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

December 4th

1900 – Constable #370 Alexander MacKenzie who served from 1879 to 1900 and was invalided was granted pension by Order in Council of 33¢ per day.

1946 – Honour Roll Number 84.

#12983 Constable Wilfred James Cobble died of injuries he received, when he was struck by a truck on the highway, at Lavoy, Alberta.

At approximately 7:00 pm on December 3rdConstable Cobble #10729 Corporal Augustus A. Cantrill were driving back to Vegreville from Inisfree when they found a truck loaded with coal parked on the side of Highway 16 without any lights on. They located the driver and returned him to the scene and instructed him to either repair the vehicle or tow it away.  While Cantrill waited in the police car Constable Cobble went to the front of the truck to write down the licence number. While he was writing his notes Cantrill observed a truck coming towards them and flicked lights to warn the approaching vehicle. The truck drove past the car and then slammed into the coal truck. Constable Cobble was propelled to the shoulder of the road and was found unconscious suffering from a fractured skull. With the help of a civilian who stopped at the scene Cantrill loaded his partner into the back of the police car and rushed him to the hospital in Vegreville. While the medical staff attended to the policeman Cobbles wife Kathleen was rushed to the hospital. He died with her by is side at 4:00 am the following morning.

Wilfred James Cobble had a varied career in the RCMP. He had served on the musical ride and been a dog handler. He was buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Vegreville Alberta.

1973– The Trudeau government passes a bill outlawing wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance except by police forces.

2000– Constable #49421 Tony J. Vienneau was returning home from a course traveling across the bridge over the Saint John River in Perth-Andover New Brunswick when he observed a 15-year-old boy standing on a 15-inch rail on the bridge in -27-degree weather. After radioing for assistance, he approached the youth and learned that he was going to jump to his death because of family problems. Constable Vienneau then climbed up on the rail and then spent over an hour talking with the despondent boy and eventually convinced him to go with him to the hospital. Due to the extreme cold both Constable Vienneau and the boy had to be treated for hypothermia. On October 27, 2003 Constable Vienneau ward awarded the Commissioners Commendation for bravery.

December 3rd

1978– Former terrorists Jacques Cossette – Trudell and his wife Micheline Lanctôt return to Quebec from exile in Cuba and France. He and members of his Liberation Cell of the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) had kidnapped British Trade Minister James Cross from his Montreal home on October 5, 1970. When the location of Cossette-Trudel’s hideout was discovered by the police, they negotiated his release that included the publication of the FLQ’ political manifesto, a demand for the release of 27 convicted FLQ militants and the safe passage to Cuba for he and his wife and four other terrorists.

Cossette-Trudel and his wife stayed in Cuba for four years before seeking asylum in France. In 1977, then Quebec Premier Rene Levesque stated that he was seeking a pardon for the pair. On this day, exactly eight years after the release of James Cross and their flight from justice to Cuba, the two terrorists retuned to Canada. They plead guilty to charges of kidnapping and attempted extortion on December 13th1978, and were sentenced to five years’ probation and two years in jail. After serving only eight months of their sentence they were released on parole!

2003– #44673 Constable James Shields awarded a St. John Ambulance Lifesaving Award for saving the life of a boy who had fallen through ice at Mineville, N.S.  A civilian had pulled the child out of the icy water and upon his arrival at the scene Cst. Shields performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

December 2nd

1970– FLQ terrorists kidnap victim British Trade Commissioner James Cross, is found alive by police after they surround house in Montreal.

1971– 45-year-old #15600 / O.858 Staff Sergeant Lloyd Stancil Smith and #21226 Corporal William Sanford Hacock age 32, earned Commanding Officers Commendations after they responded to a shooting in Colwood BC. At approximately 3:45 pm the detachment received report that a shooting had occurred in a Canadian Pacific Railways crew train. The two policemen accompanied by Corporal D. Peterson and Constable B. McCombe rushed to the scene and S/Sgt. Smith spotted a man lying on a bunk in a railway car. When Smith spoke to him, the man rolled off the bunk and yelled, “he’s got a gun” as a second man entered the car with a shotgun. Smith yelled a warning to the others as the two men began to fight and then the gunman ran out of the rail car. Then Smith saw that the man from the bunk was suffering from a gunshot wound and was then transported to hospital by ambulance. The gunman advised S/Sgt, Smith that he had no quarrel with the police but he was not going to give-up his gun. As Smith kept him distracted, Corporal Hacock climbed on the roof of the railway car and worked his way in behind the suspect. When the opportunity presented itself, he rushed the gunman and seized him by the legs causing him to drop the shotgun and was arrested.

