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 larryburden8@gmail

January 7th

1904– Commissioner Perry sentenced three Constables #3440 William Warren Piper, #3876 Frank William Phillips and #3951 David Reginald Leslie along with #O.52 Gilbert Edward Superintendent Sunders for their roles in allowing convicted murderer Ernest Cashel to escape from cells while he was awaiting the hangman. Constable Piper received twelve months hard labour and constables Phillips and Leslie received six months hard labour. All three were then dismissed from the Force with ignominy and Supt. Sanders received a written reprimand. Ernest Cashel was later captured after being shot by Constable #3743 John Garnet Welseley Biggs. (See January 24, 1904)

1905– #3613 Constable Albert Pedley arrived at Fort Saskatchewan Alberta from Fort Chipewyan after a 21-day journey of 380 miles (612 kilometers) having escorted a missionary who had gone insane and had to be tied in a sleeping bag and transported by dog sled. Pedley had to endure five days of slush and water then severe snowstorms and temperatures dipping below fifty degrees below zero. His charge refused to eat and he had to force feed him, to prevent him from escaping he had to lash him to a tree at night. One time the insane man escaped and led Pedley on a quarter mile chase before he caught him bound his hands and feet and then carried him thrashing and ranting back to the dog team.

Throughout the ordeal Constable Pedley and his interpreter had to build large fires every night to keep the wolves from attacking and had to listen to the missionary incessant ranting.  The enormous physical and mental strain took its toll on Pedley. On the return trip to Fort Chipewyan he broke down and went insane himself at Lac La Biche and was hospitalized for six months. After being released from the hospital he took three months leave and then returned to duty.

Pedley’s arduous 1905 patrol caught the interest of Hollywood screenwriters when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a movie in 1952 named “The Wild North”. In usual Hollywood tradition, the movie starring Stewart Granger and Wendell Corey looselybased on his epic had little to do with the facts, and tells a story of how and amiable French-Canadian woodsman brings in a Mountie who was sent out into the wild to bring him in.

Pedley joined the NWMP in 1900 and after retiring as a Sergeant in 1924 he returned home to Salisbury, England.

1940– # 11396 Constable Arthur F. McDuffee saved the lives of two elderly Vancouver women who were overcome by smoke inhalation in their burning home. For his courage and personal bravery in entering the burning building and carrying the women out to safety, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

1982 –  While vacationing in Hawaii, #33436 Constable Lorne Harper saw a man struck by large wave and slipped below the surface.  Harper dove in and dragged man to shore and revived him with CPR but the man died later of broken neck.  For his efforts, he received Royal Canadian Humane Testimonial.

January 6th

1978 – Honour Roll Numbers 153 and 154

#24526 Corporal Barry Warren Lidstone age 34 and #33554 Constable Joseph Perry Brophy age 28 were shot and killed, while investigating a domestic dispute, near Hoyt, New Brunswick.

The two policemen had gone to a mobile home in the rural community of Hoyt, 15 miles south of Fredericton to assist Bonita Crombie in getting her daughter Wanda back from her estranged husband. The Crombie’s volatile relationship had ended six months before and Wanda had spent Christmas with her father. Bonita and her new boyfriend followed the policemen to the home and waited in their car while the officers spoke to Leslie Crombie about returning his daughter. Finding Crombie sober and cooperative they called Wanda into the trailer to get her daughter. Just before she was about to leave, Leslie Crombie stated “Wait a second, I’ll be right back. I have a surprise for you.” Nobody thought anything of it and assumed he was going to get a Christmas present for his daughter. That was a fatal error. When Crombie came out of the bedroom, he was armed with a 30-30 caliber rifle and began shooting. His first shot struck Cpl. Lidstone in the head and he then shot Cst. Brophy in the leg. As the constable attempted to draw his revolver from his parka, Crombie shot him in the head killing him.  Crombie then went to the door and fired several shots at his ex wife’s new boyfriend and then turned his attention to her. Demanding to know who the boyfriend was, he shot her in the leg, but the bullet shattered and struck his daughter too. Realizing what he had done Crombie phoned his father who cane over and whisked his granddaughter away for medical treatment. When the police stormed the trailer later, they discovered that Crombie had taken Wanda into their bedroom and killed her and then lying on the bed with his arm around her he shot himself in the head.

Corporal Barry Warren Lidstone had 12 years service in the RCMP and had spent much of it in the Arctic and was only on his third shift at the Fredericton Detachment when he was murdered. His remains were cremated and placed at the Peoples Cemetery in Dartmouth Nova Scotia.

Constable Joseph Perry Brophy had only been in the RCMP for two years having previously served with the Newcastle and Blackville New Brunswick police departments. Survived by his wife and their two young daughters he was buried in Blackville.

1983– #43261 Cst. Robert Melvin McAuley MB of Cumberland House Detachment in Saskatchewan saved a mother and her child from drowning in the Bigstone River. After being dispatched to the scene Cst. McAuley rushed down to the shore and observed a woman in the river desperately clinging to the broken ice doing her best to struggle against the strong current. Without hesitating, he crawled nearly meters on the thin ice in an attempt to reach the woman. While he proceeded to pull her from the water, he saw the child’s head appear near the surface. Cst. McAuley then grabbed the child and lifted the unconscious boy onto the ice. After helping the woman and child to safety, he then applied cardio-pulmonary resuscitation to the boy and succeeded in reviving the child. For his heroism Cst. Robert Melvin McAuley was awarded the Medal of Bravery.