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.


October 4th

1970– Honour Roll Number 140.

#26402 Constable William Joseph Green age 21, died as a result of injuries he received in a motor vehicle accident, while responding to a call at Invermere, B.C.

At approximately 7:50 pm Cst. Green was dispatched to a complaint and was proceeding down highway #93/95 near Invermere BC, when the radio room heard him say “There’s been an accident.” Both his wife, who was a detachment matron, nor the radio dispatcher, understood what he is saying and then they heard him say, “The car’s on fire.” That was the last thing his wife heard him say. 

For twenty minutes they tried to raise him on the radio, when three men rushed into the detachment office and reported that there had been an accident involving a police car and that it was burning in the ditch and that the police officer had been taken to the hospital. His wife rushed to the Invermere Hospital and two hours later she was told that he had died.

The investigation into the crash determined that, while on route to the complaint and as he approached the intersection of Highway # 93/95 a car driven by Mr. Felix Capilo made a sudden left turn in front of him and they collided. The force of the crash spun the police car into the ditch where it rolled over, caught fire, and exploded. Passing motorists saw the wreckage burning in the ditch and pulled Constable Green from wreckage and he was transported to the hospital. Mr. Capilo died of his injuries, but his wife and two children survived the collision.

Constable William J. Green and Miss Rose Marie Holubowick had only been married for less than one month. He was buried with full honours in the Nelson Cemetery.

1982– #36572 Cst Louis Helmes received a commendation from the Ottawa City Police.

1975– Constables #28863 Larry R. Meister and #32069 D. Harvey MacLeod responded to a break and enter in progress in Bay l’Argent, Newfoundland. Upon their arrival, the thief shot at them with a shotgun. The two members took cover and spoke calmly to the gunman and eventually negotiated his safe arrest. Both members received Commanding Officers commendations for their actions.

While on leave in Ottawa, Constable Helmes saw a burglar exit a house with knife. Recognizing that he was witnessing a theft in progress, he tackled the culprit and wrestled with him, but the suspect broke free. Helmes then chased the man and assisted by members of the Ottawa City Police caught culprit.

1993– Clayoquot Sound British Columbia was the scene of environmental activists protesting the cutting of old growth timber. On this day the activists closed down their anti-logging protest camp on Vancouver Island for the winter. Over the previous three months of demonstrations700 activists had been arrested.

1998– Constable #45481Michael Darren Caudron responded to a domestic dispute complaint involving a shooting on the Frog Lake First Nation reserve, 16 km northwest of Mayerthorpe Alberta. 

When he arrived at the scene, he had no way of knowing that the assailant had committed suicide. With the assistance of Mr. Leonard (Rocky) Wade, they entered the home risking their lives by placing themselves in the suspect’s line of fire, while they removed the wounded woman to safety, so she could be transported to a hospital. Unfortunately, she died of her wounds. When they went back into the house to arrest the gunman, they discovered that he committed suicide. 

On May 3, 2002, Constable Caudron and Mr. Wade were presented to RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli at a ceremony at RCMP headquarters in Edmonton, where he presented them with the Commissioner’s Commendation for bravery, for demonstrating outstanding courage in the face of danger. 

2003– The Saskatchewan Safety Council “Traffic Safety Award” was given to #35758 Corporal John Stevenson, for his involvement in a wide range of safety programs. 

This was one of many awards Stevenson has received for his commitment to traffic safety. Other awards that he has received include the honourable mention award from the Canada Safety Council for snowmobile safety; the Commanding Officer’s Commendation for collision analyst work within Saskatchewan and the Commanding Officer’s Certificate of Appreciation for snowmobile collision investigation work.

October 3rd

1914– Constable #3708 James Profit arrived in Peace River Alberta after traveling from Hudson’s Hope British Columbia to obtain his discharge from the Force, so he could enlist in the 31st Battalion for service in WW1. He was issued military regimental number 79873 and he served with distinction. On September 15, 1916 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the second highest award for gallantry in action after the Victoria Cross. Sadly, James Profit was killed in action in France only nine days later. 

1995– #44571 Constable Mark Kellock received the Commissioner’s Commendation for bravery after he rescued a person from a fire near Victoria, BC.