1974-Fort MacLeod Alberta, constables #30876David C. Lock and #31463 James Arthur McGibbon received a complaint that three youths had guns and were firing them into the air. The constables located the trio inside a local restaurant and approached them. The youth then pointed their weapons at the police officers and after talking with the boys for several minutes they succeeded in disarming them. In recognition of their courage and the calm manner in which they handled the dangerous situation both men were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1986– Special Constable Harvey Russell Black of the Fond du Lac Saskatchewan rescued the life of a fellow member from the waters of Lake Athabaska. The men were traveling across the lake ice in a snow vehicle when the ice gave way and they plunged in to the water. For his valour Constable Black was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation.

1995 #43217 Constable S.F. Bruinsma received commendation when he entered burning building and rescued a disabled man at Selkirk, Manitoba.

2003– It was a busy day for Surrey British Columbia Dog Handler, #41509 Constable Dean Muir and his dog “Lar”. They caught four car thieves in three separate incidents in the one-day.

December 1st

1874– Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot nation called on 38-year-old Assistant Commissioner Macleod called “Stamixotokan” or Bulls Head because of the buffalo head over his door. The visit leads to a formal meeting with Macleod and all the chiefs of the Blackfoot nation. After the passing of the peace pipe during the meeting, Macleod remarked, “I come in friendship.” And explained that the police had not come to steal the Indians land. Chief Crowfoot stated “Before you came the Indian crept along in fear,” and expressed his and others approval and stated they were glad the redcoats were driving away the whiskey traders who robbed them of their wives, their horses and their robes.

1898 – The Arctic Express Company was to take over mail delivery in Yukon from the NWMP but the company gave up on the contract on their first delivery to the Stewart River Post. #1818 Corporal Fred Green and his trusty dog team then reassumed delivering the mail.

1912– Doctor Patrick Doyle was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon for Yukon and became #O.218 Surgeon Doyle on January 1, 1923. In the early days of the Force there was no rank of Assistant Surgeon therefore appointed doctors were called Acting Assistant Surgeons.

1922– New Brunswick drivers switch to driving on the right-hand side of the road.

1941– #13747 Constable Alvin Evans awarded Royal Canadian Humane Society parchment for saving woman from fire at Rose Valley, Sask.

1953– The rank of “Corps Sergeant Major added to the Force.

1968– Constable Joseph G. Netsena of the Eastend Saskatchewan RCMP was the first adult at the scene of a drowning. Several young boys were playing on the ice on the Frenchman River when a five-year-old child broke through. Eight-year-old Peter Kuystermans jumped in the water and managed to push his brother Arnold to safety but then slipped back into the frigid water and disappeared below the surface. When Constable Netsena arrived, he spotted a blue toque under the ice and rushed into the river and found the boy’s body. He immediately began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the child as he waded to shore and then to the nearby hospital. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain because the hospital staff was unable to revive him. For his efforts in the attempted rescue constable Netsena was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

1969– Canadian Police forces begin using the Breathalyzer to test for blood alcohol levels of suspected impaired drivers.

1978– Constables Ken Chislett and Barry Clarke and Mr. Josiah Ittulak of Nain Labrador tried in vain to rescue a man from the icy waters of Nain Harbour after his snowmobile broke through the ice. The trio’s efforts were recognized by being awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1991– #40404 Constable Joseph Marc Comeau responded to the complaint of a highly intoxicated man who was armed with a .22 caliber rifle and an axe at Pauingassi Reserve, Manitoba. Undaunted by the violent man’s threats; Constable Comeau disarmed him and took him into custody. For his courage and presence of mind he was awarded the Commissioners Commendation.

2002 – While serving with United Nations Forces in Yugoslavia in 1993 Constables #46570 Glenn Peters, #47255 Mark Lundie, #48883 Christian Bichler and #49472 Warren Vogan found themselves in the middle of a combat zone. Their actions under fire were formally recognized on this day when they received the Commander-in-Chief commendation for their courage during battle.