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 13th

1893 – #2739 Constable Francois Maisonneuve was brought up on charges in the Orderly Room (Service Court) accused of entering the Sergeants Mess and appropriating a leg of mutton for his own use. He was found guilty and sentenced by Superintendent Sam Steele to one month of hard labour. Some members have often wondered if he was sentenced for stealing the mutton or for going into the Sanctum Santorum of the Sergeants Mess!

1991  – Auxiliary Constable J. Schmidt of Mission BC rescued four teens from drowning after they fell through the ice on the Dewdney Slough. For his courage he was awarded the Commanding Officers Commendation for bravery.

1991– While serving as recruits in French language training in Montreal Quebec, Constables #43639 E.H. Hendriks and #43612 S.C. Hunter were commended for arresting a bank robber.

1997– The bodies of the 52-year-old Fort MacLeod, Alberta Detachment Commander #24007 Sergeant Roger Sopow and his girlfriend Lorrain McNab age 47 are found murdered and dumped inside horse trailer near Pincher Creek, Alberta. The double homicide case has yet to be solved.

December 12th

1899 – An Order in Council finally grants a life pension of 30¢ per day to #992 Sergeant William Perrin who had been invalided on June 30, 1890 with locomotor ataxia.

1955 – Honour Roll Number 90.

#O.385 Inspector David James McCombedied from exposure while on patrol near Cutknife, Saskatchewan.

#10294 / O.385 Inspector David J. McCombe was the Officer Commanding North Battleford Sub-Division and had left his office to drive to 35 miles to Cutknife Detachment around noon. The weather was clear when he departed but en-route the wind picked up and one of the worst winter storms in history blew in. Before he could make it to his destination, Highway # 40 became impassable due to the blinding snow and heavy drifts. Only two and a half miles from Cutknife Inspector McCombe’s car slid into the ditch and became stuck. Abandoning his car, he made an attempt to walk to shelter but the blinding snow prevented him from getting very far. Upon his return to his vehicle he discovered that he had lost his keys and had to smash a window to get into the vehicle where he curled up in the back seat in attempt to preserve his body heat in the sub-zero weather.

When the severe storm suddenly occurred the members of Cutknife detachment became concerned for the Inspectors safety and Corporal J.K Bird and Constable R.E. Sondergaard made separate attempts to find him on the highway but the driving conditions were so bad that they had to turn back. A third attempt to find him was made at 2:15 pm when Constables A.F. Squair, and C.C. Young went out in a tow truck driven by Mr. Duncan Crone. In their attempt, they became stuck in a snowdrift and had to abandon their vehicle and walk to a nearby farmhouse. On the way, they rescued a stranded family of four who became stuck in the ditch and the entire group had to spend three days at the farm waiting out the storm.

At 5:00 pm #13370 Corporal Eugene V. Matchett, accompanied by Constables #17675 Lester Wall, #18058 James A.J. Laking and #18255 Clarence P. Miskiw headed out in a Bombardier tank tracked vehicle borrowed from the Department of Natural Resources. Even then the driving was so bad that the constables had to take turns walking in front of the vehicle with a high-powered flashlight to illuminate the road. After four hours of searching they finally found the missing car and Inspector McCombe’s frozen body in the back seat of the car.

David J. McCombe had joined the RCMP in 1927 after a short spell with the Royal Irish Constabulary in his home city of Belfast. He received a huge funeral in North Battleford and was buried at the RCMP Cemetery in Regina. One of his sons H. Barry McCombe later joined the RCMP and rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant before retiring in 1994.

1970 – Roy Spencer, father of Toronto Maple Leaf rookie Brian ‘Spinner’ Spencer was shot and killed by the RCMP outside a Prince George, BC, TV station after he had forced it off the air at gunpoint because it was not carrying a game between the Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks and a interview with his son; Brian Spencer was himself shot and killed in June 1988 in Florida.

