Archives New West
Wednesday, 4 April 2018
A MARKETING BREAKTHROUGH
Another breakthrough today in the marketing effort that Ken McIntosh and I are making in support of our recently-published book "NO DOG BARKED: Who Killed the MacLauchlans?". A professor in the Simon Fraser University Department of Criminology was very impressed by our book and our research, and told me he will be encouraging use of both by some of his students. He also bought a Library Edition copy. (Thus far we have sold about 60 copies!)
Thursday, 29 March 2018
BC Book Look review -- "Crime and no punishments in New West..."
Ken McIntosh and I received a quite favorable review today in Alan Twigg's BC Book Look. In describing "NO DOG BARKED: Who Killed the MacLauchlans", the "Sky Box" come-on sentence beside the masthead was nicely catchy and a bit ironic: "Crime and no punishments in New West. After six years of research into Metro Vancouver’s drug underworld of the 1960s, the unsolved murders of an abortionist and his wife have been extensively re-examined with a non-fiction inquiry."
Ken and I like the sound of "extensively re-examined" for sure!
In the main page of the story, reviewer Beverly Cramp described our book as "(containing) characters [who] are reminiscent of a film noir thriller from 1940s Hollywood. Dr. Robert Henry MacLauchlan made a lot of money smuggling heroin and performing abortions. The good doctor ‘gone bad’ was about to be put on trial for smuggling heroin when he was murdered gangland style in New Westminster – shot in the head and the abdomen." Ms Cramp did seem to think the book was a bit long at 395 pages.
Remember, readers, YOU can get your very own review copy of either edition by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
PRICES: Library Edition (495 pages) $30. Basic Edition (398 pages) $25.
Sunday, 25 March 2018
"NO DOG BARKED: Who Killed the MacLauchlans?" the new book on the MacLauchlan Murders by Ken McIntosh and me, has been available for about two weeks now. Sales have been brisk! Between us, Ken and I have sold nearly 50 books! Once again, we thank New Westminster Public Library for buying one for their collection. We also have orders from Burnaby Public Library and interest from Vancouver Public Library.
This book comes in two versions – a Basic Edition (397 pages) and a Library Edition (495 pages). The former tells the basic story of the MacLauchlans’ demise and comes with footnotes, photographs and charts. The Library Edition has the same information as the Basic Edition but also has a 100 page “Succinct Directory to Certain Crimes, Criminals & Interested Observers with an emphasis on Vancouver & the Province of British Columbia during the decades of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s & early 1980’s.” The Basic Edition sells for $25 per copy and the Library Edition for $30.
For more information on this book (which comes in two versions) and how to get it for your own crime collection contact us via email@example.com
Friday, 16 March 2018
NO DOG BARKED: Who killed the MacLauchlans? is now available for purchase!
YES, our story of a long unsolved March 1966 double murder in New Westminster, British Columbia, NO DOG BARKED: Who Killed the MacLauchlans? is now ready for sale.
To recap: this book, by Ken McIntosh and me (Rod Drown), is about the reputedly Mafia-inspired murder of thrice-married abortionist and heroin smuggler Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his wife, Woodlands School teacher Margaret Ann “Nan” MacLauchlan.
The former “Nan” Herring, Margaret Ann MacLauchlan was a daughter of one of New Westminster’s most prestigious pioneering families.
Graduating in 1919 as a prize winner from Montreal’s McGill Medical School was probably the best thing Robert Henry MacLauchlan ever did. The greatest tragedy he ever inflicted was when, late in the 1950’s, he seduced and misled Margaret Ann “Nan” Cunningham, a quiet and modest teacher from New Westminster’s Woodlands School for the Handicapped. She died alongside him when MacLauchlan was murdered in cold blood
Following his initial academic triumph at McGill, MacLauchlan’s life had taken a much less heroic path involving drug addiction, illegal abortions and heroin smuggling. Along the way he charmed and philandered his way through 1920’s San Francisco, 1930’s Shanghai (the "Paris of the Orient") and the exotic settlements of the French overseas community. After his first wife Montrealer Mamie Hoy died, the doctor hooked up with a prominent Calgary stage actress, Evelyn Hambly. She dumped him when he was arrested in Calgary for performing abortions in the late 1950’s.
After serving jail time in Alberta, MacLauchlan showed up in New Westminster, where Margaret Ann first passed him off as her “uncle”. Meanwhile the RCMP had had him tabbed for several years as a heroin smuggler operating between Hong Kong and Vancouver.
