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 17th

1939– King George VI 1895-1952, along with Queen Elizabeth and the royal party leave Quebec City for Montreal aboard the Royal Train that is comprised of two vice-regal cars and five cars from Canadian Pacific Railways and five from Canadian National Railways. The train is painted in royal blue and aluminum, and royal crowns are affixed to the running boards of both locomotives. For security reasons a second train, carrying officials and members of the press, travels ahead of the royal train by an hour and the rail line is shut down so no other trains are permitted to travel within this period.

1965– #23837 Constable Kenneth Gerald Kornelson a recruit from Mission, British Columbia was accidentally electrocuted while swimming in the pool at the RCMP Academy “Depot” in Regina.  When #23716 Cst. Brian Baldwin the pool orderly that evening witnessed Kornelson in trouble, he dove into the pool and pulled him to the surface. In the aftermath of the investigation, investigators were surprised that Baldwin did not get electrocuted as well. It was later determined that Kornelson touched an underwater lamp and was electrocuted.

His story was forgotten with the passage of time until members of the Mission Detachment gathered with others at his grave in the Hatzic Cemetery in Mission on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death. To date his name has not been added to the RCMP Honour Roll but thanks to the efforts of a Troopmate his name was added to the roll on the Peace Officers Memorial at Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital.

1966– On this day 45-year-old Paul-Joseph Chartier, attempted to blow up the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The mentally deranged former truck driver who had a hatred for politicians and homosexuals walked into the Parliament Building with several sticks of dynamite in his pockets and watched the proceedings in the House of Commons from the gallery. He then left the gallery and went into the washroom and lit the bomb and was intending to go back to the House of Commons when it exploded, and he was killed instantly. 

When the Police searched his rooming house in Toronto they found several other sticks of dynamite and a number of writings and letters that he had sent to newspapers in which he stated his plan was to “exterminate as many members of Parliament as possible,” because of the actions of rich and greedy politicians and the government, made it so no one could afford to live and that he was prepared to die in the process. Thanks to a heavy wooden door, the blast was confined to the washroom which was heavily damaged, but no other part of the building was seriously damaged.1970– For over three hours a squad of men from the Nanaimo BC detachment led by #16431 Staff Sergeant Gilbert A. Perry had surrounded a house because a mentally disturbed man armed with a rifle and handguns had fired off more than 80 shots.

Attempts to reason with him had failed and tear gas had no effect on the suspect.

The man finally came onto deck and S/Sgt. Perry was able calm him down enough that Perry could approach him and remove a pistol lying at his feet and then take him into custody. Perry was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery and the City of Nanaimo presented him with Silver Medal for meritorious service.

Perry had been a member of the BC Provincial Police and joined the RCMP when it was absorbed in 1950 and he retired to pension in 1974.

1992– The Medal of Bravery was awarded to #26701 Sergeant Robert S. Guthrie, who along with another citizen attempted to save three people trapped in a burning car near Millet, Alberta. 

Sgt. Guthrie was off duty when he heard car crash and an explosion and rushed to the scene. Arriving at the same time as his neighbor who also saw flames coming out of the rear of the vehicle that had three occupants trapped inside the vehicle. They immediately ran over to the car and tried to open the doors and managed to bend the window frame of the passenger door enough to reach in and pull the driver out. Before they could free the other two passengers from the back seat, the flames engulfed the vehicle and the two passengers perished.

May 16th

1911– As a result of an Order in Council, RNWMP Corporal #4480 Charles V. Wood was granted $500 for injuries he received during a lengthy dog team patrol in the Norway House district. Wood served from 1906 – 1910 when he was invalided out of the Force.

1914-The Dingman oil well strike starts the oil boom in Alberta.

1961– American President John F. Kennedy made an official visit to Ottawa where crowds of over 50,000 people line the streets to welcome him.

1976– #17424 Staff Sergeant R.A. Sales earned a Commissioners Commendation for his actions in disarming an emotionally deranged man at Hines Creek Alberta.

May 15th

1885– Louis Riel 1844-1885 surrenders to General Middleton’s troops ending the North West Rebellion. The 100 days war saw a total of 80 men killed from each side and cost the fledgling Canadian government over $5 million dollars. Reil was later convicted of treason and hanged. 

Sgt. Arthur Searle along with #8916 Cst. Claude Uren and #9504 Cst. John Burton were patrolling on horsebackin an attempt to capture some whiskey runners. 

1921– Honour Roll Number 44.

#4995 Sgt. Arthur George Searle age 33 died when he drowned near Creston, B.C.

When they arrived at Kootenay Flats near Creston BC they discovered that the approach to bridge over the Goat Riverhad been washed out. The members decided to try and take their horses across the flooded river and with Sgt. Searle leading, they proceeded to ride them into the water.  Searle’s horse plunged into a deep spot and panicked throwing him into the fast water and he was swept into a culvert. He desperately tried to hold onto the reins with one hand and the edge of the culvert with the other, but before the constables could save him the force of the water swept him away. His body was not found until three months later and he was buried in the community cemetery at Creston BC.

1932– MonogramPictures releases the movie “Mason of the Mounted” starring Bill Codyas Constable Bill Mason. The Canadian Mountie is sent into the United States in search of a horse thief. His only clue to the identity of the villain is a watch chain that was left at the scene of the crime. Along the way the Mountie makes friends with young Andy Talbot and when bad guy Calhoun hits Andy, our hero gets into a fist fight with Calhoun and in the scuffle Calhoun’s watch with the missing chain is dislodged revealing him as the criminal the Mountie is searching for. Our hero then sets out to bring in Calhoun and his gang.

May 14th

1944– Honour Roll Number 80.

