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.


September 27th

1901– The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York made an official visit to the Northwest Territories (then Saskatchewan and Alberta). At Regina the Royal couple was met at the train station by a guard of five noncommissioned officers. They were then escorted to Government House in an entourage of eleven carriages by a troop of 33 men commanded by Superintendent Morris and Inspector Demers. Inspector Cuthbert acted as the orderly officer and Sergeant Major Church as orderly N.C.O.

In his report to the Governor General H.R.H. stated “I am especially anxious to record my appreciation of that splendid force, the Northwest Mounted Police. I had the pleasure of inspecting a portion of the corps at Calgary, and was much struck with the smart appearance of both men and horses, and with their general steadiness on parade. They furnished escorts throughout our stay in Western Canada; frequently horses for our carriages, and found the transport, all of which duties were performed with ready willingness and in a highly creditable manner.”

1941– Honour Roll Number 69.

#10982 Sergeant Louis Romeo Dubuc age 34 was killed in action, while flying an R.C.A.F. bomber to England from Ireland.

After serving as a regular police constable for two years Louis Romeo Dubuc accepted a transfer to the Preventive Service patrols as an air observer in Atlantic Canada in 1933. When the RCMP created its own Aviation Section in 1937 Dubuc jumped at the chance to become one of its first members and as a pilot he worked all across the country. When war was declared in 1939, Sergeant Dubec along with the rest of the RCMP Air Division was transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force. In the RCAF he was given the rank of Flight Lieutenant and in September 1941 he was assigned to Atlantic Ferry Command. On September 26, 1941 Dubuc was flying a bomber to England from Newfoundland. The flight was plagued with severe weather that deteriorated further upon reaching Ireland where he encountered heavy fog. As he attempted to circle the landing strip at Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland he hit an obstruction and crashed. All three men aboard were killed. He was buried with full military honours at the Old Chapel Roman Catholic Cemetery in Newry, County Louth.

1971 – Any time you walk away from a plane crash it can be considered a good day. The RCMP Otter “CF-MPZ” experienced a low-level engine failure while flying near Hind’s Lake, Newfoundland. The pilot #22129 / O.1552 Donald Klancher did his best to find a decent landing strip to put his plane down on but there was none to be had. The plane went down into the forest and slammed into a tree. Fortunately he and his three passengers #21300 Bernard Johnston, #23796 Robert MacKinnon and #27561 Cst B.S. Sibley all survived. The Otter was completely destroyed in the fire caused by the crash.

1996– Residents of British Columbia were shocked when the media reported that someone had gone into the Kelowna General Hospital and kidnapped a newborn baby boy. The day after the Kelowna Detachment received a tip and Police Dog Handler #31413 Constable Gerald Guiltenane and his partner ‘ARGO’ located the three-day-old infant, Denver Giroux in a wooded area near Westbank, BC where his kidnappers had abandoned him. Darlene Hucal and two male young offenders were subsequently charged with kidnapping.   

Six years later Guiltenane lost his home in the Okanagan Mountain Park fire that destroyed 244 homes in the Kelowna area.

September 26th

1903– Honour Roll Number 27.

#1102 S/Sgt. Arthur F.M. Brooke age 37 drowned when fording the Bow River on the Blackfoot Reserve, N.W.T.

Sergeant Brook and Indian Scout, Special Constable Frank McMaster known as “Red Wolf” were traveling with interpreter J.A. Beaupre and Justice of the Peace J. Didsbury to Dunbow from Gleichen. The men were looking for evidence in the death of an Indian named “Wolfchild” who was a suspect in a horse theft case involving Mr. John Clarke of Crowfoot.

At approximately 6:00 pm the group decided to ford the river near “Axes Camp” instead of taking the ferry over the river in order to save ten miles of travel. 

When they approached the river S/Cst. Red Wolf riding his own horse entered the water ahead of the wagon team driven by Beaupre. Staff Sergeant Brook was sitting beside him and JP Didsbury was riding in the back of the wagon. As they proceeded across the river, Red Wolf yelled back to Beaupre that the river was rising and Brooke told them to continue because they had to get across. When Red Wolf got to the middle of the river his pony stepped into a deep hole and he fell off but managed to catch hold of the animal’s tail and held on until the pony swam to shore. While he was struggling to stay afloat, Red Wolf heard shouting from the men in the wagon but when he made it to shore and looked back there was no sign of the men or the wagon team.

The wagon and its drowned horses were found three miles downriver the following day. It appears that all three men drowned when the wagon reached deep water and the wagon began to lurch and the men fell into the river and were swept away. On October 27,1903, the body of Staff Sergeant Arthur Brooke was found two and a half miles downstream by a native named “Two Guns” who received a $20 reward. Brookes pocket watch had stopped working at 6:10 pm

Brook had twenty years’ service with the Mounted Police and was married with two young children.

