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

February 1

1883– Members of the NWMP have had to endure severe weather conditions in the course of their duties. But this day in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan sets a new record when the mercury drops to a bone chilling -56.7 degrees Celsius.

1915 – Like so many of he peers, #5685 Cpl. Michael O’Leary obtained a discharge from the NWMP so he could serve in WW1 with “A” Company of the Irish Guards. On this day while fighting at Cuinchy, France, 26 year old Lance-Corporal O’Leary rushed a German machine gun position and killed five Germans who were holding the first barricade. Then he attacked a machine gun position 60 yards further on killing three more enemy soldiers and taking two others prisoner.

His valour resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross and a promotion to Sgt. and then he was transferred to the Connaught Rangers and promoted, to 1st. Lieutenant. His heroism was again recognized when he was serving in Salonika and he was awarded the Russian Cross of St. George.

Photograph of the World War I recruiting poster featuring Ex-RNWMP Cst. Michael O’Leary (Reg. #5685).

O’Leary’s image and reputation was used to recruit Irishmen into the Army. They even tried to use his father as a recruiter but canned him after only one speech when speaking in the Inchigeela district, he urged the young men to join the British army stating; ‘If you don’t’, he told them, ‘the Germans will come here and will do to you what the English have been doing for the last seven hundred years’.”

After ending the war as a Captain he eventually returned to Canada with his wife Margaret Hegarty, where he became an Inspector in the Ontario Provincial Police. In 1925 they went to Michigan, USA, and he joined the Michigan Central Police. Eventually he returned to England. In WW2, he served with the Middlesex Regiment and retired at the end of the war as a Major. He died in England in 1961 and is buried in Paddington Cemetery.

1920 – The Royal North-West Mounted Police becomes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and assumes the responsibility of enforcing federal laws in all nine Provinces and both territories, instead of only the four western provinces. The new Force absorbs the Dominion Police, which had guarded government buildings and enforced federal statutes since 1868. The headquarters of the new Federal Police Force is moved to Ottawa while training stays in Regina. The size of new Force is set at 2,500 men.

1924 -– Inuit murderers Alikomiak and Taimagana were hanged at Herschel Island NWT for the murder of Cpl. W.A. Doak and two other men on April 21, 1922. The pair who had been previously convicted of murdering four Inuit in 1921 committed the murders while they were being held in custody. Previously the government had been lenient on the sentencing of Inuit murderers, by having death sentences commuted to life in prison. In this case it appears that their fate was sealed before the trial for their graves had been dug and their defense counsel stated publicly “that the law should take its course and those Eskimos found guilty of murder should be hanged in a place where the natives will see and recognize the outcome of taking another life.”

1935 – International Pictures release the movie “SILENT CODE” staring Kane Richmond as RCMP Corporal Jerry Hale a Mountie who is reassigned to a district he had been run out of earlier forcing him to leave his girl friend and be accused of murder.

1940 – # 12647 Constable Hans William Metcalfe was promoted to Lance Corporal for his bravery in attempting to arrest an insane man in the Yukon. Metcalfe served from 1935 to his death while serving as a Corporal in Swift Current Saskatchewan on May 21, 1951.

1961 – 20th-Century Fox releases the movie “The Canadians” in DeLuxe Color. The hero of the flick is Inspector William Gannon starring Robert Ryan who has to deal with the problems created when the Sioux come to Canada. He lets then stay if they promise to be peaceful, but cowboys kill all inhabitants of one of their villages and create problems for the Mounties.


1962 -#14037 Staff Sergeant Major J.E. Fernand Roy received a commendation for an Excise Act investigation in which resulted in the seizure of an illicit still and 800 gallons alcohol. He served from 1941 to 1964 & died on October 3rd 1997 at St Laurent, Que.

February 3

1914 – #4751 Constable Edward R. Clark’s stint as the NCO in charge of the Town Station Detachment at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan did not go well. The man was brought up on charges by Superintendent Horrigan, who convicted him in Service Court on charges that lost one handcuff key. After finding him guilty the officer confined him to barracks for seven days and ordered him to pay 20 cents for a new key.

