Pattullo Bridge Detachment

RCMP Detachment - Pattullo Bridge Member

 

 

 

 

Veteran Ric Hall developed and sent us this story about Surrey Detachment.

 

 

 

 

I was once asked by a member of Surrey Detachment “what is the story of Pattullo Bridge Detachment?”   I thought the answer was pretty simple, it was a Sub-Office of Surrey Detachment (or the old Cloverdale Detachment) like the old Whalley Sub-Offfice that was in place for many years. After doing a little digging, boy, oh boy, was I wrong!   The story of Pattullo Bridge Detachment is an inter-woven story connecting the “the Pat Bridge”, the King George Hwy. and the area of Surrey now known as the City Centre of Surrey, but to most, it is still called “Whalley”.

This story is dedicated to those who served at the Pattullo Bridge Detachment and the old Whalley Sub-Office of Surrey (Cloverdale) Detachment.

Pete Nichols smiles as he gazes across the street from his business at the RCMP District 1 office in Whalley. A large street sign painted on the building reads, “Whalley’s Corner.” Underneath that, it says “Historic District.” It’s a daily reminder that the city and RCMP are honouring the area’s past. The city placed new street signs at six locations along King George Boulevard, re-named from King George Highway, in an effort to recognize both the area’s history and the commitment of locals to enhancing the area. And in a show of support, the RCMP painted the blown-up street sign on its building. Surrey Now newspaper, August 27, 2015.

The story of “Whalley“; settlers began moving in the vicinity of present-day Whalley as early as the 1880s. Nels Peter Anderson, born in Sweden in 1855, arrived via Cape Horn in a Hudson’s Bay Company ship, in 1896. He jumped ship in New Westminster, changed his name to Sandell and homesteaded the NW corner of Townline Road (96 Avenue), and what would become Sandell Road (128 Street).

In 1908, Surrey Council requested a grant to build a road from the old Fraser Bridge in South Westminster, southward up Peterson Hill to present-day 108 Avenue. The new road cut off a portion of the Old Yale Road known as “Snake Hill” because of its steep, dangerous curves. This route later became part of the King George Highway through Whalley.

In 1925, Arthur Whalley and family moved from a farm in Cloverdale to the area that was to perpetuate the family name. They purchased a three-acre triangle of land at the future intersection of Ferguson Road (108 Avenue), Grosvenor Road and the future King George Highway. They had the land cleared and spent the first winter in tents on the site, where they built a service station, which included a small general store, soft drink stand, and tourist cabins. The original family house (since moved) was built behind the station.

It is probably no coincidence that a service station should be built here at this time. In 1923, the Pacific Highway (passing through future Whalley) had been paved all the way to the U.S. Border. With the proliferation of the automobile already evident, Arthur Whalley anticipated the strip development that would begin to appear along major roads by the 1940s. (In Whalley, this was accelerated by construction of the Pattullo Bridge in 1937 and completion of the King George Highway in 1939.)

In 1923, Ivor Neil, one-time jitney (bus) operator, sold his independent Blue Funnel Bus Line to B.C. Electric, with whom he was in competition, the service being absorbed by Pacific Stage Lines by 1926. When Pacific Stage Lines established a bus stop at Ferguson and Bergstrom Roads, the place became known as “Whalley’s Corner”.

This view is of a farm stand on Peterson Hill capturing the quiet of a past era and the graceful bend of the Pacific Highway – 1931 – a far cry from the busy Surrey roads of today!

This view is of a farm stand on Peterson Hill capturing the quiet of a past era and the graceful bend of the Pacific Highway – 1931 – a far cry from the busy Surrey roads of today!

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Whalley debated secession from Surrey and incorporation as a separate city or municipality. In the early 1990s Whalley was designated as the future city centre of Surrey. To make that come to be many changes would have to take place. Today, the face of Whalley has changed dramatically, it is the City Centre, and is the most densely populated and urban of Surrey’s six town centres. Changes took place with the KGHwy, as most members called it, the route was originally named King George Highway in honour of the royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1939. The name was changed to King George Boulevard in 2009 “to project an image of a modern, safe, walkable and livable City Centre community”, given that portions of the corridor have had a reputation for being dangerous and having a high incidence of criminal activity.