1957– Honour Roll Number 115.

#18200 Joseph Thor Thompson age 27 was killed as a result of a passenger aircraft landing at Lethbridge Airport and crushing his police car.

Constables #18200 Joseph Thor Thompson, #19621, Eugene Oleksiuk, #16784 Edward Mueller and #14042 Corporal Harold Berry were traveling from their detachment at MacLeod Alberta in a police car to their annual revolver qualification shoot in Lethbridge. The weather was and road conditions were good for what should have been an uneventful trip. Constable Thompson was driving with Oleksiuk beside him while the other two officers rode in the back seat. As they proceeded south on Highway #5 by the Lethbridge Airport they had no way of knowing that a Trans-Canada Airlines DC 3 was on approach to the airport coming in for a landing over their heads. For reasons unknown, the aircraft was flying lower than it should have been and as it passed over the police car, the landing gear crushed the roof and the drivers’ door of the passing police car. The damage was so severe that the entire drivers’ side of the vehicle was compressed to the top of the front seat. The car spun out of control and ended up in a ditch a half mike down road from the point of impact. Constable Thompson received a fractured skull and a broken neck. Constable Oleksiuk was knocked unconscious and went into shock but soon revived. Neither policeman in the rear seat was injured.

Thompson was rushed to the hospital in Lethbridge where a Calgary neurosurgeon did his best to stabilize the young man. He was then transferred to the Colonel Belcher Hospital in Calgary where he remained in a coma for over two and a half months. When he woke from the coma it was apparent that he had suffered severe irreversible brain damage and was classified “wholly incapable of looking after himself” and permanently disabled.

In May of 1958 Constable Thompson was transferred to the Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg so he could be closer to his parents and siblings who lived in Gimli. He was eventually moved to the Selkirk Mental Hospital where he died in his sleep on December 18, 1961, two days after his 27thbirthday.

Joseph Thor Thompson had joined the RCMP on May 11, 1953. He was fluent in Icelandic and had a promising career ahead of him. He was buried in the Community Cemetery in Gimli Manitoba. His three companions returned to duty and all eventually retired from the RCMP, each having achieved the rank of Sergeant.

1959 – A Pair of British Empire Medals (BEM) and two Queens Commendations were awarded on this day. 

Awarded the BEM was: 

·     #18160 Alvin Thomas Millhouse BEM (See November 3, 1955) 

·     Constable Hugh Dickson Bowyer BEM, (See November 29, 1955)

Recipients of the Queens Commendations were:

·     #16513 Laurence Martin (See November 3, 1955) and

·     # Corporal Kenneth Marshall McHale (See November 29, 1955)

1963– FLQ terrorists hold up a branch of the Royal Bank in Montreal.

1971 – Honour Roll Number 145.

#22976 Constable Harold Stanley Seigel age 28 was shot and killed at a barricade incident at a private residence, at Iles des Chenes, Manitoba.

A twenty-one year old mentally disturbed man named Jean Charles D’Auteuil had locked himself in the bathroom of his parent’s house with a .22 caliber rifle. After refusing to come out of the room and firing a shot through the door, his father phoned the police. Constables Seigle and #? Floyd Rushton and # Staff Sergeant Edward Webdale rushed to the scene and Webdale proceeded to try and reason with the gunman over a loud hailer. After trying to reason with the deranged man for over two hours and then decided to fire a canister of tear gas into the house in hopes of getting D’Auteuil to surrender. As the Staff Sergeant prepared to fire the tear gas canister, the two constables positioned themselves around the house. Webdale fired the tear gas into the house and moments later D’Auteuil responded by firing a shot from his rifle. Shortly thereafter Constable Seigel was found lying face down by the garage with a bullet wound to his head. He was immediately carried to a police car and rushed to hospital but he died en-route. 

Jean Charles D’Auteuil was taken into custody several hours later and was charged with murder but was found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Cst. Harold Stanley Seigel was born in Pembrook Ontario, and he and his wife Gail were expecting their second child when he was killed. He was buried at the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg.

Born at Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, England, Bard came to Canada after serving in the Boer War where he met up with a war buddy and began working in the coalmines near Estevan Saskatchewan. After witnessing and reporting a shooting he accepted the advice of the investigator and joined the RNWMP on February 20, 1905. He resigned after two years’ service so he could get married but reenlisted in 1914 and was promoted to Corporal shortly thereafter. After failing to get sent overseas to fight in WW1, Bard purchased his discharge for $100 and enlisted with the Lord Strathcona Horse and served in France. After recuperating from being wounded in action, Bard became the tail gunner for Flying Ace Billy Bishop VC. At wars end he re-engaged in the RNWMP but left shortly thereafter to seek better a better paying job as a cook so he could support his growing family.

