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), who 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.com.

March 15th

1915– Constables #4793 Thomas Irivine, #4436 John Goodrich & #4685 Samuel Waugh were awarded $25 each from Fine Fund for meritorious service regarding the Donovan & McKeage cattle theft investigation in Alberta.

1931– Warner’s Pictures release “The Rivers End” staring Charles Bickford as Sgt. Derry Conniston who plays a dual role as his twin brother John Keith who he never knew because they were separated at birth and happens to be a falsely accused murderer. Sgt. Conniston is accidentally killed, by a “frosted heart” and Keith assumes the Mountie’s identity and manages to solve the murder for which he was accused. This movie is a remake of a 1920 film and is redone for the third time in 1940 starring Dennis Morgan.

1962– The George Medal was awarded to #18624 Constable Glen Garry Frazer.  Frazer attended to a bank alarm in Terrace BC, and when he walked into bank, the robber who was in the process of fleeing from the bank shot him in the leg. Frazer’s life was spared but his leg had to be amputated at the knee. Fraser continued on with his career and retired a Staff Sergeant.  

1966– The Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem was issued to #23816 Constable Ivan Comete, as a result of saving the life of a man who had been pinned under steel beam at the Dorval Airport in Montreal.  Constable Comete took charge of the situation and ordered others to get car jacks to lift the beam off of the victim who had ceased breathing. As the victim was being released, Comete provided artificial respiration to the man and succeeded in saving his life.

1983– After Mrs. Anita Lee gave birth to a baby girl in the back seat of a car in Richmond BC, Constable Judy E. Jane’ was called to the scene to assist because the baby wasn’t breathing and the member at the scene couldn’t revive the child. Constable Jane’ cleared the baby’s airway and gently massaged the child’s chest and after seven minutes of artificial respiration succeeded in reviving the child.  She was awarded the Meritorious Certificate from the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

1989– Honour Roll Number 187.

#40153 Cst. Della Sonya Beyak age 21 died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, near Assiniboia, Sask. Cst. Beyak was working in the detachment office on her day off doing voluntary overtime when a massive traffic accident involving a large crane and a van occurred on Highway #2 south of the town of Assiniboia. 

When the police officers at the scene requested assistance, Cst. Beyak left the office and headed to the scene in a snowstorm. When she encountered a slow moving vehicle, she attempted to pass it and as she edged her police car to the left in an attempt to see if the path was clear she collided head on with an oncoming vehicle. Ironically the vehicle she collided with was driven by the local Coroner who was returning from the scene with the deceased driver of the van following close behind in an ambulance. The two cars collided and then the ambulance plowed into the back of the Coroner’s vehicle. Both the coroner and Cst. Beyak were killed instantly.

Constable Della Beyak had only been in the RCMP for less than one year and was the first female member of the Force to be entered on the Honour Roll. She was buried in the Cemetery in her hometown of Winnipegosis, Manitoba.

March 14th

1972– Despite the fact that a juvenile offender in Fort St. James BC was shooting at six policemen in an armed standoff, officers succeeded in apprehending the young man without having to shoot him. Their actions resulted in 39-year-old #17909 Sergeant Hugh Dickson Bowyer, and Constables #27741 Karl Waversveld 23, #27918 Fredrick Duke Larson 22, #27680 William John Code 23, #28368 Larry David Charles Christensen 22 and #29161 Lewis James Wilkinson 22 being awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1975– Constable # 27317 B.N. Toews was presented a Commanding Officers Commendation (I am looking for additional information on this)

1987– Three Special Constables rushed to the scene of a fire at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport and successfully put out the blaze before the Fire Department arrived. 

Special Constables D.M. Heslop, L.D. Little and #41323 K.J. L.  Cosman rushed to the second floor of the administration building after a cleaner discovered the fire. Entering the area, they attempted to fight the fire with a portable fire extinguisher, but it was too small to contain the blaze. They then fought their way through the smoke and heat and attempted to use the buildings fire hose, but the valve would not open. Undaunted the trio found another fire extinguisher and finally succeeded in dousing the fire. All three members had to be treated for smoke inhalation. In recognition of their efforts, which likely saved the entire building, they were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

March 13th

1916– Manitoba becomes the first province to vote for prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

1968– Commissioners Commendations and grants from the Benefit Trust Fund for $100 awarded to #16665 S/Sgt Peter Blake Payne and #23801 Constable Murray Donovan Charlton for the arrest of armed and dangerous man in Richmond, B.C.

1971– FLQ terrorist Paul Rose receives a life sentence for the non-capital murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte who was kidnapped during the October Crisis of 1970. His brother Jacques Rose, and associates Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie were also sentenced. In November, Paul Rose receives an additional life term for kidnapping Laporte. He was granted full parole in 1982.

March 12th

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

1975– The RCMP charges 13 companies and 14 people with conspiring to defraud Ottawa and Ontario of $4 million; Liberal Party members cleared in Hamilton Harbour dredging scandal.

2002 – Honour Roll Number 198.

#45279 Constable 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 #51235 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) from Thunder Bay Ontario, joined the RCMP in 1996. She 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.

March 11th

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#19803 Staff Sergeant G. 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 Rol due to a change in the policy regarding criteria for inclusion in the Honour Roll. 

2011

Constable James Robert Guthrie, M.B.
Paris and Hamilton, Ontario
Constable Clifford J. Leavitt, M.B.
Spirit River, Alberta
Constable Adam D. Palmer, M.B.
Canmore, Alberta
Constable Douglas Wade Philip, M.B.
Red Deer, Alberta 

On March 19, 2011, RCMP constables James Guthrie, Clifford Leavitt, Adam Palmer and Douglas Philip risked their lives to apprehend a heavily armed, escaped convict near Sexsmith, Alberta. 

After setting up a road block, the officers maintained their position during the two-hour standoff. The suspect then closed in on the constables with his car and fired on them with his high-powered weapons. The officers returned fire and subsequently apprehended the criminal when his vehicle became stuck in a muddy ditch.

March 10th

1932– #11297 John “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 Nova 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.

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