Larry Burden’s This Day In The RCMP

Photograph of RCMP Chaplain Jim Turner at Burnaby Detachment's memorial service (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).





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) 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

January 2

1884 – #3453 Cst Walter Samson Lee was fined $10 in Service Court by Superintendent Deane at Lethbridge for falsely reporting that he was sick. A tidy sum when you are making 50 cents a day.

1938 – The Hollywood movie “Death Goes North” starring Edgar Edwards as Sgt. Ken Strange is released by Warrick Columbia Pictures. The movie tells the tale of two Mounties and the son of Rin Tin Tin who join forces to solve a complex mystery where a lumber heiress finds herself victimized by two rivals who are after her land.

1996 - Photograph of Saskatchewan Lt. Governor Jack Wiebe presenting RCMP Corporal Bob Norman with his RCMP 20 year medal with Insp. Les Chipperfield looking on. Photo taken at the RCMP Chapel at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - Bob Norman family).

1996 – Photograph of Saskatchewan Lt. Governor Jack Wiebe presenting RCMP Corporal Bob Norman with his RCMP 20 year medal with Insp. Les Chipperfield looking on. Photo taken at the RCMP Chapel at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – Bob Norman family).

1979 – Two members save the lives of a suicidal man. Constables #32256 Robert Anthony Norman and #34776 David Willson respond to a complaint of a man standing on the girders of Pattullo Bridge ever the Fraser River between Surrey and New Westminster BC.

While Cst. Willson talked to the jumper from the bridge deck below, Cst. Norman climbed the bridge girders 45 feet above deck and caught subject as he fell. The jumper was found to be drunk. Cst. Norman received a Commissioners Commendation for his actions.

1989 – After a man fell from a barge into the ocean near Nanaimo BC, Constables #38815 Shelly L. Mason and #37186 Gary R. Styles dove in and attempted to rescue him from the icy waters. For their efforts in attempting to save him, Constable Mason was awarded a Commissioners Commendation and Styles received a Commanding Officers Commendation.

January 3

1879 – #O.40 Samuel B. Steele, # 86 John H. Holtorf, #93 George B. Mills and Metis guide Foley were caught in a blizzard east of Fort MacLeod. They struggled for four days without food and finally made it to the MacFarland ranch 4 miles east of the Fort.

1947 – Canada’s tenth Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King becomes the first Canadian to take the Oath of Citizenship, in the Supreme Court, from Chief Justice Thibaudeau Rinfret. Ever since members of the RCMP have been present in dress uniform for most citizenship ceremonies.

1951 – Commendation to #16590 / O.584 Jack Routledge for excellent judgment in overcoming obstruction by individual resisting arrest.

1964 – Honour Roll Number 125.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Joseph Pierre Francois Dubois (Reg.#22055).

#22055 Constable Joseph Pierre Francois Dubois age 22 was killed in a police car accident, at Fauvel Quebec.

The cause of the accident that killed him and the two prisoners he was transporting was never determined.

The most likely theory is that he may have fallen asleep at the wheel during the 150 mile trip. The accident investigation revealed that he lost control of his vehicle five miles west of New Carleton, on the Gaspé Peninsula when it veered to the left and traveled over 100 feet without any signs of braking. The vehicle then traveled 43 feet through the air over a ravine and after hitting the other side fell backwards onto its roof 18 feet down into the bottom of the ravine. He had been in the RCMP for only 2 ½ years and was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery in his hometown of St. Antoine Abbe, Quebec.

1987 – Mrs. Mary Larsen christens the new Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker ship the “Henry Larsen” at the launching ceremony at the Versatile Pacific Shipyard in North Vancouver BC. The new ship is named in honour of the late #10407 / O.347 Superintendent Henry Asbjorn Larsen (1899-1964) the famous captain of the RCMP vessel St. Roch. The 8200 tonne ship is powered by three medium speed engines that drive the ship at a cruising speed of 13.5 knots and has a range of 15,000 nautical miles. The $92 million dollar ship replaced the Coast Guards oldest icebreaker the “Labrador”. Some of the past and present members of the Force who were present at the launching include #27668 Sgt. William A. Van de Braak, #37352 Constable Andrew Lamb and veterans #12846 Frank N. Brien and St. Roch crew member #10372 Joe Olsen.