1991 – Justice Minister Kim Campbell brings in new rape shield law that defines consent, allows case questioning only when crucial to defendant; restores protection lost by ruling previous August.

December 11th

1911– Alberta brings in first Motor Vehicle Act and sets the speed limit in towns and cities at 15 mph, and at 20 mph in less settled areas. The Act stipulates that vehicles outside of urban areas are required to slow down to 6 mph when approaching or passing pedestrians and horses. In addition, drivers are required to assist any horseman who required assistance should the automobiles startle their horse. All male drivers over 16 and young ladies over 18 are required to obtain a driver’s license.

1949– The Canadian Government bans Comic Books!

1961– The Assistant Military Attaché at Soviet Embassy expelled for receiving secret Canadian documents.

1968– Honour Roll Number 138.

#26042 Second Class Constable James Alexander Kerr age 21 was killed when he was struck by a passing vehicle near Ste Anne, N.B.

Constable Kerr had only 16 months service when he assisted in the investigation of a fatal motor vehicle accident that had occurred early in the day. At 7:30 pm he was crossing the road in the dark with his back turned to traffic and he was struck and propelled over 235 feet. The driver of the car didn’t realize that the police were present because none of the vehicles were displaying their emergency lights except for one car that had a small red portable “fireball” light on its roof. The driver did not see Constable Kerr in part because the policeman’s clothing was dark and he was partially blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

He was buried near his parent’s home in Duart Ontario.

1990– #28822 Corporal R.A. Nichol and #36785 Constable M.S. Lukca received Commanding Officer’s Commendations for the apprehension of an armed suspect at Hanes Junction, Yukon.

December 10th

1996– After responding to a complaint involving a knife wielding at the Nanaimo BC Ferry Terminal, Constables #30652 James Porteous and #41437 Gary O’Brien are confronted by a man high on drugs. When the suspect rushed Constable O’Brien and attempted to stab him with the knife, O’Brien shot him once fatally wounding him.  A Coroners Inquest cleared both officers and ruled the shooting was in self-defense.

2001– While off duty traveling in his own car near Dundas, Ontario #39112 Constable J.P.G. Bourbonnais observed a vehicle hit black ice and skid off the road and roll over into 2-4 feet of water in the ditch. Constable Bourbonnais ran to assist driver but could not open the vehicles’ doors to get to the unconscious driver whose head and upper torso was submerged.  Recognizing that he could not rescue the victim by himself, he solicited the assistance of three bystanders and they succeeded in wrenched a door open and then cut the unconscious driver from seat belt.  Constable Bourbonnais then gave revived the victim using CPR and first aid and then provided warm clothing and comfort after he was revived. In recognition of his professionalism and quick thinking in the rescue Constable J.P.G. Bourbonnais was awarded the Commissioners Commendation for outstanding service.

December 9th

1878– #O.35 Surgeon Robert Miller along with Constables, #293 William Robertson, #294 William Ramsay, #299 John Wymerskirk, #301 Harry Keenan, #302 Joseph Hanafin, #307 William Davis, #308 Harry Walker, and #355 William Latimer opened the first detachment at Prince Albert Saskatchewan.

1938– In recognition of his excellent work on murder investigation in Saskatchewan, #12838 Constable William McKayseff received a commendation.

1969– Constable Stephen William Hryciuk responded to a complaint that a deranged man was threatening a woman with a knife in downtown North Vancouver. When he arrived on scene and found the man walking down the street with his two small children. When Hryciuk approached the man, he began running and then suddenly grabbed his daughter and holding a knife to her throat told the policeman to leave him alone. As he attempted to reason with the man and move closer to him, Constable Franciscus A.E.M. Naaykens arrived on scene and momentarily distracted him. Taking advantage of the distraction Constable Hryciuk pounced on the assailant grabbing for the knife. A struggle ensued in which he received superficial knife wounds to his hand but with the assistance of Constable Naaykens they succeeded in subduing the man. Constable Hryciuk was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation.