Crossing the Fraser River from New Westminster to Surrey; The first regular crossing of the Fraser River started in 1882, and was operated by a steam ferry named K de K, which transported residents and livestock from Brownsville, a former community in what is now the City of Surrey, also known as South Westminster, approximately where the east footing of the Skytrain bridge is, this was also the former site of Kikait, one of the main summer villages of the Kwantlen people, to New Westminster.  During the late 1890s, the need for a new bridge became apparent after the existing ferry was deemed insufficient to handle future traffic demands. The first bridge started construction in 1902, with completion in 1904. The bridge was built with two decks, the lower deck handling vehicular traffic and the upper deck functioning as a railway bridge.

Again, growing traffic demands prompted the construction of a second bridge in 1936. The Pattullo Bridge was opened to traffic on November 15, 1937 by Premier “Duff” Pattullo, with a total cost of $4 million. The bridge was originally tolled at 25¢ per crossing, but was removed in 1952.  The old bridge, now known today as the New Westminster Rail Bridge was converted to rail use only, and highway traffic was moved to the Pattullo Bridge.

1937 - Photograph of the official opening of the Pattullo Bridge. RCMP members from Fairmount Barracks formed the mounted honour guard.

1937 – Photograph of the official opening of the Pattullo Bridge. RCMP members from Fairmount Barracks formed the mounted honour guard.

The Pattullo Bridge was not built on the King George Hwy., which did not exist at the time. The main road from the Bridge, constructed along 112 Ave and up Peterson Hill, was the “New Yale Road” and soon after the Yale Road itself would be renamed the Trans-Provincial Highway, and later the Trans-Canada Highway.

When the Pattullo Bridge was built the Highway was realigned on Peterson Hill and at Whalley’s Corner and widened to four lanes. This was the first section of a 4-lane highway in the Province of BC. You can still walk the old portions of the 2-lane highway on Peterson Hill – this little part of the road looks very much as it did 50 years ago – and at Whalley’s Corner – the section on both sides of 108th Ave, on the east side of the highway where it curves to the south.

Until the 60’s highway addresses in Whalley were on Trans Canada Hwy. The Peace Arch Highway was constructed soon after the Pattullo was built. It ran from “White House Corner”- where King George Station is now – to the border. It was renamed with the visit of King George in 1939. “The Junction” where the Peace Arch Highway met the Trans-Canada (King George Stn) was a major bottle neck.

The concrete-paved traffic deck of the Pattullo Bridge is 46 feet wide, allowing ample accommodation for four lanes of motor traffic, with a 6-foot sidewalk for pedestrians’ trumpeted the Department of Public Works. The highway was widened to the same width. This allowed for four 11-foot lanes and a 2-foot median. There were eight toll-booths on the Surrey side of the Pattullo. The bridge was a hugely controversial project and there was spirited political opposition to its construction. Afterward people complained about the tolls. Scott Road originally met the Highway at an intersection and was the scene of many accidents.   If was controversial when it first opened think ahead to 2017 and the volume of traffic that crosses the Pattullo Bridge every day and the discussions around whether to build a new bridge or keep repairing the current one.

Cloverdale Detachment; From 1920 to 1951 the RCMP stationed one man acting as a Federal Preventive Services Member (Customs and Excise) in an office situated in the area of the 5800 block of 176th Street (Mr. A. J. Burrow’s residence). The member’s duties were to patrol the Canadian/USA border crossing, which is south of Cloverdale.

When the RCMP took over policing the District of Surrey in 1951 the detachment was too large (18 members) for the offices at the Municipal Hall so a new office was opened in 1952 at 5900 Main Street (now 177B St.) and was used until 1963. The building was designed as a laundry but was never used as such. It was purchased and then used as the police detachment. The police office was on the first floor and the Traffic Section and the members’ quarters were on the second floor. After the detachment moved, the building was used by the Boy Scouts until it was demolished in the mid 1970s.