October 2nd

1873– #33 Sub Constable James McKernan along with several other men became part of the first contingent of new recruits to the NWMP departing this day from Ottawa and traveling by train to Collingwood, Ontario. There they spent two days waiting their boat to arrive and then the traveled across Lake Superior aboard the Steamer “Chicora” in rough weather to Thunder Bay. 

From there they traveled via the Dawson route with its 47 portages to Lake Shabandwin by horse and wagon teams and then traveled by small boats to Rainy Lake. When they arrived at the Lake of the Woods, they continued aboard a steamer, arriving at Northwest Angle in a blizzard. From there they went by foot, walking 36 miles with their baggage in ox carts, overland to Fort Garry in Manitoba. Although these men had joined in Ontario, they were not paid until they were sworn in as members of the NWMP when they had reached Fort Gary in Manitoba!

James McKernan served in the NWMP until 1877.

1880– The first Adjutant officer of the NWMP and nephew of Prime Minister MacDonald dies.

Despite the efforts of #O.38 Surgeon George Kennedy, #O.9 (Captain) Superintendent Edmund Dalrymple Clark age 32, the nephew of the wife of Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald died of “gastritis” or “Mountain Fever” at Fort Walsh. He was buried in Plot 2 at the NWMP cemetery at the Fort.  

Lady Susan Agnes MacDonald, the Prime Ministers second wife commissioned an elaborate tombstone for Clarke’s grave and had it shipped west requesting that it be place on her nephew’s grave and that she wished to have his grave kept in good order. By the time the grave marker arrived, Fort Walsh had been abandoned and the post moved 40 miles away to Maple Creek. So, it was stored in a freight shed at Maple Creek and was promptly forgotten. 

In 1886, Frederick White the Comptroller of the NWMP, sent a telegram from Winnipeg to #O.13 Superintendent John H. McIllree, the Officer Commanding Maple Creek advising him that Lady MacDonald was en route from Winnipeg to Maple Creek on a CPR train and that she wanted to visit her nephew’s grave. The telegram was not received until late in the evening, so the Superintendent woke #177 Constable Ike Forbes and ordered him to assemble a cleanup crew and travel immediately to Fort Walsh, which had been abandoned in 1883. The six men rushed to the freight shed and loaded the tombstone and then raced with shovels and scythes through the dark to the abandoned cemetery where they cleaned the grave and installed the forgotten tombstone. 

When Lady MacDonald and Fred White arrived, Sergeant Major W. A. Douglas took them to Fort Walsh horse and wagon. There she toured the grounds and was very impressed with the condition of the grave marker and the cemetery!  The distinguished guests were on a very tight schedule because they had to catch an eastbound train in order to reunite with the Prime Minister. So, Lady MacDonald took her seat beside Sgt/Major Douglas who then raced the team of horses as fast as he could down the winding bumpy road bouncing and jostling his passengers about the wagon. Douglas drove the team of horses so hard that one the horses collapsed and died in its harness. But the S/Major didn’t bother to stop, instead he had one of the accompanying constables gallop up and hold the train while he cut the dead horse free and proceeded on with a three-horse team delivering Canada’s First Lady and the Comptroller of the Force to their train on time!

October 1st

1918– In the summer of 1918 the RNWMP was tasked with sending Expeditionary Force to eastern Siberia in Russia to support the counter-revolutionary forces in the Russian civil war. “B” Squadron of the Canadian Expeditionary Force commanded by a Supt. G. G. Worsley is created and 190 men are assembled through transfers and direct recruiting. Among the new recruits are three brothers from Radcliff Alberta. Luther, Frank and Robert Clare are assigned regimental number #7484, 7485 and 7486 respectively. In November, “B” Squadron comprised of six officers, 194 men and 1981 horses sail from Vancouver to Vladivostock where they continued to train and prepare to do their part in the supporting the Russians. Meanwhile public opposition toward the use of Canadian troops in a foreign civil war grew to the point that Prime Minister Robert Borden orders that they be gradually withdrawn and returned to Canada. 

