Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of a RCMP motorcycle harley davidson




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 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.

Photograph of Wop May (Source of photo –

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.

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.

February 7

1942 – Shelburn Nova Scotia detachment members; #11174 Acting Corporal E.C. Chute, and Constables #13335 T.N. House, #13811 W.A. Schultz and Barrington Passage Detachment member #11190 Constable V.L. Apedaile assisted in rescue of 25 crew members and a passenger from Danish schooner SS “Gertrud Rask” which ran aground off Baccaro Point, N.S. in storm.

The ship had been bashed by heavy seas in a howling gale, and upon running aground, fired off rockets and repeatedly sounded her horn in an attempt to attract attention to her plight. Would be rescuers rushed to the scene and could see the lights of the vessel four hundred yards from shore, but could not get near the ship because of the raging seas that were breaking over the boat.

The four officers attended to the scene and maintained an all-night vigil while they waited for the Navy to assist. At daybreak, the officers along with two naval officers and two local fishermen operating two motor launches, maneuvered between the breakers but could get no closer than 50 yards from the stricken vessel for fear of being smashed to pieces in the raging sea. Holding their position, they secured ropes from the ship to her life boats and then hauled the entire ships company to their location and from there to safety. Although the entire ship and its cargo were lost, none of rescued personnel was injured or even required medical attention.

In recognition for their courage and helpfulness in saving 25 lives, the Danish Minister to the United States, Henrik Kauffmann presented eight silver inscribed letter openers to each of the rescuers.

1985 – After two men robbed the branch of the National Bank of Canada in St Leonard, NB. Corporal #28213 J.J. Gaudet and Constable #29939 R.J.Oullette spotted the getaway car, and as they were pursuing them, the robbers began shooting at them. As Oullette returned fire he was hit in the abdomen. Suddenly the suspects mad a U-turn, and driving directly at the policemen continued to shoot at them with a shotgun a 357 handgun.

The policemen returned fire and the gunmen’s vehicle went out of control into and crashed into a snow bank. When the pair ran from the car Corporal Gaudet shot one man and the second forced his way into a nearby house. When back-up officers arrived at the scene they found one dead, and the second surrendered a short time later. Both policemen were awarded Commissioners Commendation’s and were honored by the Canadian Bankers’ Association.

1986 – Constable Brian M. Largy a member of the Dease Island Highway Patrol unit in Delta, BC rescued the semi-conscious driver from his burning vehicle. His actions resulted in him being awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

February 8

1948 – #13030 Constable Roger Philippe Arsenault was presented the British Empire Medal at a ceremony at Depot Division. The award was presented by Lt. Commander W.W. Spicer R.C.N. (R) Commanding Officer of HMCS Queen.

The award reads “This Sick Berth Petty Officer has shown untiring devotion to duty under consistently difficult circumstances. He has been greatly responsible for the efficient transporting of injured and repatriated personnel landed in Halifax, and was commended for his conduct during the recent magazine explosion there.”

Constable Arsenault served as an Ordinary Seaman in the RCMP Marine Division and was transferred to the Navy during WW2. He was one of 8 survivors of the sinking of the HMCS Spikenard which claimed the lives of 77 men. (See February 10, 1942) Arsenault re-engaged in the Force on November 17, 1945 and was assigned to the Crime Lab in Regina.

1956 – Honour Roll Number 89.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable William Lawrence Melsom (Reg.#18050) name highlighted on the RCMP Cenotaph at the RCMP “Depot” Division in Regina. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#18050 Cst. William Lawrence Melsom age 21 was killed in a traffic collision while responding to an emergency call for police assistance at Port Alberni, B.C.

Around 1:00 a.m. #18124 Cst. Robert Thorp responded to a complaint of break and enter into two garages in Port Alberni where local citizens had apprehended the burglar.

Upon his arrival the suspect slipped his captors grasp and fled on foot into the nearby bush so Thorp called for backup members. After receiving the call, constables #16871 John Holowaychuk, #18346 Robert Smith and William Melsom jumped into the same car and with Melsom driving they sped off to the scene with lights and siren blaring. Driving at a high speed, the policemen found themselves in heavy traffic because the local plywood mill employees had just finished work.

