Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of a RCMP police car door (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)




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

April 9

1876 – Photograph of Louis Riel.

1874 – Members of Parliament voted to expel Louis Riel from sitting as a Member of Parliament.

1986 – Four Medals of Bravery were earned by Sergeant #21869 William G.C. Andrews, and Constables, #31933 Jan Van Den Born, #33984 Reginald Charles Steward and #37510 Randall William Marquardt. While patrolling the streets of Coquitlam, BC, Cst. Marquardt saw smoke coming from the 9th floor of 12 story high-rise apartment building. He called for backup and notified the fire department before entering the building. He rushed u the stairs to the 12th floor and began knocking on doors to warn occupants and direct them to the stairwell.

As he banged on doors working his way to the lower floors alerting occupants, the dense smoke spread throughout the building. Due to the intense smoke on the 9th floor he could not enter the and then proceeded to the 8th floor where he was met by Sgt. Andrews who helped him banging on doors.
On the 6th floor, they were joined by Cst. Reg Steward who had obtained a master key, so the trio went back to the 12th floor to ensure all occupants had left the building.
Still unable to enter the 9th floor the men left the building and help Cst. Marquardt, to an ambulance for treatment of smoke inhalation. Cst. Steward and Sgt. Andrews then began assisting in crowd control and then saw seven people still stranded on 9th floor balconies. The pair accompanied by Cst. Jan Van Den Born, re-entered the building, climbed to the 9th and forced their way in the apartment and broke the balcony windows to get to the occupants. The three police officers then guided them to the stairwell and down the stairs where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

On September 25th 1987 the four men were presented with Medals of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada.

Photograph of the Canadian Medal of Bravery

April 10 

1897 – O.96 Inspector Willam Scarth leading the 2nd contingent to Yukon, sailed from Victoria on “SS City of Topeka”. The contingent of men included #990 James Davis, #1959 Henry Donnelly, #1969 David McCulloch, #2256 William Conway, #2279 Peter Sabourin, #2286 James Good, #2299 George Bates, #2333 James Aspinall, #2589 William Saunders, #2793 Henry Dundas, #2839 Frederick Snell, #2914 Edward Smith, #3004 Wm Green, #3016 Cecil Carter, #3027 John Healy, #3035 Wm Jealouse, #3056 Thomas Belcher, #3062 George Broster, #3068 James Stuart and #3118 Garnet Graham.

1963 – Parliament passes Food and Drugs Act, getting more control over sale of drugs.

1965 – Honour Roll Number 130.

Photograph of Constable Neil McArthur Bruce (Reg.#20824).

1965 – #20824 Constable Neil McArthur Bruce was shot after attending to a complaint involving a kidnap and rape of a young girl.

On April 10th 1965 #20824 Constable Neil McArthur Bruce age 26 was shot after attending to a complaint involving the kidnapping and rape of a 16 year old girl.

A newspaper boy passing a house in Powerview, near West Bank B.C. noticed a woman in the window signalling that she needed help. He called police and Constable Bruce and #23354 Constable. Kenneth Jones attended to the scene. Believing that he could talk the suspect into surrendering and negotiate the girl’s release, Cst. Bruce removed his gun belt and walked out into the open to show that he was unarmed and was no threat to the suspect. What Cst. Bruce did not know was that the suspect, Russell Spears was a cop hater with a long criminal history and in addition to being a notorious sexual deviant he had bragged in prison that he would sooner shoot a policeman than be captured. As Bruce walked towards the house, Spears promptly shot in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. Russell Spears then fired off several more shots as his captive who had been raped several times and shot in the shoulder and jaw ran screaming from the house. Spears then burst out of the house and fled into the bush.

Cst. Jones then radioed for help and tended to both victims wounds until Cst. Bruce and the 16-year-old girl were transported to the hospital. Immediately after the shooting the RCMP began a massive manhunt for Spears that lasted ten days.

On April 12th doctors operated on Cst. Bruce and successfully removed the bullet from his right lung and it appeared that he would recover, but at 07:00 am on April 14th, he succumbed to pneumonia.