2005 – After the devastating Tsunami in the South Pacific on Boxing Day 2004, the RCMP sent a team of Forensic Identification experts to Thailand # to assist in the gruesome but necessary task of identifying the numerous people killed in the tidal wave. The members of the team included O.2075 George Fraser and O.2082 Brian Andrews #28513 Gerald Tucker, #35688 Serge LaRoque, #41818 Geoffrey Ellis, #34819 Robert Rix, #39108 Dave Thompson, #41870 Jacques Neri, #45531 Navjeet Hothi and #46053 Dianne Cockle.

January 4

Murray Jarvis - Inspector NWMP

Photograph of North West Mounted Police Inspector Arthur Murray Jarvis (Reg.#418 – O.104).

1897 – #418 / O.104 Inspector Arthur Murray Jarvis and #894 Constable Samuel Hetherington left Fort Saskatchewan by dog team for the first extended patrol into the MacKenzie District. The four-month patrol takes them down the Athabasca River to Fort Chipewan, Lake Athabasca, and north to Slave River and Great Slave Lake to Fort Resolution a distance of over 2,000 miles. Inspector Arthur Jarvis joined the NWMP on June 25, 1880 and saw service in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and the South African War. His career in the north was so profound that Jarvis Glacier, in British Columbia (Lat: 59·27·00N Long: 136·32·00W), Jarvis Park, in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Jarvis River, in Yukon and Jarvis Street, in Whitehorse Yukon are named after him.

1983 – Changes to the Canadian Criminal Code replace rape with three categories of sexual assault and provides equal protection to both men and women. Its also enables women to have their husbands charged with sexual assault.

1986 – Two members in Qualicum Beach, BC earn commendations for bravery.

At approximately 3 a.m., & #34952 Rudolph Reginald Widdershoven, MB along with other members of the detachment responded to the scene of a murder. Suddenly shots rang out and Police Dog handler #29808 R. E. Corporal Flack was hit in the leg.

Without hesitating and fully aware of the fact that he was exposing himself to the gunman, Cst. Widdershoven rushed to the wounded officer and dragged him to cover. He then used his belt as a tourniquet and then left his wounded collogue and went to get help. Finding # 23594 P. A. Sergeant P. A. Seefried the two men rushed back to Flack and working together, they carried him to a secure area and waited for an ambulance. The gunman’s body was found later where he had committed suicide.

Both Widdershoven and Seefried were awarded Commissioners Commendations for their bravery and Cst. Widdershoven was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

January 5

Photograph of Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police (Source of photo - RCMP Veterans' Association - Vancouver Division)

Photograph of Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police (Source of photo – RCMP Veterans’ Association – Vancouver Division)

1849 -Sir Samuel Benfield Steele 1849-1919 was born on this day in Purbrooke, Ontario. Arguably, the most famous Mountie in the history of the Force. Educated at Toronto’s Royal Military School Sam Steele began his military career when he joined the Canadian militia during the Fenian invasions in 1866, and went west in 1870 as a Private with the Red River Expedition. On October 2, 1873 he joined the newly created North West Mounted Police, as #5 and was given the rank of Sergeant-Major. In 1879 he was put in charge of Fort Qu’Appelle, where he and his men protected the CPR construction program and was then promoted to #O.40 Superintendent in 1885. In 1898 he was transferred to Dawson and he and his men brought law and order to the Klondike gold fields. In 1900 he received leave from the NWMP and helped organize and then command the Lord Strathcona’s Horse for service in the Boer War. He continued to serve in the military and was eventually knighted and retired in 1918 after leading the Second Canadian contingent to World War I as a Major General. He died in London England Jan 30, 1919 and was buried in Winnipeg Manitoba.

1935 –Rin Tin Tin Jr’s, newest movie “Skull and Crown” is released. This time the dedicated super dog helps out the Mounties

1957 – Honour Roll Number 91.

Photograph of Constable John Roland Cobley (Reg.#17298).

Photograph of Constable John Roland Cobley (Reg.#17298).

#17298 Cst. John Roland Cobley age 24 was killed when he was struck by an automobile on the highway, near Salmon Arm, B.C.

He and his partner #17071 Cst. Nick Hrycyk were dealing with a truck they had pulled over for driving erratically on Highway # 1 near Salmon Arm. As Cobley was dealing with the truck two other vehicles pulled in behind them and in the glare of the headlights Cobley thought he saw someone throw some bottles out of the vehicle. While Cst. Hrycyk obtained names from the occupants, Cobley walked across the road to look for the liquor bottles.