When Melsom pulled out to pass a slower car he lost control and was sideswiped by a large truck. The police car was completely demolished and Cst. Melsom was killed on impact. The other two constables survived the crash, but received multiple fractures and serious internal injuries. The burglar was caught several hours later and upon conviction was sentenced two years in jail. William Lawrence Melsom had only three years service in the RCMP and after his body was returned to his parents where he was buried in the Anglican Cemetery in Woodstock Ontario.

1989 – Commissioner Inkster appoints #17872 Eric Bennie Young a member of the RCMP Band to the rank of “Corps Sergeant Major”. This is the highest rank a non commissioned officer can achieve in the RCMP.

Born in England Young joined the RCMP in 1952 and served in six different divisions. He is the first member to achieve this distinction following the retirement of #18745 William D. (Bill) Pomfret in 1977. The badge of this office is the Canadian Coat of Arms.

February 9

1944 – #13272 Constable Arthur Bates is awarded a Commissioners Commendation for his role in an investigation of illegal export of furs to USA.

1946 - Photograph of three German Prisoners of War being escorted by two unknown RCMP members/

1946 – Photograph of three German Prisoners of War being escorted by two unknown RCMP members.

1944 – #12410 Constable Eugene Francis Gillis captures two escaped NAZI prisoners of war.

1962 – RCMP pilot #16272 / O.687 Norman Brisbin braving the darkness and a snow storm, flew his de Havilin Beaver equipped with skis from Inuvik to Arctic Red River and landed on the ice with the aid of homemade pot flares to rescue trapper who had accidentally shot himself in leg. After loading his patient into the plane he then flew him out to a hospital.

1967 – At 3:30 am constables #20519 Ronald L. Nicholas and #24255 Harvey A. Frank were making a routine patrol in Campbell River, BC when they saw man run from sporting goods store.

Attempting to head him off, Cst. Nicholas ran up a nearby laneway and when the suspect saw him he stopped running and raised a rifle and fired a shot at the constable nearly hitting him. The suspect then jumped into this car and sped off as the two policemen pursued him through the town in their car until the suspect abandoned his vehicle and ran into a house with his rifle. Shortly thereafter #15517 / O.814 Sgt. Edward Geddes Forrest and two other men arrived at the scene and learned from a neighbour the identity of the 22 year suspect. Sgt. Forrest then telephoned the gunman and convinced him to let him come over and talk to him. After the suspect opened the door a fraction to speak with the policeman, Sgt. Forrest smashed the door open and rushed in and overpowered him. After the gunman was taken into custody the police searched the house and found several stolen rifles and shotguns. For his bravery and resourcefulness Commissioner McClellan awarded Sgt. Forrest the Commissioners Commendation.

Photograph of a RCMP Commissioner's Commendation For Bravery.

1974 – Using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, #29815 Constable A.K. Withycombe revives a student of the Notre Dame College fire at Wilcox, Saskatchewan and earns a Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

1978 – Ottawa orders eight Soviet embassy officials deported for allegedly trying to infiltrate the RCMP Security Service.

2001 – Constables #41829 M.A. Denise Roussel and #44511 Jagdeep S. Soin were dispatched to a domestic dispute at home in Hopedale Newfoundland. While dealing with the situation the male occupant lit the home on fire. The two constables and the adult and two children were trapped inside the house but Cst. Roussel managed to escape by breaking a window thereby eliminating the vacuum created by the fire. Cst. Soin then able to escaped through the front door but assailant and the two children remained in the residence.

Although both constables had sustained burns, they continued their efforts to render assistance to those remaining inside the house. A neighbour, Nancy Tuglavina came to the aid of the police officers and she and Cst. Soin used a ladder to reach a window on the second floor, climbed onto a ledge and attempted to break the window. While this was happening the assailant and the children fled from the burning building. The three occupants were rushed to the medical clinic for treatment for their multiple burns. Both constables were treated for their burns and all five recovered from their injuries.

On September 10, 2013, the Minister of Service NL and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, the Honourable Nick McGrath, presented the two members with the Newfoundland and Labrador Bravery Award.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Bravery Award was established in 1984 under the authority of the Bravery Award Act, to recognize citizens of the province who risked their lives and safety to render aid to another person.

February 10

1942 – Honour Roll Number 71.

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

Photograph of the RCMP “Depot” Division Cenotaph in Regina, Saskatchewan -with the name of Patrick Reginald Fairborn Milthorp highlighted in red (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#12168 1st Officer Patrick Reginald Fairburn Milthorp age 32 was killed when the HMCS “Spikenard” was torpedoed near Iceland during WW2.