1978– Former Corporal #4332 Frederick Bard celebrated his 100thbirthday. 

1981– Only 20 Crosses of Valour have ever been issued and #26112 Corporal Robert Gordon Teather,CV is the only member of the RCMP to have been awarded Canada’s highest civilian medal for valour.

On this day, in the early morning hour’s two members of the “E” Division (British Columbia) Underwater Recovery Team, corporals Robert Teather and #26483 Timothy J. Kainrushed to the scene of an overturned sixteen-metre fishing vessel. The “Respond” had collided with a freighter near the mouth of the Fraser River, and capsized in the treacherous waters of the Georgia Strait with two crewmen trapped inside the vessel. 

The two police divers were transported to the scene in a Coast Guard hovercraft and immediately conducted an exploratory dive in the dark to assess the situation. What they found was a treacherous labyrinth of nets, cables and debris restricting access to the boat. It was determined that only one man could enter the sinking vessel and attempt a rescue. Though neither experienced diver had ever been faced with this type of rescue, they quickly formulated a plan. Today, “Octopus regulators” are commonplace, but in 1981 they were not. So the men cannibalized Corporal Kain’s regulator and attached his second stage mouthpiece and hose to Theather’s regulator, so it supply air to a rescue victim. After modifying his regulator Corporal Teather returned to the water and crawled his way past the debris and entered the boat and then worked his way up to engine-room in the bottom of the vessel in nearly zero visibility to the anxious crewmen.

Teather located the frightened men in an air pocket that was fouled by diesel fumes and explained how he intended to rescue them by swimming each one out of the boat using the modified “octopus’ regulator. One of the crewmen was a non-swimmer and was extremely frightened so Teather took some time to calm him down and reassured him that he would get him out safely. Once the man calmed down Corporal Teather had him put the regulator in his mouth and had him hang onto his back and then proceed to swim him through the boat. Half-way to safety, the crewman panicked and began to flail about and in the process knocked Teather’s face mask off and ripped his regulator out of his mouth. Corporal Teather managed to maintain his own composure and proceeded to physically fight the panicked man the rest of the way through the boat and up to the surface. On the surface Corporal Kain took charge of the excited man and swam him back to the hovercraft.

Though he was nearly drowned in the process, and had ingested a belly full of diesel laden sea water, Corporal Teather immediately returned to the engine-room and repeated the process with the second survivor. 

The two fishermen would likely have perished from drowning or asphyxiation had Corporal Teather not undertaken this exhausting and perilous rescue. After the rescue Teather had to be hospitalized for several days, due to his ingesting the diesel and seawater. The sad irony was that this was the last time Bob Teather would ever dive. He developed diabetes shortly thereafter and had to cease scuba diving. Teather went on to author several books on diving and his adventures in the RCMP. His knowledge of underwater forensics and recovery procedures was acknowledged internationally and he went on to become one of the foremost experts in the world in the field of underwater search and recovery.

Both policemen were later recognized for their heroism, when on June 24, 1983 Corporal Robert Gordon Teather was awarded the Cross of Valour and Corporal Timothy J. Kain was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

Bob Teather continued his career with the RCMP, but his battle with diabetes forced him to take a medical pension and retire after 28 years of service He died at the age of only 56 on November 15th 2004 from a heart attack, the result of complications with his diabetes. Tim Kain continued with the RCMP explosives disposal section until he retired in 2005.

In addition to receiving Canada’s highest award for bravery Bob Teather was an accomplished author whose works included On Patrol with the Royal Canadian MountedThe Scarlet Tunic, and Mountie Makers. He was also considered by most diving professionals to be the leading expert in the field of police diving procedures. He published two books on the topic; The Underwater Investigatorand The Encyclopedia of Underwater Investigations,the latter having become part of the course training standards for most police divers. In 2011 in honour of his service to Canada, the government announced that one of the nine new Canadian Coast Guard Hero Class patrol vessels would be named after him.

The Hero Class vessels were named for decorated soldiers, veterans and police officers and employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. The CCGS Corporal Teather C.V. was built by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and is 47 meters in length and has a displacement of 257 tones with a top speed of 25 knots. It was placed into service on Feb. 8th 2013.

September 24th

1886 – The first steamship the “Wrigley” begins regular service on the Mackenzie River.

1903 – The NWMP establishes a detachment at Cape Fullerton on Hudson Bay.

