Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

RCMP door decal crest - photographed by 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

March 6

1911 -#4817 Constable Edwin Smith was awarded $25 from the Fine Fund in recognition of his good work in searching for missing settlers north of Medicine Hat, Alberta.

1938 – Stuart Taylor Wood. C.M.G. becomes the eighth permanent Commissioner and serves until April 30, 1951.

Photograph of Commission Stuart Wood – Commissioner of the RCMP.

Commissioner Wood had a distinguished family history including, General Zachary Taylor John Taylor, the twelfth President of the United States and Captain John Taylor Wood the famous Confederate Naval Commander, who is buried in Halifax Nova Scotia. Commissioner Wood’s father was appointed n inspector in the NWMP in 1885. Both he and his father were graduates of the Royal Military College in Kingston Ontario. Commissioner Wood was commissioned as an Inspector in the RNWMP in 1912. He served as a lieutenant in WWI and retired from the RCMP in 1951. Stuart Taylor Wood died in 1966.

1962 – The RCMP investigates the bombing of an electric power pylon near Riondel BC. The investigation identifies the Sons of Freedom sect “The Doukhobors” as being the culprits.

1986 – Honour Roll Number 180.

Photograph of Special Constable Robert Thomas.

#S/2886 Robert W.C. Thomas was murdered while working Highway Patrol near Powerview, Manitoba.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. Special Constable Robert Thomas was patrolling with is partner #37371 Constable Reginald Albert Gulliford near Powerview, Manitoba 80 miles north of Winnipeg. They decided to check a vehicle that was parked at a service station with two occupants in the car and assumed that they had run out of gas.

After a brief conversation with the driver the two policemen turned and walked back to their car when the driver suddenly got out of his car armed with a .303 rifle and shot Cst. Thomas in the back from only six feet away killing him instantly. Cst. Gulliford managed to pull his revolver and return fire but the gunman wounded him in the wrist and chest rendering him unconscious on the pavement.

After shooting the policemen the 46-year-old gunman Edgar Martin Olson and his female passenger drove to the Fort Alexander Reserve in search of Olson’s estranged common-law wife who had left him to live with her first husband Harry Fontaine. Arriving at the Fontaine residence, Olsen took them hostage and threatened to kill them both. While he held the pair hostage, one of the Fontaine children ran to a neigbours house and called the police. During the standoff with the police, Harry Fontaine succeeded in grabbing the rifle and striking Olsen with it, as the rest of the hostages ran out of the building the police rushed in and overpowered him. After arresting Olsen the police discovered that he was out on parole for attempted murder. He was later convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He committed suicide six years later.

Special Constable Robert Thomas was buried in the United Church graveyard on the Peguis Reserve the community where he had grown up. Cst. Reg Gulliford recovered from his wounds and was eventually transferred back to his home Province of Newfoundland.

March 7

1898 – #2412 Constable George Butler along with three other members left Edmonton to establish Peace River Landing Detachment.

1993 – Commendation awarded to #37077 Thomas Roy for safe arrest of armed and intoxicated man Lac La Martre, NWT.

March 8

Photograph of the Lord Strathcona Horse Officers which consisted of many NWMP members

1900 – Members of the Lord Strathcona Horse receive an enthusiastic sendoff on Parliament Hill as they depart for the Boer War. The unit includes seven officers and 26 men who are leave from the NWMP and are commanded by Supt. Samuel Benfield Steele 1849-1919.

1939 – After having lunch #6369/ O.283 Inspector Robson Armitage was walking back to his office on Rideau Street in Ottawa when he heard two gunshots. Turning towards the noise he saw two men run from the Bank of Montreal and race down the street.

Despite the fact that he was unarmed and dressed in civilian clothing Ermitage chased after the fugitives and caught one of the gunmen after he went down an alley and tried to climb a wooden fence. Though the robber threatened several times to shoot him, Armitage continued to wrestle with the gunman until he lost his grip on him. After freeing himself from the struggle the man raced away with Armitage still pursuing him until he was tackled a second time by the policeman near a warehouse. With the help of a citizen the gunman was finally subdued and turned over to Ottawa City Police Detective Sabourin.

The second robber was arrested a short time later and both men were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. On September 25, 1940 Inspector Robson Armitage along with five other police and firemen were awarded the Kings Police and Fire Medal. In receiving his medal for conspicuous gallantry, the Right Honorable Ernest LaPointe, Minister of Justice noted that Inspector Armitage’s actions were exceptional considering that he was unarmed and had knowingly chased down an armed man 25 years younger in age.

March 9

1873 – Sir John A Macdonald’s Conservative government proposes the establishment of a Mounted Police force for the North West Territories; the act is passed on May 23.

1942 – Several members of the RCMP were transferred to military service in 10th reinforcement draft to Provost Corps including #14051 Constable Mack Fewster.

Photograph of the Canadian stamp dedicated to Commissioner George French – NWMP Commissioner.

1973 – Three postage stamps honouring the centennial of the RCMP are released.

The eight cent stamp depicts the first permanent commissioner of the NWMP Sir Arthur French.

The ten cent stamp depicts a spectrograph representing the science and technology utilized in the RCMP Crime Lab.

The fifteen cent stamp depicts a member of the Musical Ride.

March 10

1932 – Jack Fossum author of “Cop In The Closet” and “Man Catcher” joins the RCMP.