1954 – Photograph of Surrey Detachment members standing infant of the Cloverdale office. Detachment office was downstairs and the single men quarters were upstairs.

A new Surrey Detachment (Cloverdale) opened in 1973 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Force…or was it just a coincidence? It remained the main detachment until 1990 with the move to the new detachment next to the court house, Remand Centre and city hall.

So where does the Pattullo Bridge Detachment fit into all this? The start date of the Pattullo Bridge Detachment seems hard to narrow down, but it would appear to coincide with the amalgamation of the BC Provincial Police and the RCMP.

Veteran Don Klancher, Reg # 22190/O.1552, is able to provide this information; “I was at the Whalley Sub-Office, of Cloverdale Det., from April 1962 until November 1964.  The Whalley Sub-Office was located on Grosvenor Road, (near the intersection of 108 Ave) just north of, what was then, the King George Hwy. In 1962, Pattullo Bridge Det. was a separate detachment under New Westminster Sub-Division. In the Annual Report for the year ending March 31, 1951, which was the fiscal year in which the BCP was absorbed, Pattullo Bridge Detachment was not included in the list of “E” Div. Detachments.”

I found no reference to Pattullo Bridge Det. until the RCMP Annual Report for the year ending March 31, 1959.  At that time, it was listed as a detachment under New West Sub/Div. but reports for the previous years made no mention of it.”

Members who have served at the old Cloverdale and Pattullo Bridge Detachments have shared some of their memories;

A motor vehicle accident being investigated on the Pattullo Bridge early 1950s. No Canada Labour Code at the time…note the member on his motorcycle wearing a Stetson.

1962-63: Photograph of an unknown RCMP members taken outside the Pattullo Bridge Detachment (Surrey, BC) (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection)

 

 Jim Gillespie, Reg # 21181: Pattullo Bridge Det. was a Provincial contract detachment and not part of Surrey Detachment.  There a Sgt ic…it was responsible only for the bridge and approaches…Surrey Detachment had its own traffic section which was responsible for King George Hwy.  Archie Lepine and I were on the same MC Course and he was killed shortly after being transferred to the Bridge Det.  He was going up the Pederson Hill on the KGHwy when a vehicle turned left in front on him.  I was stationed at the old Maillardville detachment that night he was killed.

Unknown: somehow I lost the writers name: I went to the Bridge in 1963 and stayed 15 months. The Bridge Detachment consisted of 1 Sgt, 1 Cpl. and 5 Csts. 24 hours coverage.

Detachment area was from the front of the Turf Hotel (there was a pedestrian overpass crossing KGHwy – to the Royal Ave overpass at the north end of the Bridge. The only detachment in Canada “without a legal left turn” in the detachment area. The Bridge was an integral part of the Trans Canada Highway. (No Port Mann Bridge until 1965).

We had one car and two motorcycles. Our office was at the South end of the Bridge, immediately adjacent to the Weigh Scale Administration office. They had two weigh platforms, north and south bound.

When I got there in December 1963 Sgt. John Brucker, Reg # 11105, was i\c with Cpl. Herb Knopf, Reg # 15395, the second in command.   Our purpose at the Bridge was to ensure movement of the traffic volume to and from the heart of the Lower Mainland. We would position ourselves at the North end for PM rush hour, and South end for morning rush hour. We were a Provincially funded entity.

We were in a perfect location for enforcement of all the Commercial Transport laws, and in a great location in case of a’ urgent want broadcast’.

Our prisoners went to either New Westminster PD or Whalley sub-office depending on where the arrest was made. Court was held in the New Westminster Federal Court House. Cpl. Knopf did most of the prosecuting with Ad Hoc lawyers in the serious criminal cases.