The men of “B” Squadron who have traveled all the way to Siberia are quite disappointed when they learn that they are being withdrawn without firing a shot. Worse than that they are told that they had to leave their horses in Russia for the White Russian Calvary. On May 18, 1919 the horses and six volunteers including Constable Luther Clare are loaded on trains and sent west thorough Manchuria and northern China while the remainder of the Squadron returned to Canada. While transporting the horses on the Trans-Siberian railway, the contingent was attacked near Lake Baikal and several Russian guards and many horses were killed. All six Mounties received commendations for their courage under fire and Sergeant Margetts was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and Corporal Bossard who was wounded is awarded the Military Medal. The six men eventually found their own way back to Canada.

He was born in Halifax Nova Scotia and was a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada at Kingston, Ontario. He was appointed an Inspector in the North-West Mounted Police on August 1, 1885 and was the son in law of Superintendent Richard Burton Deane. After retiring from the RNWMP in 1915 he became a Police Magistrate for the City of Edmonton and heard over 40,000 cases until he retired again in 1935. His son Neil Primrose was a Judge of the Trial Division, in the Supreme Court of Alberta.

1936– Former Superintendent #O.56 Philip Carteret Hill Primrose is appointed the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Alberta. He was the first Lieutenant Governor of Alberta to die in officehaving served less than seven months. 

1969– Fifty-two-year-old, William Leonard Higgitt a native of Anersley Saskatchewan becomes the fourteenth Commissioner of the Force and serves until December 28, 1973. Commissioner Higgett joined the Force in 1937.

1992– The Star of Courage and the Medal of Bravery.

On October 1, 1992, at Port Coquitlam, British Columbia a trio of armed robbers led members of the Coquitlam detachment on a high-speed criminal pursuit after they had committed an armed robbery. Involved in the pursuit was #32504 Constable James Patrick Dickson and #27129 Sergeant Paul J. Giffin both of whom risked their lives in apprehending the culprits. 

During the pursuit one of the robbers, who was armed with a handgun, began shooting at Cst. Dickson’s police car. In an effort to protect the public and end the pursuit Cst. Dickson rammed the robbers’ vehicle with his car, forcing it into a rock wall. The three suspects then fled on foot from their getaway car and Constable Dickson managed to apprehend one of them. 

Sgt. Giffin was also involved in the pursuit and when the robbers fled on foot he left his car and chased after them. He followed the armed robber into a nearby pub and confronted the man, ordering him to drop his gun. The robber refused and then aimed his gun at Sgt. Giffin as Cst. Dickson arrived who also demanded that the man put down his weapon. When the gunman turned his gun on the Constable, Dickson shot, and killed the gunman.

In recognition of their courage in the face of danger both officers received the Commissioner’s Commendation for bravery and on September 15, 1995 Constable James Patrick Dickson was awarded the Star of Courage and Sgt. Paul J. Giffin the Medal of Bravery.

1992– On this day, “Old Pokey” CF-MPO was sold to the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. The RCMP deHavilland DHC3 single engine Otter was originally purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force and put into service on August 24, 1954 as RCAF #3686.

It was purchased by the RCMP on October 27, 1964 and refurbished and put into service as C-FMPO. Throughout its nearly 28-year career the plane saw service throughout the north based in the Pas, Manitoba, Inuvik, NWT and Edmonton Alberta. Retired on April 14, 1992 it was sold through Crown assets to the 825 Air Cadet Squadron in Yellowknife. The crew on her last flight to Yellowknife consisted of Inspector J.M. Norma, retired Staff Sergeant N. Muffit and L. Goyer of Transport Canada.

September 30th

1899– #10407/ O.346 Henry Asbjørn Larsen FRGS, one of the RCMP’s most famous men was born this day on the east coast of the Oslo Fjord at Fredrikstad, Norway. 

Larsen joined the RCMP as a Constable in 1928 and retired as a Superintendent in 1961. Larsen gained worldwide fame as the Captain of the RCMP St. Roch that saw him travel from west to east through the Northwest Passage in 1940-42 and then returning east to west in only one season. He commanded the supply boat for 12 summers and seven 7 winters patrolling the Western Canadian Arctic, supplying northern detachments. He was the recipient of several awards including the Polar Medal and Bar.

1905– Charles King was executed for murder thus ending one of the most famous murder investigations in Saskatchewan history. In the fall of 1904 a well-to-do Englishman; Edward Hayward disappeared from his camp on Lesser Salve Lake. His partner Charles King became the prime suspect when local Indians reported seeing him with all of Hayward’s equipment and horses. 

