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.


May 10th

1924-The Alberta Legislature votes to end prohibition in the province.

1937– #11671 / O.389 Constable Leslie Grayson was traveling from Vermillion to Peace River Alberta aboard the riverboat “Weenusk”, when Earl Blanchard fell overboard. Without hesitating Cst. Grayson dove into Peace River fully clothed and rescued the drowning man.

1995– Commendation #43125 Constable Tracy Ross for rescuing a suicidal woman from drowning. Ross witnessed a woman walk into cold swift waters of the Tulameen River, in Princeton, B.C. She ran after her and managed to pull the despondent woman to shore and then restrained her until help arrived.

2013– Medal of Bravery Constable Fraser Alan Potts, M.B.

On May 10, 2013, a woman intentionally drove her vehicle off the embankment and into the swollen Fairford River, in Gypsumville, Manitoba. She managed to escape from the car but was swept away by the strong current and was in danger of drowning. #57998 Constable Fraser Potts had arrived on the scene and when he saw her being swept away dove into the river and despite the difficulty moving his limbs in the icy water, he managed to rescue her and pull her closer to shore where they were picked up by a rescue boat.

For his act of bravery, he was awarded the Medal of Bravey on May 1st2015

May 9th

1991– Constables J.P. Berthelot and P.G. Muehling of Steinbach Manitoba received Commanding Officer’s Commendations after they entered burning and apprehended an armed and dangerous man.

1992– Commendations were awarded to three members for their role in investigation the West Ray Mine Disaster near Plymouth Nova Scotia. #21413 Chestley Macdonald headed up the investigation to determine how 26 men working underground died. After methane gas explosion killed the mines rescue crews attempted to locate survivors. The bodies of 11 men were recovered immediately but after six days of searching the rescue operation was concluded. #31121 Harry Ullock and #36283 Corporal Mick Cashen were awarded commendations for their efforts in entering the coal mine and searching for evidence.

2009– While serving with an international operations co-ordination unit in Afghanistan, 55-year old #36022 Sergeant Brian S. Kelly was seriously wounded when a car bomb exploded near the entrance to the Afghan Alliance headquarters in the capital city of Kabul. After surgery to remove shrapnel from his legs he was airlifted to Germany for additional treatments. He arrived back in Ottawa on August 22nd.

Almost 100 people were injured the heavily fortified area of the capital, killing seven Afghans. Sergeant Kelly was a 29-year member of the Force at the time and was serving on his, second overseas mission having previously served in the former Yugoslavia.

Ironically although the RCMP is still on Canada Order of Battle list, Sgt. Kelly was denied the Sacrifice Medal because he was considered to be a civilian and not military.

2014 –Canada enacts the National Day of Honour commemorating the Afghanistan conflict. 

May 8th

1933– Honour Roll Number 54.

#O.281 Inspector Lorne James Sampson age 38, died from injuries he received during the Saskatoon Riot. 

Inspector Sampson was leading a squad of men who were trying to control a mob of unemployed protestors in the Saskatoon riot. The unruly mob began throwing rocks and debris at the police, striking Inspector Sampson in the head.He fell backwards, and his horse bolted but his foot was caught in a stirrup. In an attempt to assist him, Constables #10140 Neville Cleary and #11745 Frank Spalding tried to box in Sampson’s horse to get it to stop. As the panicked horse ran between rows of posts, Inspector Sampson’s unconscious body swung in an arc and his head hit a post with such force, that stirrup strap broke and he was killed.

Born at Marksville Ontario, Sampson joined the RNWMP in September 1914. One year later he took a discharge to enlist for service overseas during WW1. He served as a Corporal with the 119th Batallion in England and was transferred to the 58th Battalion in France.

He rejoined the RNWMP in 1919 and was promoted to Sergeant the same year and was transferred to Vancouver where he served until 1932. He returned to Regina and was promoted to Sergeant Major in 1932 and was promoted to Inspector on April 22, 1932, just one month before he was killed on duty.

1943– #16167 John J. Hogan, KPM Hogan earned the Kings Police and Fire Medal while serving with the Newfoundland Rangers.

1945 VE day.

1999– Commendations were awarded to #36577 Constable Ed Lazurko and a civilian Mr. Sam, for rescuing a suicidal man who was going to commit man trying to jump off a 100-foot high Canadian National Railway bridge at Lytton, BC. Constable Lazurko grabbed the man and was suspending him in mid-air when he was assisted pulling the man back onto the bridge platform.