1942– The Alaska Highway is opened at Contact Creek, Yukon 305 miles north of Fort Nelson, BC.

1988– Star of Courage,  #38476 Troy Duane Gross,SC 

When Constable Troy Gross arrived at the scene of an overturned tanker truck near Wainright, Alberta he realized that the unconscious driver was trapped inside, with gasoline flowing from the damaged tanker. Constable Gross smashed the windshield and reached inside and turned off the ignition. He then proceeded to remove the windshield from the cab and climbed inside to assist the driver. With the help of another constable and two ambulance attendants who had arrived on scene, he began to maneuver the driver out through the smashed windshield opening. During the extraction the victim became lodged in the opening but was eventually removed and transported to safety. 

For his heroism in the face of grave danger Constable Troy Duane Gross was awarded Canada’s second highest medal, the Star of Courage.

1990– Parrsborro Novas Scotia constables, M.W. Johnson and C.C Morton earned Commanding Officers Commendations for bravery after a three hour standoff with an armed and emotionally disturbed man who was threatening to kill himself. The two constables eventually convinced the man to turn over his weapon and surrender.

September 23rd

1872 – #3058 Arthur Herbert Lindsay Richardson VC is born in Southport,Lancashire, England. Richardson a Sergeant in the NWMP took a leave of absence to serve with the Lord Strathcona Horse Regiment in the Boer War. He later received the Victoria Cross the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Britishand Commonwealth forces. (See July 5, 1900)After the war returned to the NWMP and retired a Sergeant Major. He returned to his native England and died on December 15th 1922 and is buried in Liverpool. 

1904 – The Royal North West Mounted Police establish a post at Fullerton on Hudson Bay near Chesterfield Inlet.

1907– After two years of hard work the Mounties complete a 2.5-meter wide trail that ran from Edmonton, Alberta to Dawson, Yukon. 

1964– The end of an era occurred when Constables #21481 James Innes and #21750 / O.1164 Robert Hannam locked the doors to Herschel Island Detachment. The Mounted Police first established a detachment there with #2218 /O.156 Sergeant Francis Joseph Fitzgerald. (See Lost Patrol December 21, 1910)on August 7, 1903 The police presence was sent their primarily to investigate reports that American whalers were debauching local Eskimos with liquor and to assert Canada’s sovereignty at the western gateway to the Canadian Arctic. Herchel Island was the favored wintering location for American whaling fleets and Canada was concerned about the activities of American whalers after the judicial council arbitrating the border dispute over the location of the Alaskan border ruled in favour of the United States. The original detachment was two rented sod huts.  The detachment may be gone but the grave of Constable # 5548 Alexander J. Lamont remains. He died from typhoid he contracted while caring for the northern explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson who survived and lived for another 44 years. (See February 16, 1918)

1974 – FLQ (Front de libération du Québec)terrorist Bernard Lortie was found guilty of the 1970 kidnapping of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. He was later sentenced to twenty years in prison but was paroled only seven years later. Laporte was found murdered and dumped in the trunk of a car.

1974 – While patrolling south of Nelson BC #26104 Constable John E.A. Nykiforuk and Auxiliary Constable Ron Giffen were dispatched to the scene of a stabbing. Upon their arrival they were advised that that there was no stabbing but instead a four-year-old girl named Corinne Phillipoff had died. Constable Nykiforuk rushed to the child and examined her for a pulse and found a very faint heartbeat. He immediately cleared her airway that resulted in her breathing again. She was then rushed by ambulance to the Kootenay Lake District hospital where she made a complete recovery. The erroneous report of a stabbing had been made by the child’s Russian grandmother who was in a state of shock over the ordeal and in her broken English mistakenly told the dispatcher that someone had been stabbed. Constable Nykiforuk’s clear thinking and prompt action saved the child’s life and as a result he was awarded the Priory of St. John Ambulance Meritorious Certificate.

1976 – In the early morning houses of his shift #27681 Constable Raymond S. Steen heard gunshots near the Detachment in Steinbach, Manitoba. When he went to investigate he found a well known local criminal who had recently been released from prison wandering the streets with a stolen .308 caliber rifle and taking random shots. Taking cover under a small footbridge Steen identified himself as a police officer and ordered the gunman to drop his weapon.  The gunman’s response was that he wanted to kill a “pig” and had no intention of throwing down his weapon. With his revolver drawn, Constable Steen continued to talk to the gunman who continued to advance towards him. When the suspect was only 30 feet away he ceded to Steen’s reasoning and put down the rifle. When he was taken into custody Constable Steen seized over 60 rounds of ammunition from him.

For displaying courage, tactfulness in apprehending an emotionally disturbed man without incident Constable Raymond Steen was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.

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