#13678 Cst. Kenneth Laurence d’Albenas joined the RCMP in 1940 and two years later he volunteered for overseas service with the RCMP Provost Corps. Having survived the Battle of Ortona, Lance Corporal d’Albenas was driving a staff officer on a reconnaissance mission probing the forward zone in preparation for the battle of Monte Cassino when their jeep was destroyed by a Teller mine killing them both. A few days later his mother Eva May d’Albenas back home in Valois Quebec received that fateful telegram advising her that her 27-year-old son had been killed in action. He along with constables John F. J. Nelson and Donald G. Stackhouse (Honour Roll 82, 83) were buried in the Cassino War Cemetery below the Abbey of Mote Cassino where 855 Canadians are interred.

1957 – After a Department of Transportation employee collapsed at the bottom of a 40-foot deep well in Fort Simpson Northwest Territories. Three other men entered the well to retrieve him and were overcome with gas. #14307 Alexander Stewart descended into the well and tied a rope around each of the three would be rescuers and returned to the surface. Then they were hoisted to surface one at a time. When one of the victims began to slip out of the rope, #17748 Constable Arthur Trace descended into the well secured the rope and helped the victim to surface. The three coworkers recovered, but the first victim succumbed to the gas.

1885– Honour Roll Number 13.

#973 Constable Frank Orlando Elliott Killed by Indians near Battleford, N.W.T., while on scout patrol.

Two days after the battle of Cut Knife Hill, Constable Frank Elliott along with fellow patrol members #670 Sergeant John Gordon, and Constables. #544 Thomas McAllister, #619 Charles Allen, #776 Harry Storer, #865 Brenton Robertson, #969 Edmund Racey, and #983 William Spencer were conducting a patrol for signs of Chief Poundmaker’s encampment when they were surprised by an Indian war party. While fighting a running battle back toward Battleford, Elliott’s horse began bucking frantically and he was either thrown from or fell off his horse. After his horse ran off, Elliot took cover on a nearby knoll and although he was surrounded, the former member of the United States Cavalry continued to fight despite being wounded several times. When he finally ran out of ammunition his attackers shot killed him and left his body where he fell. The rest of the scouting party along with Constable Spencer who had received a serious gunshot wound in his mid-section, managed to ride seven miles to safety.  Frank O. Elliott had only been in the Mounted Police for two years when he killed. Father Louis Cochin a local priest buried Elliot in a shallow grave and then the body was later re-buried with military honours at Battleford.

1944– While with serving with the Provost Corps in Italy during WWII #13826 Constable Peter Morris was seriously wounded when the Germans conducted and artillery barrage on the highway, he was riding his motorcycle on. When the shell exploded near him, he lost control of the bike and was thrown into the path of an oncoming truck. Morris suffered a severe concussion and a broken arm and leg. His injuries were serious enough that he was soon transported by hospital ship from Naples to England and then he was returned home to Canada. 

Peter Morris joined the RCMP in 1940 and after recovering from his war injuries he returned to active duty with the Force and continued to serve in the RCMP until he retired as a Corporal in 1961. 

In 1949 he received a Commissioners Commendation and $25 from the Fine Fund for his role in saving the life of a downed bush pilot near Bonneville Alberta.

1976– Former Commissioner L.H. Nicholson, invested serving Commissioner Maurice J. Nadon as a Commander Brother of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

May 13th

1933– The new 65-foot RCMP Cruiser “Interceptor”was launched at Manseau Shipyards in Sorel, Quebec. Mrs. Hugh Guthrie the wife of the Minister of Justice christened the vessel.

1973– Most East Coasters are familiar with the Dick Nowlan ballad called “Aunt Martha’s Sheep” in which the Mounties are called in to investigate the theft of an old lady’s sheep. In the song the little lamb ends up in the stew pot and the investigator partakes in the meal and the punch line ends “We may have stolen the sheep Bye, but the Mountie ate the most”.

On this day in Bristol New Brunswick, a woman’s pet lamb was stolen, and she called the police.#28034 Constable Philip Norman Drake responded to the complaint and an hour later was diverted from his search to attend a motor vehicle accident. As fate would have it, the sheep thief in his haste to flee from the scene of the crime crashed his truck. He was arrested and convicted of impaired driving and theft. The lucky lamb avoided the stewpot and was return to its owner unharmed.

1981– Medal of Bravery awarded to Constable John Ronald McIntyre.After a man and a young boy had collapsed from gas fumes in a collector well directly across the street from the Detachment in Sherwood Park, Alberta someone ran over to the detachment seeking a gas mask and rope. #36211 Constable John Ronald McIntyre responded by grabbing a tear gas mask and rushed across the street not realizing his mask would not work in oxygen deprived environments. 

The well had been installed by the County to collect fuel that had leaked into the ground from a nearby gas station. The six-meter deep well had a mixture of water and gasoline lying at the bottom and was filled with gas fumes. After a youth had fallen into the well and was overcome by the fumes, Mr. Leonard Komant climbed down the well and was attempting to hold the youth’s head above the water/fuel mixture when the fumes too overcame him. Without hesitating Constable McIntyre put on his gas mask and tied a rope around his waist and descended into the well. Shortly after entering the well McIntyre became dizzy as he attempted to remove the victims and he began to lose consciousness and had to be pulled to the surface. 

Shortly thereafter he recovered and despite the danger he made a second attempt to rescue the pair. After entering the well, a second time McIntyre fell unconscious and had to be pulled from the well again. By the time rescuers were able to reach the two unconscious victims had died. On December 2, 1982 Constable McIntyre was awarded the Meritorious Certificate from Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. On June 24, 1983 he was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

2000– In recognition of the contribution to Canadian aviation the RCMP Air Division was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.

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