1989– Honour Roll numbers 214 and 215.

Pilot #S/3367 (**formerly #33112) Special Constable Nancy Marie Puttkemery age 34 and #S/1969 Special Constable Vincent Norman Timms were stationed in Edmonton Alberta at the time of their deaths. They were working in an aerial surveillance project and were returning to Edmonton in their Cessna 182 after the weather conditions began to deteriorate. Due to the limited visibility and heavy blowing snow, S/Cst. Puttkemery decided to return to Calgary and land there. As she made a left turn at low altitude, the left wing of her plane struck a wire on the Cantel Radio Tower near Crossfield, Alberta. The plane plummeted to the ground and was completely demolished and both officers were killed on impact.

**Nancy Puttkemery was born in Beloit Wisconsin and had originally joined the RCMP as a civilian member in 1975 and later that year converted to a regular member. In November 1986 she was transferred to Air Division and as a pilot converted to a Special Constable. (For specialty pay scale reasons pilot’searned higher rates of pay than various ranks)

Vincent Norman Timms was a native of East Ham, England and joined the RCMP “Special O” surveillance section in 1978.

December 8th

1882– Cree/Saulteaux leader Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear) 1825-1888 finally signs Treaty #6 six years after the rest of his tribe. He grudgingly signed because his people were starving because all the buffalo had been hunted to near extinction. Because he had not signed the Treaty his 114 remaining followers were ineligible for government rations, and were living in cloth and stick tents.

1934– The crew of the Patrol Vessel “Preventor” is awarded a Commendation to for their role in salvaging a crashed seaplane.

1943– #13068 Sergeant Cecil L. Ray was wounded in action at San Appolinairi, Italy while serving as a Lieutenant with the Provost Corps. Ray joined the RCMP in 1937 and returned to the Force after serving in WWII from1939 to 1946. He retired to pension in 1963.

1973 – After a mentally disturbed youth with a shotgun locked himself in his house with his sister and threatened to kill her and his parents when they returned home. Members of the Stewiacke, Nova Scotia Detachment then surrounded the house and a tense standoff began. It was alleviated when Menzie Stewart, a friend of the gunman phoned him and gained sufficient trust to allow him to enter and take his sister out of the house. When the man found himself alone he called the detachment and requested that a policeman come inside to speak with him. #26504 Constable Gordon D. Goldsworthy volunteered and went inside but the gunman changed his mind and at gunpoint ordered the constable to get out. Remaining calm, Constable Goldsworthy spoke with the young man and eventually convinced him to drop the weapon and surrender. In recognition of their bravery Menzie Stewart and Constable Goldsworthy were awarded Commanding Officers Commendations.

1984– Star of Courage, #36355 Constable Laurier Roland Cadieux. SC.

Around 11:00 pm, Constable Cadieux was off duty having a meal at the Keg Restaurant in Langley, British Columbia, when he heard two shotgun blasts. When he investigated he found a woman brandishing a revolver in the midst of an armed robbery. He quickly overpowered and disarmed her, and then heard another gunshot, turned and saw a man holding a sawed-off shotgun fleeing up a flight of stairs. He then discovered that the revolver he had seized from the female assailant was defective but chased after the other gunman anyway and confronted him. Identifying himself as a policeman, and bluffing him with the defective handgun Constable Cadieux convinced the culprit to drop his weapon. Initially the man complied, but when he realized he had been bluffed, he lunged at Cadieux and a struggle ensued. With the help of restaurant staff and patrons, the gunman was subdued. While this was occurring, the woman was rescued by a third accomplice and they fled from the scene. Shortly thereafter the Police arrived and took the gunman into custody and the two others, along with a fourth accomplice, were later arrested and charged.

On June 26, 1987 Constable Laurier Roland Cadieux was awarded Canada’s second highest civilian award for bravery, the Star of Courage.