery in Edmonton Alberta.

1964 – A terrorist group calling itself “Comité révolutionnaire du Québec” raid the armoury in Montreal and steal weapons and ammunition.

1966 – The Canadian Government announces that over 100,000 Canadians aged 69 are now eligible for $75 Old Age Security pensions. This is welcomed news to retired members of the Force who are receiving meager pensions for their service in the RCMP and the RNWMP

1970 – At approximately 11:00 p.m. #18044 Corporal William R. Colvin was conducting a routine patrol on the Trans-Canada Highway near Regina when he encountered a 16-year-old boy hitchhiking.
When he questioned the lad, he discovered that he was a runaway from Hope, British Columbia. He had the boy get in his car and was returning him to Regina when suddenly the boy produced what Colvin though was a .45 revolver and pointed at him and ordered him to stop the car. Instead of easing the car to a stop Cpl. Colvin slammed on the brakes while traveling at over 60 miles per hour and wrestled the gun from the youth’s hand. In recognition of his courage and determination in safely disarming the assailant Cpl. Colvin was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

1971 – Often stories of heroism seldom get told let alone recognized with an award. One such incident involving #25593 Constable Brian Shouldice of Frobisher Bay, NWT was noted by Mr. Justice W.G. Morrow in and article he wrote in 1975, entitled “Courage in Red”. In his article he commended a number of constables he had encountered in his career as a judge including Cst. Shouldice who had responded to complaint of a break and enter. When he walked into the house he was confronted by an intoxicated man who was lying on the floor pointing a rifle at him and threatening to kill him. Cst. Shouldice quickly removed himself from the house and then set up surveillance. Instead of confronting the drunken man left the building with the rifle, he followed him at a safe distance and when the gunman tripped and fell, Shouldice rushed him and grabbed the .303 hunting rifle. When he examined it, he discovered that the bolt was missing. Even though the weapon was harmless, Cst. Shouldice had no way of knowing that. The judge noted that individual courage and restraint that he demonstrated, exemplified the professionalism of many members of the Force who deal with situations like this on a regular basis.