1916 – Fire destroys the wooden Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, killing seven people. The Parliamentary Library is saved by a quick thinking clerk, who closes the iron doors. The tragedy is widely blamed on German wartime saboteurs. A new building, containing the Commons and Senate, is rebuilt of stone in the Gothic revival style, and completed in 1920.

Photograph of RCMP Provost Corps (Source of image - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1942 – #13438 Cst. William Henzie is drafted into the RCMP Provost Corps, during the 10th reinforcement draft during WWII.

1947 – Another chilly day for members of the RCMP when the lowest temperature ever recorded in Canada registers in at -64C (-83F) in Snag Yukon.

1998 – To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Force Corporal #35273 J.A. Jacques Maillet, constable #45072 Manuel A. Pizarro-Arellano, #45083 Cliff R. Chastellaine and Mr. Richard Getzkow, of Gibsons, BC climb Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Climbing the highest peak (6960 meters) in the Americas is no easy feat at the best of times, but climbing in a fierce blizzard with high winds is treacherous. They barely survived the climb while other nine climbers who were attempting the same feat perished. For their efforts they raised over $23,000 for Children’s’ Wish Foundation.

February 4

1972 – Constable Dale Edward Dickrow earned a Commanding Officers Commendation after he removed a bomb from a public locker in the Vancouver International Airport.

1988 – #37945 Constable L.J.B. Beck nee Brown revived a prisoner in cells who had stopped breathing by using CPR and was awarded the Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

1993 – #31859 / O. J.E.G. Rochette rescued stranded child from cliff side near Vedder Crossing, B.C.

February 5

1911 – Inspector Francis J. Fitzgerald the leader of the ill fated “Lost Patrol” made his last entry in his diary “only go a few miles a day”.

1986 – Constables #28797 Garry J. Kingsbury and #31946 D.R. Gormley apprehended a dangerous mental patient who had taken medical staff hostage at the hospital in Winkler, Manitoba and threatened their lives. For their bravery in arresting the violent man without incident, both men were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

February 6

1916 – Constables #4005 William MacBrayne and #5535 Samuel Whitley were both awarded $25 from the Fine Fund for meritorious service in the George Leek murder investigation.

1932 – WW1 flying Ace W.R. (Wop) May is recruited to assist the RCMP is the search to find and capture Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper of Rat River. With his assistance Johnson is cornered and killed in a shootout.

Image of the RCMP crest with the

Image of the RCMP crest with the St. Edward crown.

1952 – King George VI dies in his sleep and Princess Elizabeth who is on safari in Africa accedes to the Throne as Queen Elizabeth II. After her coronation the crest of the RCMP is redesigned to include the St. Edward crown replacing the Imperial State crown.

1975 – Members of the RCMP in “K” Division and the residents of Alberta become the envy of the rest of Canada when the Provincial government cuts personal income tax by 28%, making Albertans lowest-taxed Canadians.

1975 – After eight boys from Conception Bay Newfoundland decide to play on the sea ice they find themselves in serious trouble when the ice flow they are on is carried out to sea. Fortunately for them RCMP helicopter pilot Staff Sergeant Doug McKay along with his mechanic Special Constable Tom Manning find the boys and pluck them off the ice and return them home safely.

1978 – While off duty in Winnipeg Manitoba #27207 Cst. L.S. Reissner, witnessed a robbery and though he was unarmed, arrested Raymond Andre after he tackled and disarmed earning himself a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1995 – While serving with the United Nations as instructors at the National Police Academy in Haiti Sergeant Kenneth Charles Gates, and Constable Bradley Ernest Kent were called upon to apply first aid to a recruit who had an infected knee. When the men examined the knee they recognized that the knee was seriously infected and without proper medical treatment the cadet would likely die. They immediately transported the man to the hospital, an in the process saved his life. A few days later, Cst. Kent was instrumental in saving another recruit’s severely infected arm.

Two weeks later both policemen were relaxing at a local beach on their day off when they saw a swimmer struggling against an undertow. Recognizing that her life was in danger the men rushed into the water and despite the strong wind and choppy water they swam out to the distressed woman and brought her back to safety.

In recognition to their professionalism and a ready willingness to help those in need both men were awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on August 28, 1999.