1937 – Honour Roll Number 60.

#11818 Constable George Edward Horan age 25 was killed in police car accident.

While driving from Belleville to Deseronto, Ontario Cst. Horan met an approaching Cities Service oil truck at a bridge three miles east of Deseronto. The truck sideswiped Horan’s police car flipping it over and killing him instantly. William Hopping, the unlicensed truck driver was found at fault for not dimming his headlights and for not having any clearance lights on his vehicle. He received a fine of $6.00. Cst. Horan was only the second member of the Force to be killed in a police car collision. He had only been in the RCMP for four and a half years. This was the second fatal police car accident in history of the Force. Constable Horan was buried in the Gillis Cove cemetery near his hometown of Orangedale Novas Scotia.

1952 – A new Detachment was opened at Kitimat, B.C. by #15302 Constable James Smythe. He served from 1947 to 1972 and retired a Sgt. The author arrived in Kitimat fresh from Depot as a wide-eyed rookie on December 29 1980.

1959 – RCMP and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary are called in to clear picket lines in the International Association of Woodworkers Union strike that began on Jan 1, 1959. The union had been decertified by Premier Smallwood government. In the clash with striking loggers 24 year old Constable William Moss of the RNC is hit in the head with a pulp log and dies two days later in hospital in Grand Falls.

1960 – Native Indians received the right to vote in federal elections.

1974 – Commanding Officers Commendations are awarded to #22097 George Batt, #25212 Alexander Steeves, #25490 Robert Baird, #27633 Clarence Fidler, #28949 James Crawford & #29571 James Estey.

The policemen responded to a Break and Enter at a residence in Antigonish, N.S. The thieves got the jump on one of the members and was holding him at gun point and shot at one of the police cars. The thieves then fled to nearby house and took woman hostage. After a standoff one of the thieves was shot by police and the second assailant surrendered.

March 11

Photograph of the RCMP Cenotaph at “Depot” Division. Red circle denotes Sub-Constable John Nash (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

1896 – Honour Roll Number 1.

#135 Sub Constable John D. Nash age 27 was accidentally killed while on duty near Fort MacLeod. Cst. Nash was hauling logs be used in the construction of buildings at Fort Walsh by horse and wagon when the load of logs fell on him.

Nash was one of the original members of the famous March West and was from Halifax Nova Scotia. He was not the first member to die on duty in the NWMP but was the first attributed to being killed in a duty related incident. There is little known about Cst. Nash because his service file was lost when the west block of the Parliament buildings burned in 1897. He was buried in the in the Protestant plot of the Union Cemetery at Fort MacLeod, in grave 3, row 1.

1969 – The last RCMP Dog Sled Patrol is conducted at Old Crow Yukon.

1978 – Upon arriving at a hotel in Yorkton, Saskatchewan Staff Sergeant Parchomchuk and three other civilians removed the lifeless body of Raymond Hofer from the bottom of the swimming pool. Through their efforts in performing CPR Hofer was revived and taken to hospital. Staff Sergeant Parchomchuk and the other three citizens were awarded the Meritorious Certificate from Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

1982 – 35-cent RCMP constable on horseback postage stamp is released. It is a reproduction of the first Canadian postage stamp depicting a member of the Mounted Police that was originally released in 1935. To this day nobody knows who the Mountie was that posed for the photo that was used for the stamp image.

1993 – #38439 Constable Brent Harold Veefkind, age 33 was killed on duty in a motor vehicle accident near Bezanson, Alberta.

Constable Veefkind was posted with the Grand Prairie Municipal Detachment, Alberta at the time of his death. He is one of several members of the Force who are not included in the Official Honour Roll due to a change in policy regarding criteria for inclusion in the Honour Roll.

March 12

1943 – #13097 Constable Charles DeLisle departed on a 151 day dog sled patrol from Pond Inlet to Fort Ross and back a gain covering a distance of 3,551 miles.

2002 – Honour Roll Number 198.

Photograph of Constable Christine Diotte (Reg.#45279).

#45279 Cst. Christine Elizabeth Diotte age 35 was killed while investigating a single motor vehicle accident near Banff, Alberta.

Christine and her husband Mario had been transferred to Banff in July of 2001 and she was assigned the responsibility of field training a new recruit in December 2001. Four months later she and her recruit Constable Dave Davis were driving back to the detachment on very icy roads when a report of a roll over motor vehicle accident on the Trans Canada Highway was received. Constable Diotte decided to tag along with Davis and give him a hand instead of being dropped off at the detachment. The constables made their way to the scene and discovered that the vehicle had lost control on the curve of the icy road and slid into the ditch. They confirmed that there were no injuries and called for a tow truck. As the two members were removing traffic cones from the trunk of their car Constable Davis proceeded to walk over to the occupants of the roll over vehicle when a Ford Explorer came around the curve and lost control and slammed sideways into both police officers. Constable Davis was knocked unconscious and thrown into the ditch while Diotte was crushed between the Explorer and the back of the police car. Both officers were transported by ambulance to the Mineral Springs Hospital in Banff but Christine Diotte could not be revived.

Christine Elizabeth Diotte (nee Fish) was given a full regimental funeral attended by over 600 police officers including her husband Mario. She was buried in the military section of the Canmore Cemetery. Constable Davis spent several months recuperating from his injuries and eventually returned to full duty.