Patrick Milthorp had extensive sea going experience long before he joined the RCMP Marine Section in 1933, having worked his way up from a cadet on the HMS Worchester and the Anglo American Oil Company where he earned his second mate’s certification. After serving with the West Riding Constabulary of Yorkshire in England he came to Canada and became a sea going Mountie. In the Force he rose through the ranks from chief petty office to skipper and then first officer working aboard the RCMP Cruisers “Fleur De Lis”, “Choler” “Ulna” and the “MacDonald”.

Photograph of the RCMP Marine Section Tally. (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of the RCMP Marine Section Tally. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

When war was declared in 1939 the entire RCMP Marine Section was transferred over to the Royal Canadian Navy and Milthorp was given the rank of Lieutenant. For the next three years he served aboard a number of ships conducting minesweeping and escorts across the North Atlantic and was finally posted to the HMCS Spikenard K198.

As convoy SC-67 steamed south of Iceland en-route to Londonderry Ireland every ship was hoping to avoid German submarines. Unfortunately around 11:00 p.m. a German U-Boat; “U-136” captained by Heinrich Zimmermann was lying in wait at position 56.10N, 21.07. When the convoy came into his sights Captain Zimmermann fired a torpedo at the oil tanker “Heina” and set her ablaze. Before the HMCS Spikenard could react and hunt him down, U-136 fired another torpedo and sank her. Only eight members of her crew of 65 men survived.

The crew of the U-36 came to a similar fate when she was sunk by depth charges on July11, 1942 west of Madeira, Portugal by the Free French destroyer Léopard, the British frigate HMS Spey and the British sloop HMS Pelican. All 45 members of the crew were lost.

1975 – #22853 Cpl Leonard J. Hermanchuk earned a commendation for his cool arrest of armed and dangerous person ‘J’ Div. (looking for details)

1980 – #24710 Cpl. Donald Joseph Ray and #34052 Cst. Patrick Daniel Kelly of the Lunenburg Nova Scotia Detachment responded to an emergency where several people had fallen through the ice off Herman’s Island, Nova Scotia.

The Whynacht family, along with two teenaged neighbours, had gone to their cottage and the teenagers decided to walk out onto the ice to check its thickness for skating and fell into the icy water when they broke through the ice.

Hearing their cries for help, the parents ran out onto the ice to save the struggling teenagers, and broke through themselves. The entire mishap was witnessed by two teenagers, James and Steven Snair, who quickly pushed a small rowboat over the ice and managed to save the woman and two of the teenagers. Unfortunately the added weight in the small boat enabled water to pour in and they became stranded.

Fourteen-year-old Sean Whynacht managed to pull himself out of the water; and he rushed to shore and launched the Family’s boat and rushed to his father. When he tried to lift the unconscious the boat nearly capsized.

When the two policemen arrived on the scene, they jumped into a third boat and breaking the ice with the wooden oars, they broke a path through ice and shouted instructions to Sean on how to haul his unconscious father aboard. Once he had succeeded in pulling his father’s body aboard he began applying mouth-to- mouth resuscitation. The two policemen then instructed the Snair brothers to bail the water out of their boat with their shoes and, then, towed the overcrowded boat to shore. While this was happening, the Lunenburg Fire Department arrived on the scene and tried to throw line from shore but it fell short of its target so Cst. Kelly took a rope from his boat and, crawled on his hands and knees to the rescue line and tied them together. Shortly thereafter, two of the boats were towed to shore. Realizing that Sean’s father was in great danger of succumbing to hypothermia, Cpl. Ray and Cst. Kelly, took the rescue line and crawled back over the ice and attached it to the Whynacht’s boat and the firemen pulled them back to shore. On June 24, 1983 Cpl. Ray and Cst. Kelly along with James Snair and Sean Whynacht were awarded the Medal of Bravery for their role this rescue.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery.

February 11

1926 – TV/Movie actor, comedian Leslie William Nielsen is born at Regina Saskatchewan. Nielsen was raised in Fort Norman in the Yukon, where his father #08098 Ingvard Nielson was the Detachment Commander. One of his two brothers, Eric, was the deputy Prime Minister of Canada in Joe Clark’s government in 1979.