On April 20th a woman in the village of Trenpanier, ten miles south of Kelowna saw a suspicious man run across a field and she call the police. Shortly afterward the posse closed in and police dog handler #19758 Cst. George Hawkins and his dog “Prince” tracked Spears to a ravine. The dog flushed him out of the trees and instead of surrendering to the police; Russell Spears shot himself between the eyes with his rifle.

New Brunswick native Neil McArthur Bruce had been in the RCMP six years and was married with two small children.

2003 – A deranged man went into the Board of Works complex in Moncton N.B. armed with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and threatened to shoot two supervisors.
While most of the employees fled to safety, James Garrity stayed behind and confronted the gunman in the engine repair shop. As Mr. Garrity attempted to calm the man constables #40921 J.J.F. LeBrun, #46419 Alain Boulianne and #47988 John Bernard arrived and assumed tactical positions nearby. When the gunman was momentarily distracted the trio of officers rushed the suspect and assisted by aided by James Garrity who had grabbed shotgun, succeeded in subduing him. In recognition of his heroism James Garrity was awarded the Commissioner’s Commendation.

April 11

1911 – #4833 Constable William Wells was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund for his enforcement of the Public Works Act on the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad. He served from 1909 to 1920 leaving the Force as a Sergeant.

1911 -#4822 Constable Henry Crane was awarded $50 from the Fine Fund for his actions in exhuming a body in ‘K’ Divison. (Alberta) Crane served from 1909 to 1938 when he retired a Corporal.

1969 – Corporal G.C. Piper and Constable J.W. Faux are inducted into the Manitoba “Order of the Buffalo Hunt” for their actions in attempting to rescue a young boy from an ice flow on the Red River near Selkirk Manitoba.

April 12

1902 – An Order in Council granting compensation of 30 cents per day for life to #3513 Constable Seymour Farquharson because he lost his arm in a shotgun accident at Lake Labarge Yukon. Constable Farquharson served from 1900 to 1902. He collected his pension until he died in 1964.

1908 – Honour Roll Number 32.

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

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division with the name of Constable George Ernest Willamette (Reg.#2584) (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#4584 Constable George Ernest Willmett age 23 was murdered by a burglar, while on night patrol, in the town of Frank, Alberta.

Cst. Willmett had less than a year service when he was assigned to special night patrol in the Town of Frank due to a sharp increase in break and enters. While making his patrol he encountered two German immigrants; Mathias Jasbec and Fritz Eberts behind the Imperial Hotel. Without warning Eberts who had slipped into the shadows shot the plain clothes constable in the neck and face with a blast from his shotgun killing him instantly. After an intensive three-year investigation, Erberts was fingered by his partner and he was subsequently convicted for murder. While in prison Erbert convinced death row inmate Sam Wilinsky to confess to the murder in hopes of being acquitted after Wilinsky was hanged. Fortunately an alert guard found Erberts notes to Wilinski written on toilet paper thereby foiling his plan. Cst. Willmet originally from Derby England was buried in the MacLeod Cemetery.

April 13

1935 – In a special ceremony at Depot the new RCMP Guidon was presented to #O.240 Commissioner Sir James MacBrien by Max Aitken, Lord Bessborough. Present in the official party were #O.223 Supt Robert Tait, #O.189 Supt Cecil Hill & #8773 Sgt Joseph Leatham.

1973 – Commissioners Commendation awarded to #19780 Charles F. Martyn and #28861 E.R. McClare for a drug investigation at Toronto.

1997 – The Commissioners Commendation for outstanding service was awarded to #42298 Constable David Hardy of the Jasper Alberta Detachment.


When Cst. Hardy entered the detachment cells, he was jumped by a violent prisoner named Dean Welsh who overpowered him and proceeded to beat the constable with his own baton and handcuffs. Welsh then gouged at Hardy’s eyes, and pepper sprayed him, as he attempted to get his gun. Though he was suffering badly from the attack Constable Hardy managed to get hold onto his gun in the struggle and in effort to save his own life he had to fire eight rounds into the man before his attacker was finally killed.