Upon receiving the information from the Indians, #2353 Staff Sergeant Kristjan Fjeldsted “Andy” Anderson tracked King and arrested him on the suspicion of murder. King claimed that he and Hayward had separated and were to meet again at Sturgeon Lake. Not believing his story Anderson conducted a painstaking investigation that included tracing King’s trail from their base camp and sifting through the fragments of a huge camp fire and finding fragments of bone. At his own expense, Anderson hired Indians to drain a nearby slough and sift through the muddy bottom. There he found; several buttons, a belt buckle, pocketknife and a piece of spinal vertebrae with a bullet embedded it. He then compared the bulled to his suspect’s personal revolver and found that they were the same caliber. When the victim’s brother traveled from England to testify at the trial he identified the knife as the one he had given his brother as a gift, and that the buttons were similar to those used by a tailor in their home town. 

Anderson who was born in Iceland in 1866 and came to Canada in 1887 was one of the most experienced and respected policemen in the Canadian North. He joined the NWMP in 1889 and retired to pension in 1921. Both of his sons became members of the RCMP; #12655 Norman Anderson and # 12045 Charles Anderson. He died at the age of 82 in 1949.

1974– The RCMP riot squad officers are mobilized on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and stop 200 Native Indian protestors from entering the Parliament Buildings during the official opening of first session of the 30th Parliament.

1994– Retired Corps Sergeant Major Eric B. Young becomes the first Mountie to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.  C/S/M Young spent 41 years in the RCMP, 21 of which was at the rank of Sergeant Major.

September 29th

1902– After concerns that area gold miners were losing money on purchases and transactions because gold dust particles were being lost in handling, all of the banks in Dawson City, Yukon announced that they would no longer accept gold dust as legal tender.

1931– The Estevan Coal Miners’ Strike

Due to a series of wage cuts combined with deplorable working and living conditions, miners at Bienfait Saskatchewan joined the militant “Mine Workers’ Union of Canada” and a struggle to get the mine owners to recognize their union ensued. When the owners refused to deal with the union, tensions began to build.

Judge E.R. Wylie, district court judge at Estevan was named commissioner and given full power to make inquiries into the dispute within the coal mining fields of the district, and make recommendations to the Honorable Gideon R. Robertson, the federal minister of labour. But before he could act the miners decided they were going to hold a protest march in the nearby town of Estevan on Tuesday September 29thand followup the march with a public meeting at the Town Hall where Anna Buller, a well-known woman union organizer from Winnipeg, strike would speak on “The Truth About the Strike.” Union officials announced that the miners would gather at Bienfait at 1:30 in the afternoon, and then move through the area mining districts and pick up more protestors en route to the town. 

Fearing that a protest parade would lead to violence, a hastily called meeting of town council was held. The meeting resulted in Mayor D. Bannantyne and the members of the Estevan Town Council going on record that they would not allow any protest parade in their community. The matter was then handed over to Police Chief, MacCutcheon who in turn phoned James Sloan, the president of the Miners’ Union, and advised him that no parade would be allowed to enter the town limits.  

Chief MacCutcheon then contacted RCMP in Regina and asked for men to augment his small police force. Having anticipated the growing unrest in the area the RCMP led by Inspector #5100 / O.206 William J. Moorhead, mobilized a troop of 45 men of which 32 of them had only two months service or less. The men were stationed in the vicinity of the Truxa Traer mine, the only large mine still in operation. Additional transportation was arranged so they couldqucikly rush reinforcements to any place in the sector should trouble should arise. 

When James Sloan announced to the miners that the Mayor had forbade a protest parade, the mob of nearly 600 people decided to march on the town anyway. As trucks of people arrived within a block of the town hall, the miners were met by a row of police. The procession then circled around the block, and moved up to the town hall. At 3:20 pm the police armed with rifles and revolvers drawn ordered the crowd to disperse. Instead of heeding the order several miners jumped out of their vehicles and rushed the police line and began hurling stones and clubs at the policemen. The men did not fire but slowly retreated to the Town Hall and called in the Fire Department to help quell the mob with fire hoses. At 3:30 the fire hoses were turned on the mob and the crowd began attacking the Firemen. Inspector Moorhead then gave the order to fire over the heads of the rioters. 