The Bridge was an excellent location to pick off impaired drivers. The 4 lanes were really narrow which made it perfect for detecting a drinking driver. I think we were leaders in DWI charges around the smaller Units. I am positive each and every member stationed there had a number of ‘ bridge jumper’ stories..

It was well known around the members that if you were stationed at the Bridge .. . . and lived. . . . you were a very good motorcycle rider. The area was tight and you had to use your imagination to effectively solve traffic tie ups.

I was on duty the afternoon that the Port Mann bridge opened. Two of us were standing in our usual location at the north end New Westminster entrance to the Bridge, for PM rush hour. We waited for approx. 40 minutes, and when NO traffic came, we went back to the office. I believe it was the following year that the detachment was disbanded and New West and Surrey Traffic assumed the responsibility for the bridge. A member could learn all there was to know about Commercial Truck Traffic and it served me very well the remainder of my Service.

Archie Lepine, was killed headed up the KGHwy on Pederson Hill, when a vehicle cut left in front of him, turning into the A&W at that location. Prior to his fatal, the motorcycle riding program had a basic 1 week course. After his death, the Force doubled the training program, and I was on the first two week course in 1963, held at the present Cloverdale Race Track. Instructors Bill Hulgaard (Cpl.) Bill Todd (Cpl.)

1963 – Cloverdale Fairgrounds in Surrey, BC:1963 motorcycle Course. Supt Woods – Johnson and Chief MACKIE New West PD inspecting, with Sgt Mert ROWDEN i/c Traffic, S/Sgt Wm MORRISON i/c Cloverdale Det. In the picutre Csts Gord CAIRNY, Wik HUGGANS New West PD, myself, Wayne HANKY. Can’t see the other two and don’t have a list. Taken by the south wall of the Cloverdale Curling rink, just south of the Cloverdale Race Track. Cpl. Bill Hulgaard and Cpl. Wm Todd were the instructors. There were m/cs in Cloverdale, and Burnaby. The training was required to be posted to the Pattullo Bridge Det. (Source of photo – Marv Ukraineitz)

Stan Fuller, Reg # 18112: Ric, I joined in 1953 and retired in 1989. I was stationed at Cloverdale in 1956, Pattullo Bridge was kind of a sub-office. We worked the Whalley area and the bridge week about, two members per shift, one for the bridge and one for Whalley.  Bridge was just traffic control, selling permits to American truckers. At the bridge we had an old Jeep to patrol the bridge and a car for the Whalley area. There was a Cpl. in charge.

Dan Hamelin, Reg # 26133: Hello Ric, I grew up in Whalley back in the ‘50’s. It had a reputation then but not nearly as bad as today. As a teenager I was living right on the King George Hwy the day Archie Lepine died. I knew some of the members stationed at the Whalley sub-office back in the day and was told Archie had left the Pattullo Bridge detachment on his way to the Whalley Sub-office. I saw the panel delivery making a left turn onto Ravine road right in front of Archie and saw his motorcycle slam into the right side. He was doing highway speed in my estimation, which at the time was 35 mph. The accident has stuck with me to this day as it was a Mountie who died. The force of the collision was horrific. I was on the highway moments later when a couple of guys dragged him away from his bike as it was leaking gas and we were all afraid of an explosion. I don’t know if it is true but we were told his revolver was found in the ravine which was quite a distance. It was suggested the force of the collision ripped it from his body, which is somewhat surprising, given we wore lanyards in those days.

Whalley was a sub-office of Cloverdale. As I was not yet a member I never knew if Patullo Bridge was likewise. I used to stop in and visit both detachments. I believe they were both headed by Sgts. at the time. I joined up at the Whalley Detachment and recall several members expressing surprise that anyone coming from Whalley would ever make the Force. Best regards.

Don Dieno, Reg #21032: Reading the notes regarding Pattullo Bridge Detachment brought back unpleasant memories unfortunately.  I was on duty with Cst. Archie Lepine the night he was tragically killed and was on the scene. I was stationed at the Whalley Sub-Office at that time.