While he was looking, a Volkswagen Beetle traveling in the opposite direction came upon the scene and did not see the policeman on the road and hit him with enough force to throw him up against the windshield and propel him over 130 feet. Cst. Cobley was rushed to hospital and was pronounce dead on arrival. The native of Winnipeg had been in the RCMP for nearly six years and was buried with full honours at the Anglican cemetery in Kelowna BC.

January 6

1978 – Honour Roll Numbers 153 and 154.

Photograph of the RCMP Depot Cenotaph with the names of Constables

Photograph of the RCMP Depot Cenotaph with the names of Corporal Barry Lidstone and Constable Joseph Trophy shown blocked off in red. (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

#24526 Corporal Barry Warren Lidstone age 34 and #33554 Constable Joseph Perry Brophy age 28 were shot and killed, while investigating a domestic dispute, near Hoyt, New Brunswick.

The two policemen had gone to a mobile home in the rural community of Hoyt, 15 miles south of Fredericton to assist Bonita Crombie in getting her daughter Wanda back from her estranged husband. The Crombie’s volatile relationship had ended six months before and Wanda had spent Christmas with her father. Bonita and her new boyfriend followed the policemen to the home and waited in their car while the officers spoke to Leslie Crombie about returning his daughter. Finding Crombie sober and cooperative they called Wanda into the trailer to get her daughter. Just before she was about to leave, Leslie Crombie stated “Wait a second, I’ll be right back. I have a surprise for you.” Nobody thought anything of it and assumed he was going to get a Christmas present for his daughter. That was a fatal error. When Crombie came out of the bedroom he was armed with a 30-30 caliber rifle and began shooting. His first shot struck Cpl. Lidstone in the head and he then shot Cst. Brophy in the leg. As the constable attempted to draw his revolver from his parka, Crombie shot him in the head killing him. Crombie then went to the door and fired several shots at his ex wife’s new boyfriend and then turned his attention to her. Demanding to know who the boyfriend was, he shot her in the leg but the bullet shattered and struck his daughter too. Realizing what he had done Crombie phoned his father who cane over and whisked his granddaughter away for medical treatment. When the police stormed the trailer later they discovered that Crombie had taken Wanda into their bedroom and killed her and then lying on the bed with his arm around her he shot himself in the head.

Corporal Barry Warren Lidstone had 12 years service in the RCMP and had spent much of it in the Arctic and was only on his third shift at the Fredericton Detachment when he was murdered. His remains were cremated and placed at the Peoples Cemetery in Dartmouth Nova Scotia.

Constable Joseph Perry Brophy had only been in the RCMP for two years having previously served with the Newcastle and Blackville New Brunswick police departments. Survived by his wife and their two young daughters he was buried in Blackville.

1983 – #43261 Cst. Robert Melvin McAuley MB of Cumberland House Detachment in Saskatchewan saved a mother and her child from drowning in the Bigstone River. After being dispatched to the scene Cst. McAuley rushed down to the shore and observed a woman in the river desperately clinging to the broken ice doing her best to struggle against the strong current. Without hesitating, he crawled nearly meters on the thin ice in an attempt to reach the woman. While he proceeded to pull her from the water, he saw the child’s head appear near the surface. Cst. McAuley then grabbed the child and lifted the unconscious boy onto the ice. After helping the woman and child to safety, he then applied cardio-pulmonary resuscitation to the boy and succeeded in reviving the child. For his heroism Cst. Robert Melvin McAuley was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

January 7

1904 – Commissioner Perry sentenced three Constables #3440 William Warren Piper, #3876 Frank William Phillips and #3951 David Reginald Leslie along with #O.52 Gilbert Edward Superintendent Sanders for their roles in allowing convicted murderer Ernest Cashel to escape from cells while he was awaiting the hangman. Constable Piper received twelve months hard labour and constables Phillips and Leslie received six months hard labour. All three were then dismissed from the Force with ignominy and Supt. Sanders received a written reprimand. Ernest Cashel was later captured after being shot by Constable #3743 John Garnet Welseley Biggs. (See January 24 1904)

1905 – #3613 Constable Albert Pedley arrived at Fort Saskatchewan Alberta from Fort Chipewyan after a 21 day journey of 380 miles (612 kilometers) having escorted a missionary who had gone insane and had to be tied in a sleeping bag and transported by dog sled. Pedley had to endure five days of slush and water then severe snowstorms and temperatures dipping below fifty degrees below zero. His charge refused to eat and he had to force feed him, to prevent him from escaping he had to lash him to a tree at night. One time the insane man escaped and led Pedley on a quarter mile chase before he caught him bound his hands and feet and then carried him thrashing and ranting back to the dog team. Throughout the ordeal Constable Pedley and his interpreter had to build large fires every night to keep the wolves from attacking and had to listen to the missionary incessant ranting. The enormous physical and mental strain took its tool on Pedley. On the return trip to Fort Chipewyan he broke down and went insane himself at Lac La Biche and was hospitalized for six months. After being released from the hospital he took three months leave and then returned to duty.