1966 – Honour Roll Number 131.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Thomas Percy Carrol (Reg.#20388).

#20388 Constable Thomas Percy Carroll age 28 was killed in a plane crash at Cyril Lake, Manitoba.
At the time of his death Tom Carroll had been in the RCMP for nearly eight years and was married with a young son. A native of Nelson British Columbia, Cst. Carroll had transferred to Churchill Manitoba ten months before. Carroll was returning from a three day patrol in the isolated Native community at Shamattawa, and traveling with him was the 38 year old Indian Agent, Donald McEwen. Their chartered flight was to take them to the town of Ilford where they would catch a train for the 50 mile trip back to Churchill. Around 3:00 p.m. the pilot put the plane down on the ice on Cyril Lake because he was running low on fuel and radioed for someone to bring him fuel by tractor.

The fuel arrived three hours later and after filling his tanks the pilot decided to take off in the dark over the concerns of ground crew. Using he lights of the tractor, the plane lifted off the ice and began a steep climb to 150 feet when the plane stalled and then plummeted into the ice and burst into flames. All three men were killed instantly.

Thomas Percy Carroll was buried in his family plot at the Nelson Cemetery.

1977 – A Fisherman in Nova Scotia catches the world’s heaviest known crustacean. The monster lobster weighs in at 20.2-kg.

1978 – As the Pacific Western Airlines Flight 314 was landing in a snow storm at the Airport in Cranbrook BC, the crew suddenly noticed a snow plow on the runway. The pilot immediately initiated a “go-around” procedure but the aircraft’s thrust reversers did not stow away properly because all hydraulic power on the aircraft was automatically cut off during lift-off. The Boeing 737-235 managed to miss the snowplow, but overran the runway, crashed and burned. Forty-two of 49 people aboard were killed including #18535 Sgt Ron Riddell who was returning to Cranbrook, from his father’s funeral.

One of the Cranbrook Detachment members who rushed to the scene and helped rescue survivors was #25563 Cst. W. Harold Bowes who received Commanding Officers commendation for his actions.

February 12

1885 – Parliament grants amnesty to Louis Riel, W. B O”Donoghue, and Ambroise-Dydime Lepine for their roles in the March 1870 execution of adventurer Thomas Scott at the Red River Settlement.

1955 – A United States Air Force B-47 Stratojet with 4 crew members aboard exploded and crashed in northern Saskatchewan. The bomber (tail number 17013) was flying as the number two aircraft in a formation of eleven B-47’s en route from Thule Air Base, in Greenland to March Air Force Base in California. As soon as the crash was reported the Royal Canadian Air Force initiated a search and rescue mission code-named “Big Sandy Lake” and shortly thereafter a RCAF Dakota dropped a para-rescue team who located two survivors and the body of a third crew member killed in the crash. The first aircraft capable of landing near the crash site was a RCMP de Havilland single Otter “CF-MPP”, from Churchill Manitoba, piloted by #16312 S/Sgt Arnold Noel Beaumont and co-pilot #15969 / O.633Robert Lorne Fletcher.

The two survivors were loaded into the Otter and they were flown out to The Pas, Manitoba. The fourth B-47 crewman was located and rescued by helicopter 72 hours after the crash, having parachuted into a cluster of trees some distance from the crash site.

S/Sgt Arnold Beaumont was subsequently awarded a Certificate of Meritorious Achievement by the USAF for his part in the rescue.

1978 – While making a routine patrol in Prince George, B.C. #29536 Cst. C. James Delnea saw flames and smoke billowing out of a window on the top floor of the MacDonald Hotel. Delnea radioed his partner #25168 Cst. Orville Smith who rushed to the scene and the two policemen rushed into the hotel and began waking the patrons and advising them to get out of the hotel. As the pair continued to bang on doors the smoke increased in its intensity forcing them to crawl on their hands and knees as they worked their way outside for some fresh air. After catching their breath the soot covered men rushed back into the burning building and continued to bang on doors alerting the sleeping patrons.

On the second attempt they heard a woman screaming for help and a man shouting at her to get down on the floor. As they proceeded to make their way to her room the firemen arrived wearing breathing apparatus and directed them to the fire exit. Once outside Cst. Delnea assisted the firemen in getting a ladder up to the couple’s room and they were rescued. In recognition of their heroism both constables were awarded Meritorious Certificates from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.