Laird Allan, Reg # 28821: I believe there was a small office at the Surrey end of the bridge at the scales.  Coincidently, I was the last member on the Provincial collator for the Provincial position for the Pattullo Bridge.  That was in 1980.  Technically someone was suppose to be patrolling the bridge at all times.  Roger Peirlet was on Bridge duty the night that he was killed.  He had gone back to Cloverdale to swap portable radios.  Lepine was killed on Peterson Hill. 

Bill Hulgaard, Reg # 17856: Hi Ric, I came to B.C in1953 and the bridge was  under provincial  contract would you believe 1 sgt lcpl and approx 6 csts  car motorcycle  ann old army jeep, they used the court facilities in New West. They worked close to Surrey Detachment.  I was the first member in charge of  Port  Mann Freeway  Patrol from West Van to Abbotsford, 1 Cpl  and 3 Csts. This remained for years in spite of numerous memos. This patrol started in 1965  l came back in 1973 as a Staff Sgt and built up the patrol  to 1 S/Sgt,  1 Sgt,  3 Cpls and 15 Csts.

About 1985 the Pattullo Bridge Det was abandoned and we took over the policing from Port Mann. On another note Cpl. Mert Rowden and myself took over instructing motor cycle courses in BC including Cst. Lepine and after his death  the courses were extended from 1 week to 2 weeks.

D.C. “Cleve” Cooper, Reg # 21259/O.988: Hello Ric, I am responding to your query regarding Pattullo Bridge which a friend sent to me today.  You will probably get a few responses from the old members who may have served there in the past but here is one from 1961/62.

I was transferred to Burnaby Detachment in Nov. 1960 out of training in Regina. In the spring of 1961, I found myself on a motorcycle course conducted at Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds by Cpl. Mert Rowden and Cst. Bill Hulgaard.  The motorcycle course, being a prerequisite to serving on Pattullo Bridge Detachment, I was quickly transferred from Burnaby to “the bridge” in the summer of 1961. The Sergeant in charge at that time was Sgt.Tom Brucker and the 2 i/c was Cpl. Herb Knopf.  The detachment was further staffed with six constables.  The detachment itself was situated by the weigh scales on the south end of the bridge and was part of the provincial government structure which also housed the weigh scale staff, although we had a separate part of the building.  The transport assigned to us was a 1960 Chevrolet police car and two Harley Davidson motor cycles, a 1954 Harley and a brand new 1961 Harley. Usually, we constables got to work early so we could be first to grab the new Harley!!  We worked three 8 hour shifts around the clock.  In those days, “the only fair way” was for the NCO’s to work steady days, Monday to Friday, and the constables to rotate through the shifts seven days a week.

 Pattullo Bridge Detachment came under New Westminster Sub/Division and the Officer Commanding at that time was Insp. W.G. Hurlow, Reg # 13133/O.477, who had a section NCO, S/Sgt. Tom Quigley, Reg # 16336. How I remember that, is because S/Sgt. Quigley was assigned to investigate Cst. Al Kirbyson, Reg # 20814, and I for reported misconduct in our operation of the two aforementioned motorcycles on the bridge during one afternoon shift. After the investigation both Al and I were called to account before Insp. Hurlow.

 We only policed the bridge and the approaches to it on either end.  Indeed, we had to go “out of our area” to turn around. On the north end we met up with the New Westminster Police personnel and on the south end, it was the RCMP Whalley Sub Detachment.

 As I understood the policing responsibilities at that time, neither the City of New Westminster nor the Municipality of Surrey would take on the costs of policing the bridge, and because it was probably the property of the province in any event, the responsibility for policing it lay with the provincial government. So, I suspect the contract for policing the bridge was between the province and the RCMP, although, as young constables we never were privy to such details. You can imagine it was richly staffed with 8 personnel with very little police work to do.