April 14

1977 – Commissioners Commendations were awarded to #15451/O.559 Raymond Quintal and #15313/ O.673 Ian Taylor for their role in planning the security for the 1976 Olympics at Montreal. Quintal served from1948 to 1981 retiring as a Deputy Commissioner a Taylor from 1948 to 1983 as a Chief Superintendent.

1983 – While he was to speaking to a motorist who had stepped out of his vehicle after stopping on the highway near Keremeos, BC, #33431 Constable Mark Randy Sargent reacted to an approaching vehicle whose brakes failed. Constable Sargent pushed the motorist out of the way of out of control vehicle but in saving the motorist Sargent was hit and received serious leg injuries. His actions in saving the life of the motorist were recognized by him being awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation. He served from 1976 and retired in 2003 as Sergeant Sargent.

April 15

1885 – Honour Roll Number 9.

Sketch of Constable

Sketch of Constable Davide Latimer Cowan (Reg.#635) (Source of sketch – Don Klancher).

#635 Cst. David Latimer Cowan age 22 was killed by Indians at Fort Pitt, N.W.T. during the North West Rebellion.

Constable David Cowan had been part of a three man Scouting party that had stumbled into the camp of Cree Chief Big Bear. The trio then attempted to ride back to Fort Pitt while being pursued by a hostile war party. After his horse went out of control Cst. Cowan dismounted and tried to run the final distance back to Fort Pitt. As he ran to towards the stockade a Cree warrior on horseback pursued him and tried to hit him in the head with his rifle butt and then Cst. Cowan was killed by a shot in the head by a Cree named “Louison Mongrain”.

The other two members of the scouting party; #925 Clarence M. Loasby and Henry Quinn managed to make it back to the Fort alive but Loasby had received two bullet wounds to his back. The warriors then stole Constable Cowan’s body away and refused to give it back, it was eventually recovered on May 25th having been horribly mutilated, having been scalped and his heart cut out of his body and left hanging on a stick.

Initially he was buried where he had been killed but in 1909 the body was reburied at the Frog Lake Cemetery along with several others who had been killed in the massacre. The actual location of his grave in the cemetery is unknown but a monument erected in 1925 marks the cemetery as a national historic site. David Cowan was from Ottawa Ontario and had served in the Mounted Police for three years and his North West Canada Medal was not claimed until 1973. Constable Loasby was later granted a medical discharge.

1932 – Monogram Pictures releases the movie “Mason of the Mounted” starring Bill Cody as Constable Bill Mason. The Canadian Mountie is sent into the United States in search of a horse thief. His only clue to the identity of the villain is a watch chain that was left at the scene of the crime. Along the way the Mountie makes friends with young Andy Talbot and when bad guy Calhoun hits Andy, our hero gets into a fist fight with Calhoun and in the scuffle Calhoun’s watch with the missing chain is dislodged revealing him as the criminal the Mountie is searching for. Our hero then sets out to bring in Calhoun and his gang.

1979 – Constable #30852 J.E.R. Bourdages and Mr. Robert Manderson of Bushville New Brunswick earned Testimonial Certificates from the Canadian Red Cross when they rescued two men from the icy waters of the Miramichi River. Benoit Chavarie and Alan Malley had capsized their canoe in the half-mile wide river and would likely have died had Constable Bourdages and Robert Manderson rushed to their aid in a small boat.

1981 – The Provincial Court in Regina Saskatchewan rules that the Reverend André Mercure does not have right to have his trial on speeding charge held in French. The court ruling severely limits use of French in Saskatchewan and Alberta courts.

1988 – Commendations were awarded to #22232 Michael Eastham, #27387 Richard Lawrence, #28733 Randy Munro and #34245 Barrie Hurrie, for their efforts in the “Paper Bag Rapist” case. The lengthy investigation concerned a deviant who had attacked and raped several women in the Vancouver area over a three-year period while using paper bag over his head as disguise.

The combined efforts of these policemen resulted in the arrest and conviction of John Horace Oughton for 14 sex offences in 1987. Although Oughton was only convicted for 14 offences he is believed to have been responsible for more than 100 sexual assaults in the greater Vancouver area between 1977 and 1985. He was later declared a dangerous offender and given an indefinite sentence.