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RCMP Report Regarding Explosion On C.P.R. Train At Farron BC

Royal Canadian Mounted Police



"E" Division
H.Q. Ref. Nil. P.R. 29-10-24
West Kootenay Sub-District
Grand Forks, B.C., Nov. 1st, 1924

Acting on instructions received from the Officer Commanding West Kootenay Sub-District, I left Penticton, B.C. by Police Auto, at 2 pm. of the 29th instant, proceeding to Oroville, Wash., U.S.A., and on the morning of the 30th instant I proceeded by G.N.Ry. to Grand Forks, B.C., arriving there at 11 p.m., and commenced investigating the above case.

In company with Staff Sergeant Fraser, of the B.C. Provincial Police, I went to the Grand Forks Hospital and questioned the following persons who had been injured and were patients in the Hospital: Frank Russo, Mrs. Frank Russo, Joe Ching (Chinese) and Patrick O'Shaughnessy - these people were unable to give any information as they were all asleep long before the explosion occurred. Mrs. Russo had an alarm clock in her luggage, but this was not the clock that was found at the wreck. The clock found at the wreck was of Italian make, agents for same being in New York City.

The Inquest had been started the night before I arrived at Grand Forks and was adjourned until Saturday November 1st, 1924, at 10 a.m.

I proceeded by train to Nelson. B.C.. on the evening of October 30th.

On the morning of October 31st, accompanied by Provincial Constable Johnston, Trail. B.C. I went to the Kootenay General Hospital and interviewed the seven injured persons who were in that Hospital, that were victims of this explosion: Nick Reiben, George Kasakoff, George Zebroff, George Markin (All Doukhobors), Bud Singh, Nondi Singh (Hindoos) and F.H. Gaskell - these seven persons were unable to give us any material evidence as to what caused the explosion as they were all asleep at the time the explosion occurred. In all there were 23 people in this coach at the time of the explosion - eleven being injured and in the Hospitals at Grand Forks and Nelson - Nine being dead, the names of the dead are as follows: - John McKie, M.L.A., Peter Veregin, Neil Murray, Mary Sheloff, Peter Campbell, Nehal Singh, N.K. Fawcett, Harry Bishop and W.J. Armstrong.

The copy of the evidence taken at the first sitting of the Coroner's Jury, is attached hereto, together with evidence taken down by Sergt. Birch at the conclusion of the Inquest on Saturday Nov. 1st. At the time of the writing of this report the Provincial Police are looking for a suspect named Ran Kemenshikloff, a fanatic Doukhobor who has lived near Grand Forks, and was in Farron the night of the explosion, this man is supposed to have made a statement to two Doukhobors a few days before the disaster to the effect "wait and see what happens to Peter Veregin in a few days".

I returned to Grand Forks on Saturday morning in order to be present at the Coroner's Inquest. A Coroner's Jury was impanelled at Nelson on the 30th October and adjourned until Monday the 3rd November - the evidence will be a repetition of that taken at the Coroner's Inquest at Grand Forks.



While in Grand Forks, on the 30th October, I learned that a Russian, by the name of DAN GRENOR, about 50 years old, had been around Grand Forks District repairing clocks and claiming to be an expert on clocks, he also carried paper, and carbon paper, for writing letters on a typewriter, which he did whenever he could borrow the use of a machine, and he wrote several papers at a time. I have made careful inquiries for this man and have finally heard that he is staying with some Doukhobor near Castlegar, B.C., which is about 2 miles from Brilliant, the head place of the Doukhobor Colony. Sergt. Birch and myself have an opportunity to leave here by special train which is going to Brilliant, B.C., on Sunday morning Nov. 2nd, this train will arrive at Brilliant in time for the funeral of Peter Veregin, which is to be held at 12.30 p.m., while there I intend to search the effects of DAN GRENOR to see if I can get any information as to who he is writing these long letters to.

If it was an infernal machine that caused this explosion there is a possibility that this man might have had a hand in making it - I might mention that he is supposed to be friendly with the suspect Ran Kemenshikloff.

At the conclusion of the Coroner's Inquest at Grand Forks, B.C., instructions were telephoned to the Provincial Police at Nelson, B.C.. to arrest Ran Kemenshikloff.

A check up will be made in this District in an effort to ascertain who has purchased explosives. A further report will be made in this case as soon as sufficient information has been secured on the material points brought to light in my investigations.

(Signed) G.O. Reid. D/S/Sergt. Reg. No. 6556.

Source: University of Victoria Archives, KCIR Files (AR 051), Box 1; Folder 1.14, G.O. Reid, RCMP Report Regarding Explosion On C.P.R. Train At Farron, BC., November 1, 1924.

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