 In 1961, Pattullo Bridge was the main artery across the Fraser River and there were heavy flows of traffic on it between New Westminster and Surrey, in the morning going into Vancouver and at night returning to Surrey.  The bridge experienced its fair share of motor vehicle accidents in those days, particularly during the rush hours.  We certainly had to be present for any mishaps during those times.  In the afternoons, it was always our duty to go to the north end of the bridge and set up barriers so the traffic could not travel up the ramp from Sapperton and enter the bridge from that direction.  The barricades stayed in place from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, Monday to Friday.  A member was positioned at the top of the Sapperton ramp on the bridge, waving the southbound rush hour traffic onto the bridge on the Trans Canada Highway.

 You can imagine, other than for the rush hours, the time spent policing on the bridge was minimal with only the odd violation of the traffic laws to contend with. Many of us who were stationed there at the time took an airbrake course put on by the province. This entitled us to inspect the transport trucks travelling on the bridge which had to stop for the weigh scales. So we worked with the weigh scale operators checking faulty equipment and brakes on such vehicles.  Usually, we had a tow truck driver, who stationed himself at the Surrey end of the bridge, at the ready to move disabled vehicles off the bridge.  There were the odd reports of potential “jumpers” from the bridge.  I recall one member, I believe it was Cst. Laurie Marshall, who served there before my time, rescued a would be jumper from the bridge infrastructure by climbing quite high up to do it and may have been awarded a bravery award for the risk he took.

(Many members have been recognized for their actions in saving would-be jumpers off the Pattulo Bridge the case mentioned by Cleve Cooper was documented in Larry Burden’s This Day in the RCMP”;

Shortly after midnight the RCMP received a report that a man was climbing up the bridge structure on the Pattullo Bridge which spans the Fraser River between Surrey and New Westminster BC. When Constables Robert Laurence Marshall, Reg # 20836, and Gary Michael Bell, Reg # 20602, arrived on the scene the man had climbed 75 feet up the bridge superstructure and was threatening to jump over 200 feet to the river below. The two constables then climbed up the superstructure and Marshall proceeded to try and talk the man down. Their supervisor Sgt. J. Brucker, Reg # 11105, arrived on scene and took charge of  things below as well as climbing up the structure several times to counsel the 22 year old policemen. When the man began to climb higher Constable Bell climbed 20 feet higher than the deranged man and succeeded in discouraging him from climbing any further. While Constable Marshall talked to the distraught man, the two policemen remained perched in their precarious positions for over an hour and eventually succeeded in convincing him to come down to the bridge deck In recognition of their courage both constables were awarded the Commissioners Commendation for Bravery.)

It was an easy detachment to get into difficulty, with a lot of public eyes watching our every move and because there were boring times on the bridge, sometimes we did get into trouble.  Members were usually rotated through the detachment rather quickly so the turnover was fairly constant, except for the two NCOs.  I was there when Cst. Archie Lepine was tragically killed on his motorcycle in May, I believe, of 1962 when he broadsided a pickup truck which had made a left turn in front of him coming down Peterson Hill from Whalley.  I recall serving with Archie and the following Constables during my tenure there:  Cst. Al Kirbyson, Cst. Stan Winarski, Cst. Pete Jacques,  Cst. Stan Domanski and Cst. Ken Wilkins  They were fun times too, as I recall, I couldn’t wait to get to work to get on one of those motorcycles.

I do not know if the BCPP policed the bridge before the RCMP took over policing from them in the province in 1950 or when the RCMP may have commenced doing so. When I was stationed in Burnaby in 1960/61, there were still several ex-BCPP members serving there.  However, when I was stationed at Pattullo Bridge neither Sgt. Brucker nor Cpl Knopf were formerly BCPP members and none of the constables were old enough to have been absorbed by the RCMP.

 As for Archie Lepine, yes, he was definitely stationed at Pattullo Bridge Detachment.  In fact, he had not been there very long before he was killed.