With their backs literally to the wall of the Town Hall and blood streaming down their faces from wounds caused by stones, bricks and debris the policemen continued to fire over the crowd until another squad of sixteen policemen armed with rifles rushed into town. With the arrival of additional men, the mob broke up and began running away. In the aftermath of the riot three protestors lay dead 23 others including several policemen were wounded. The following week saw a heavy police crack down and the prosecution of 14 ringleaders. Understandably the miners accused the police of firing on a peaceful protest but the Royal Commission cleared the police of any wrongdoing and eventually brought an end to the dispute. 

History seldom records the names of the ordinary men who do their duty especially if the duty is unpopular. The 45 members of the RCMP who did their duty on that fateful day included:

#4748 William G. Mulhall, #5111 Staff Sergeant Charles Richardson, #10425 Walter M. Mortimer, #10426 John Molyneaux, #10434 Robert Edmund Thrussell, #10564 Joseph Augustus Aloysius Kirk, #10634 Edward Arnold Chamberlain, #10650 Reginald Philip Gowanlock, #10755 John William Harvey Waddy, #10848 Donald McLay, #10875 W.J. Tyne, #10920 Arthur Stoddart, #10923 Thomas Andrew Edmund Overend, #10925 John Cecil Nash, #10929 Malcom Alexander Sutherland, #10934 Alexander Stewart Cameron, #10937 Alexander Lockwood, #10938 Paul Syrotuck, #10939 Kenneth Richard Ruddick, #10941 Earle Carter Clendenning, #10943 Albert William Parsons, #10944 Dalton Mahlon Beach, #10947 William Henry Billington, #10948 E.A. Wakefield, #10949 Peter Petworth Nightingale, #10950 Harry Allen  #10951 J.I. Palmer, (wounded)  #10956 A.W Hubey, #10961 David Henley Beeching, #10953 Raymond Leslie Woodhouse, #10958 Herbert Robertson, #10962 John Bigham Kerr Osborne, #10969 Frank Martyn, #10972 Horace Walter Taylor, #10973 G.G.F. Hart, #10995 P.W.E Harcourt, #10996 Lorne William Hopkins, #10998 H. Lister, #11006 T.W. Thomas, #11011 Angus Morrison, #11018 D. Bird, #11020 Jeffrey Raymond Vidal, #11021 H.S. Steele and #11024 H.S. Wilson.

1968– #23307 Constable Joseph Blackman received a complaint that a woman in Carcross, Yukon had threatened to kill her husband with a rifle. When he attended to the scene, he found the woman standing in yard with rifle waiting patiently for her husband to return home. Keeping his cool Constable Blackman quietly talked to the women for about twenty minutes and when she was momentarily distracted he grabbed the loaded rifle from her and took her into custody earning himself a Commanders Commendation. 

1974– Honour Roll Number 150.

#27160 Constable John Terrance Draginda age 24 was killedin a police motor vehicle accident, in Surrey, British Columbia.

At approximately 1:00 am Constable Dragina and Auxiliary Constable Kenneth Hughes were dispatched to a serious motor vehicle accident in Surry BC. Dragina activated his emergency lights but did not turn on his siren and then raced down 152ndstreet towards the scene of the accident. As he approached the intersection at 96thAvenue, Dragina slowed his vehicle down because he had a red light in his direction and thinking it was clear proceeded through the intersection and crashed into the side of a pickup truck that was traveling through on the green light. Dragina was killed instantly; unfortunately Donald Bahme and his wife Lorreine were killed as well. The Bahme’s 12-year-old daughter and A/ Constable Hughes survived the tragedy.

Constable John Terrance Draginda was single and had five and a half years’ service in the RCMP. He was buried at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Edmonton Alberta.

1995– #36715 Constable Robert Hart was working in his police car while parked on the side of the highway in Saskatchewan. Without warning, a loaded gravel truck smashed into and ran over his car. Hart survived the incident but he received multiple internal injuries and almost lost his left foot when it was nearly severed. He attributed his survival to the fact that Kevlar bulletproof vest absorbed much of the trauma.

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