1999– #44633 Constable Paul Harvey Zechel and Auxiliary Constable Orsted received commendations as a result of conducting a vehicle check on Bear First Nation, Saskatchewan. When they checked one of the occupants of the vehicle, they discovered that there was a warrant for his arrest. The man then brandished a knife, and then retreated into a slough and threatened to commit suicide. Constable Zechel was able to talk the man into dropping the knife and then arrested him.

May 7th

1946– On this day The King’s Police and Fire Medal was awarded to #14056 Constable Roy Chester Shaw for his courage, determination and initiative for entering a burning building and attempting to save the life of an infant at Whitehorse, YT. Shortly before noon a house fire broke out at a residence where the owners had gone shopping and left a seven-month-old child sleeping in his crib. When the mother arrived home, she found the fire department fighting the blaze and hysterically announced that her child was inside. Constable Shaw arrived on the scene and upon hearing that the child was inside the blaze he attempted to force his way into the house but was driven back by the heavy smoke. He then smashed out the bedroom window and jumped inside and rummaged around the room until he found the baby, and then leaped through the window shortly before the building collapsed. The child was rushed to the hospital but died a few hours later from burns he received in the blaze. 

Shaw served in the RCMP from 1941 to 1961 and retired as a Corporal.

1965– Two Soviet diplomats are expelled from Canada for plotting an espionage network.

1999– Honour Roll Number195.

Forty-year-old highway patrol member #35689Constable Joseph Ernest Jean-Guy Daniel Bourdon was killed after being hit by a tractor trailer, fifteen kilometers south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 

At approximately 3:00 pm, the nineteen-year veteran was conducting a vehicle check on Hwy. #11, when a passing tractor trailer traveling 30 kilometers over the speed limit and too close to the shoulder of the road clipped him propelling him into the ditch. He was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries shortly afterwards. 

Nathan Kletka, the truck driver was convicted of driving without due care and attention and for exceeding his driving hours for which he received a $3540 fine.Dan Bourdon had spent his entire career in Saskatchewan, was married and had a daughter. He had earned his commercial pilots licence and was planning on retiring and pursuing a new full-time career in aviation.  

After a regimental funeral attended by over 600 police officers, he was buried at the Weldon Cemetery in Saskatoon.

May 6th

1877– After defeating General George Custer and the United States 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads 1,500 of his followers into Canada to ask protection from the Queen. The Canadian government did not want or need the Sioux settling in Canada for they feared it would lead to conflict with the local natives and endanger relations with the United States. 

Superintendent James Morrow Walsh, who on behalf of the Canadian Government, met sitting Bull at Pinto Horse Butte after he went into the encampment of 5000 warriors with only six men and advised him that the Sioux must obey the law and that they must not raid the United States. Chief Sitting Bull responded, the he had “buried his weapons on the American side” and that he would do no wrong in the country of the White Mother. While he was meeting with Sitting Bull Superintendent Walsh decided to impress upon the Sioux that he met business when it came to enforcing the law. His men had recognized a South Assinoboine warrior named White Dog was riding a stolen horse, so Walsh promptly went over to the warrior and in front of everyone arrested him and seized the horse. Expecting the natives to assist him, White Dog called for assistance, but discovered that none was coming.  

James Morrow Walsh had great admiration for the natives and encouraged them to stay. This made the Sioux happy but infuriated Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald who subsequently removed him from his post and ordered him to have no further dealings with Sitting Bull.

In 1883 this noble officer resigned from the Mounted Police in protest over the government’s treatment of the Sioux. His career did not end though; in 1897 he was made the first commissioner of the Yukon District andwas reinstated as a superintendent in the NWMP and given command of the NWMP in the Yukon. 

In 2000 author Ian Anderson published “Sitting Bull’s Boss” and told the story of these two fascinating men. 

1910– King Edward VII dies King George V ascends to the throne. 

1979– Commanding Officers Commendation awarded to #34696 Rob Diack and Auxiliary Constable Wolfe when they responded to a complaint of a man who had taken shotgun and a knife and was threatening to commit suicide. The man was pointing the weapon at members and when A/Constable Wolfe distracted him Constable Diack jumped him and succeeded in subduing the suspect.

1992– Commendations issued to #33259 D.R. McInnis and #40814 Constable T.W. Peter after they entered the basement of a burning building in Rapid City, Manitoba to rescue hostage while they were confronted by armed intoxicated suspect. 

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