Pedley’s arduous 1905 patrol caught the interest of Hollywood screenwriters when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a movie in 1952 named “The Wild North”. In usual Hollywood tradition the movie staring Stewart Granger and Wendell Corey loosely based on his epic had little to do with the facts, and tells a story of how and amiable French Canadian woodsman brings in a Mountie who was sent out into the wild to bring him in.

Pedley joined the NWMP in 1900 and after retiring as a Sergeant in 1924 he returned home to Salisbury, England.

1940 – # 11396 Constable Arthur F. McDuffee saved the lives of two elderly Vancouver women who were overcome by smoke inhalation in their burning home. For his courage and personal bravery in entering the burning building and carrying the women out to safety, he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

1982 – While vacationing in Hawaii, #33436 Constable Lorne Harper saw a man struck by large wave and slipped below the surface. Harper dove in and dragged man to shore and revived him with CPR but the man died later of broken neck. For his efforts he received Royal Canadian Humane Testimonial.

January 8

1941 – Federal Minister Ian Mackenzie announces that as a matter of national security under the War Measures Act, all Japanese Canadians in British Columbia will have to be registered by the RCMP. They are later ordered by the Federal government to be moved inland to detention camps.

1944 – Honour Roll Number 79.

Photograph of

Photograph of Constable Gordon Evan Bondurant (Reg.#12965)

#12965 Constable Gordon Evan Bondurant age 35 died from wounds he received in action while serving with the RCMP Provost Corps in Ortona Italy during World War Two.

Canadian troops were subjected heavy door to fighting with crack Nazi troops in the Italian town of Ortona and members of the RCMP Provost corps were no strangers to danger. Routine duties often put these men in harms way where they were subjected to shellfire, mortar attacks and small arms fire. After a week of bitter combat Ortona was captured on December 28, 1943, but the danger was not over and later that day Lance Corporal Bondurant was struck by bomb fragments from an aerial attack on a bridge outside of the town. Badly wounded Bondurant was rushed to the field hospital and died ten days later. The bitter fighting that same December day resulted in the deaths of three other members of the RCMP Provost Corps, constables, Terence Watts, Edison Cameron and David Moon (See December 28) Constable Gordon Evan Bondurant was interred with his three buddies in the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery near San Donato in Italy.

1979 – Honour Roll Number 158.

Photograph of Constable

Photograph of Constable Lindberg Bruce Davis (Reg.#30791).

#30791 Constable Lindberg Bruce Davis age 25 was killed in a train/car collision, at Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

The exact cause of the collision between the police car and Canadian National freight train has never been determined. The constable was either preoccupied or he tried to beat the train but the end result is the same, he died of a ruptured aorta from the impact of the crash. Cst. Davis a native of Gander Newfoundland had been in the RCMP for six years and worked at Selkirk Detachment, Winnipeg Drug Section and Portage La Prairie. Leaving behind his wife of six months, Cst. Davis was buried in his hometown cemetery in Gander Newfoundland.

1986 – Honour Roll Numbers 178 and 179.

#S/2427 Pilot S/Cst. Wayne Philip Boskill age 33 and #S/3015 Co Pilot S/Cst. James Frederick Wilson age 30 were killed in a police aircraft crash, at Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan.

Both men had been regular members and converted to special constable status when they joined the air division. What should have been a routine flight ended up as a tragedy that claimed the lives of the two pilots and their two passengers; Jim Murray, the assistant property manager for “F” Division and Arvid Lundquist of the Department of Public Works. The men had traveled to Wollaston Lake near the border of the Northwest Territories to inspect the construction of a new detachment building. As the de Havilland Beaver took off it suddenly banked and appeared that they were trying to return to the runway but the wig tip clipped the lake ice and the plane crashed killing all four men. The investigation determined that the crash was likely due to engine failure.

Wayne Boskill was buried in the community cemetery in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and James Wilson was interred in the Brookside Cemetery in Winnipeg Manitoba. Both men were married and had young children.