Barry Bradley, Reg # 21553: I spent 14 months and two weeks on the ‘bridge’. At that time the NCO’s were Sgt. John Brucker and Cpl. Herb Knopf and six constables, two motorcycles and one pc. The patrol area was just the bridge.  I believe most members there took an air brake course as we often randomly checked trucks. Sometimes the weigh scale operators would alert us to certain trucks to check. Archie Lepine, if I remember correctly had just located a couple of runaways and had called for a Whalley car to pick them up and take them to the Whalley Sub-office.  He was on the way there when he collided with a car making a left hand turn on Peterson Hill. His personal vehicle sat at the Bridge office for a long time apparently as he did not have a will. Any impaired drivers were taken to Burnaby Detachment.  Court has held at the New Westminster court house annex, the magistrate there was Millar Lougheed.  I think court day was Friday mornings, usually Cpl. Knopf was the prosecutor though sometimes one of the constables would act as the prosecutor.

I had the m/c course just after I arrived in Cloverdale Det. probably June/July 1961. From what I remember the constables got along between the Cloverdale/Whalley members. There was no connection with the Bridge and Cloverdale Detachment.

Mert Rowden, Reg # 15049: Ric;  thanks for the  photo. It doesn’t seem to be over 50 years, but it is some of the good memories.  You are right, Bill Morrison, Reg # 16422/O.596, (former BCPP and the first OIC of Surrey Detachment) was one of the good guys,  also met him a couple of times after he retired and had not seemed to change.  F.E. Nelson, Reg # 16355, was the NCO i/c Cloverdale when I arrived in ’57.

You had asked about the BCPP highway patrolling Pattullo Bridge and the Provincial Trunk Highways,  the Bridge including the weigh scales, toll booths were a provincial responsibility and was regulated under the Pattullo Bridge Act (1937 or 1939).  Some of the toll takers and scale operators were BCPP Special Constables prior to September 15th 1950 but were not taken over in the initial Contract, although the Force did agree to monthly contracts for them to take effect on the 15th of Sept.  Cost, Maintenance,  Enforcement of Arterial Highways in “Organized Territory” were usually covered under a contract with the Municipality.  The weigh scale operation was consider part of the policing contract and we policed the scales with members or specials until about 1953 when the Department of Commercial Transport was formed and began to take over the weight and weight-licensing from the Department of Highways and the Motor Carrier Branch. 

Constable Archille “Archie” Lepine Reg # 21512 – Honour Roll # 119

Photograph of RCMP Constable Archie Lepine (Source of photo - Surrey RCMP Detachment).

Photograph of RCMP Constable Archie Lepine (Source of photo – Surrey RCMP Detachment).

Const. Archie Lepine suffered broken arms, a fractured skull, and a broken leg Sunday when he was thrown from this wrecked motocycle. He is a member of the Pattullo Bridge detachment. His motorcycle hit a truck and burst into flames near Peterson Hill. He is in critical condition in Royal Columbian hospital this morning. (Source of photo - The British Columbian Newspaper)

Const. Archie Lepine suffered broken arms, a fractured skull, and a broken leg Sunday when he was thrown from this wrecked motocycle. He is a member of the Pattullo Bridge detachment. His motorcycle hit a truck and burst into flames near Peterson Hill. He is in critical condition in Royal Columbian hospital this morning. (Source of photo – The British Columbian Newspaper)

Photograph of members examining the remains of Constable Archive Lepine’s RCMP Motorcycle.

Mangled Police Motorcycle was involved in a collision with a truck and burned early Sunday on Peterson Hill. Officer riding motorcycle at time, Const. Archie Lepine, 23, of Pttullo Bridge detachment, is in critical condition with fractured skull, broken arms and leg.

Mangled Police Motorcycle was involved in a collision with a truck and burned early Sunday on Peterson Hill. Officer riding motorcycle at time, Const. Archie Lepine, 23, of Pttullo Bridge detachment, is in critical condition with fractured skull, broken arms and leg.

When I first arrived at Surrey Detachment in 1989 Constable Lepine’s name was on the memorial to fallen members in front of the old Cloverdale Detachment. He was remembered as the first member of the detachment to die “In The Line of Duty”. The memorial was later moved to the new detachment. The Surrey Main Detachment has a “Wall of Honour” which names the five members of the detachment to die “In The Line of Duty”. Constable Lepine’s name is on the wall of honour.

