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 3rd

1879– #O.40 Samuel B. Steele, # 86 John H. Holtorf, #93 George B. Mills and Metis guide Foley were caught in a blizzard east of Fort MacLeod.  They struggled for four days without food and finally made it to the MacFarland ranch 4 miles east of the Fort.

1947– Canada’s tenth Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King becomes the first Canadian to take the Oath of Citizenship, in the Supreme Court, from Chief Justice Thibaudeau Rinfret. Ever since members of the RCMP have been present in dress uniform for most citizenship ceremonies.

1951Commendation to #16590 / O.584 Jack Routledge for excellent judgment in overcoming obstruction by individual resisting arrest.

1964 – Honour Roll Number 125

#22055 Constable Joseph Pierre Francois Dubois age 22 was killed in a police car accident, at Fauvel Quebec.

The cause of the accident that killed him and the two prisoners he was transporting was never determined.

The most likely theory is that he may have fallen asleep at the wheel during the 150-mile trip. The accident investigation revealed that he lost control of his vehicle five miles west of New Carleton, on the Gaspé Peninsula when it veered to the left and traveled over 100 feet without any signs of braking. The vehicle then traveled 43 feet through the air over a ravine and after hitting the other side fell backwards onto its roof 18 feet down into the bottom of the ravine. He had been in the RCMP for only 2 ½ years and was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in his hometown of St. Antoine Abbe, Quebec. 

1987 – Mrs. Mary Larsen christens the new Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker ship the “Henry Larsen” at the launching ceremony at the Versatile Pacific Shipyard in North Vancouver BC. The new ship is named in honour of the late #10407 / O.347 Superintendent Henry Asbjorn Larsen (1899-1964)the famous captain of the RCMP vessel St. Roch. The 8200 ton ship is powered by three medium speed engines that drive the ship at a cruising speed of 13.5 knots and has a range of 15,000 nautical miles. The $92 million-dollar ship replaced the Coast Guards oldest icebreaker the “Labrador”. Some of the past and present members of the Force who were present at the launching include #27668 Sgt. William A. Van de Braak, #37352 Constable Andrew Lamb and veterans #12846 Frank N. Brien and St. Roch crew member #10372 Joe Olsen.

2005– After the devastating Tsunami in the South Pacific on Boxing Day 2004, the RCMP sent a team of Forensic Identification experts to Thailand # to assist in the gruesome but necessary task of identifying the numerous people killed in the tidal wave. The members of the team included O.2075 George Fraser and O.2082 Brian Andrews #28513 Gerald Tucker, #35688 Serge LaRoque, #41818 Geoffrey Ellis, #34819 Robert Rix, #39108 Dave Thompson, #41870 Jacques Neri, #45531 Navjeet Hothi and #46053 Dianne Cockle.

January 2nd

1884-#2453 Cst Walter Samson Lee was fined $10 in Service Court by Superintendent Deane at Lethbridge for falsely reporting that he was sick. A tidy sum when you are making 50 cents a day.

1938– The Hollywood movie “Death Goes North” starring Edgar Edwards as Sgt. Ken Strange is released by Warrick Columbia Pictures.The movie tells the tale of two Mounties and the son of Rin Tin Tin who join forces to solve a complex mystery where a lumber heiress finds herself victimized by two rivals who are after her land.

1979 – Two members save the lives of a suicidal man. Constables #32256 Robert Anthony Norman and #34776 David Willson respond to a complaint of a man standing on the girders of Pattullo Bridge ever the Fraser River between Surrey and New Westminster BC.

While Cst. Willson talked to the jumper from the bridge deck below, Cst. Norman climbed the bridge girders 45 feet above deck and caught subject as he fell. The jumper was found to be drunk.  Cst. Norman received a Commissioners Commendation for his actions.

1989– After a man fell from a barge into the ocean near Nanaimo BC, Constables #38815 Shelly L. Mason and #37186 Gary R. Styles dove in and attempted to rescue him from the icy waters. For their efforts in attempting to save him, Constable Mason was awarded a Commissioners Commendation and Styles received a Commanding Officers Commendation.

January 1st

1875-#247 Sub Constables Frank Baxter and #228 Thomas D. Wilson were granted leave for Christmas and were traveling back to Fort MacLeod by horseback from Fort Kipp.

Both men had celebrated the season in style and had consumed their share of beverages were on their way back to their post when they were caught in a sudden blizzard and the temperature dropped. The severely frost-bitten men struggled on and in hopes of finding shelter but did not make it. A search party found them and transported them to the hospital at Fort MacLeod but they died on New Years day and were buried at Fort MacLeod.

1885-As part of Supt Sam Steele’s crew that were policing the construction of the CPR, #557 Constables Ernest Percival and #760 William Ross were camped at Palliser, B.C. located midway between present day Field and Golden British Columbia. During the night Constable Ross froze to death and became the first member of the NWMP to die in BC.

The unsubstantiated story is that the two men had some liquor and did a bit of celebrating on New Year’s. Ross was buried at the campsite and the railway and history moved on forgetting about the young constable.  In 1953 Golden Detachment member #16721/O.795 John “Jack” W. White discovered the overgrown grave of Constable Ross on a hillside behind the oil storage tanks in the Canadian Pacific Railway yards at Golden. Constable White then wrote to Ottawa and made a request to have the grave moved to Golden Cemetery. In 1955, official permission was granted and #14891Corporal Al Jensen dug up the grave and re-interred remains in the Golden Cemetery.

1904– While working in Norway House Manitoba, located 456 kilometers (285 miles) north of Winnipeg, #1714 Cpl. David Bennett “Daisy” Smith was promoted to Sergeant in recognition of his outstanding service and commitment to duty.
The isolated community was stricken by an outbreak of diphtheria and scarlet fever and Cpl. Smith had to act as both a doctor and undertaker to numerous residents who were taken ill. Sgt. Smith served from 1885 to 1910 and died in 1942 at Melfort Sask.

1935 -The Criminal Code of Canada is amended, requiring the registration of all pistols and revolvers. As a result, the Firearms Section was established at RCMP headquarters and within two years, there were 150,000 records on file.

1938-#10570 Cpl. Robert Christy loses all his effects in fire at Fort MacPherson, NWT.

1947– Canadian Citizenship Act comes into effect, officially creating Canadian citizens; Canadian citizenship becomes paramount to being a British subject.

1974– #13863 / O.484 Maurice Jean Nadon becomes the sixteenth Commissioner, having assumed acting command of the RCMP. He was born in born in Mattawa, Ontario on July 8, 1920 and joined the RCMP on January 3, 1941. He became Commissioner during a controversial and turbulent time in the history of the Force when the media directed a great deal criticism at the RCMP for allegedly targeting politicians and its actions during the War Measures Act during the FLQ Crisis in Quebec. During his short term as Acting Commissioner he stressed the need for a war on organized crime, and enabled women and married personnel to join the Force and he introduced the concept a preventive-oriented policing. He retired on August 31, 1977 when his successor Commissioner Robert Henry Simmons was named.

1995– The Abbotsford B.C. Detachment headed by #23563 S/Sgt Franklin Stacey closes its doors for good after the public votes to keep the Matsqui Police in favour of the RCMP. The new police force is named the Abbotsford City Police.