Photograph of the RCMP Surrey Detachment’s Wall of Honour which contains all the members killed while at Surrey.

While trying research the background of the old Pattullo Bridge Detachment it quickly became apparent that many of those who provided their memories of the detachment remembered Constable Lepine as a member of the Pattullo Bridge Detachment.   In Robert Knuckle’s book “In The Line of Duty”, page 307, notes that Constable Lepine; After his police schooling at Depot Division, he was sent to his one and only posting at the Pattullo Bridge Detachment, just outside Vancouver, British Columbia“.

From the records of the British Columbian Newspaper “Whalley (Staff) – An RCMP constable was seriously injured when his motorcycle collided with a truck here early Sunday. In critical condition in Royal Columbian Hospital is Archie Lepine 23. Lepine was recently assigned to the Pattulo Bridge Detachment. Police said a truck turned left in front of Lepine’s south bound motorcycle on the Trans-Canada Highway, just south of Pattulo Bridge.

 Lepine was thrown over the handlebars when his motorcycle smashed into the truck’s right front door, police said. The accident occurred at 12:15 a.m. Lepine’ skull and arms were fractured. He also suffered internal injuries, police said. Police said neither Lepine nor the driver of the truck, Lawrence McInnes, of 1829 Parker, were to blame for the mishap.

Also from the British Columbian newspaper: “NEW WESTMINSTER – A coroner’s jury recommended Monday that a cement divider be constructed on the Peterson Hill section of Trans Canada Highway.The jury made the recommendation as a rider to a verdict of accidental death at the inquest on RCMP Constable Archie Lepine (Reg. #21512), 24, of the Pattullo Bridge Detachment.Lepine died in Royal Columbian Hospital five days after his motorcycle ran broadside into a sedan delivery truck making a left turn on to Ravine Road, off Trans-Canada Highway about 12.20 a.m. July 15. He suffered a fractured skull, brain damage and a collapsed lung.

The accident occurred on a dark night about halfway up Peterson Hill, while Const. Lepine was en route to the Whalley detachment office, little more than a mile away.

In its verdict, the jury said no blame could be attached to anyone.

The jury said in the rider that it felt similar accidents on Peterson Hill could be avoided if the cement divider now ending at Sandell Road was extended up the hill to Ferguson Road traffic light in Whalley.

The jury also urged more publicity be given the law against crossing over a double white line on a highway, and also suggested that police use automobiles instead of motorcycles at night.”

Whether Constable Lepine was a member of the Pattullo Bridge or Surrey Detachment makes no difference.   He did die “In the Line of Duty” while working on the highways within the then District of Surrey. Perhaps, as some remember in 1962 Pattullo Bridge Detachment was nearing the end of its days of operation and it fell under the span of control of Surrey (Cloverdale) Detachment, If he was actually a member of the Pattullo Bridge Detachment in an ironic twist the detachment itself was Struck Off Strength shortly after Archie Lepine’s death. So there would be no place in the area where he died to honour his memory other than the written history and the RCMP Memorial at “Depot” a long way from where he died.   So it is appropriate that he is remembered on Surrey Detachment’s Wall of Honour and memorial.

IMAGE HERE

Sadly, I could find no photographs of the Pattullo Bridge Detachment. It existed long before the days of cell phones and digital cameras…..and perhaps it was not all that photogenic! As one old timer told me perhaps the members were too busy taking the Pattullo Bridge Detachment jeep down onto the river flats and doing some extra-curricular driver training and did not want any photographic evidence of their time away from policing the bridge.

Thanks to Sergeant Jonn Uzelac of Surrey Detachment for jump starting me on this story.   I will now wait for those still around who have personal knowledge of Pattullo Bridge Detachment to point out where I have erred.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you have old Force related photographs which we can include in a forthcoming webpage article, please email Ric Hall at rshall69@shaw.ca

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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