Thus shock rippled through placid New Westminster twice – first, when a few days before Christmas 1965, the doc tor and “Nan” were arrested for heroin smuggling and again when, on March 21, 1966 in the couple’s small 5th Street bungalow, MacLauchlan was executed Mafia style – a shot in the face just to the side of the nostril and another in the stomach. Nan, who he had recently married, met the same fate. Newspapers called it a Mafia hit, speculating the underworld had silenced him just in time for his upcoming trial, a suggestion undisputed by the police. Dead men tell no tales.
Ken and I have spent six years thoroughly probing the murders and the drug trafficking underworld of Vancouver during the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. We have tried to answer certain important questions: just how high up in the international drug trade was MacLauchlan, with his award for a “million miles of flying” from United Airlines? Was “Nan” something more than a modest schoolteacher? (After all, her former husband was rumoured to have had her tailed by a private investigator). Who were the likely suspects in their murders?
Reading this book, you will get to meet 1960’s and 70’s Vancouver underworld luminaries like Joe Gentile, Fats Robertson and the Palmer Gang. You will become somewhat familiar with local hit men like Mickey Smith and Murray Allan Boyd. You will shake your head over basic tough guy Andy Bruce.
You will become acquainted with MacLauchlan’s little crew: fallen Sechelt socialite Thelma Mosier, lifetime loser Joe Sperling and the others who existed on the fringe of the Lower Mainland Underworld. You will hear of tough 1960’s prosecutors William Heffernan and Oscar Orr. Police Officers like RCMP Drug Squad Sgt Steve Bunyk will cross your path
Our book comes in two versions – a Basic Edition and a Library Edition. The former tells the basic story of the MacLauchlans’ demise and comes with footnotes, photographs and charts. The Library Edition has the same information as the Basic Edition but also has a 100 page “Succinct Directory to Certain Crimes, Criminals & Interested Observers with an emphasis on Vancouver & the Province of British Columbia during the decades of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s & early 1980’s.” The Basic Edition sells for $25 per copy and the Library Edition for $30.
If you are interested in buying a copy of either edition, please contact the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Monday, 21 March 2016
Fifty Years ago this evening, the MacLauchlans were living their last hours
Fifty years ago late this evening, Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his third wife Margaret Ann (the former Margaret Ann Cunningham and before that the former Margaret Ann Herring) were murdered in their modest New Westminster bungalow at 912 Fifth Street. The execution was carried out in what newspapers of the day described as an execution Mafia style – a bullet in the face for each of them, followed similarly by one in the abdomen.
The murders followed their arrest on the previous December 22nd after investigation by a drug squad composed of members of the New Westminster, Vancouver and Royal Canadian Mounted Police forces during which heroin worth $200,000 was discovered in their possession. At the time, this was enough to buy about twenty houses in New Westminster. Their arrest was a cause celebre in New Westminster, given that previously MacLauchlan had been regarded as a harmless retired Albertan doctor and Margaret Ann as a modest, quiet and extremely capable teacher at Woodlands School for the Handicapped.
The MacLauchlans’ murder came but a few days before their trial was to start. Ken McIntosh and I have spent a few years researching these murders, for which no one was ever arrested or charged. We now have a pretty good idea who ordered the hit and have a fistful of possible suspects for the shooter. We are aiming to publish the results of our research by the end of the summer. Watch this space for further information.
Friday, 25 September 2015
Thelma Mosier: From Sechelt Society to Live-in Housekeeper for Vancouver gangland figures?
Thelma Mosier’s granddaughter Contacts Us
As Ken McIntosh and I have noted on more than one occasion, we have sometimes received unexpected information about the March 1966 MacLauchlan Murders in New Westminster, and about the victims and their associates. Such an incident happened a few weeks ago when Sheena Tucker from Newfoundland contacted us. She introduced herself as the granddaughter of Thelma Mosier, one of the four members of the MacLauchlan Gang busted for narcotics trafficking four months earlier.
Frequent readers of this blog will remember Thelma as one of the women arrested on December 22, 1965 when Dr MacLauchlan was charged with trafficking, along with Margaret Ann Cunningham and Gerry Sperling, in the late afternoon of that day.
Sheena Tucker is the daughter of Daniel Mosier, the son from Thelma Mosier’s marriage to Ben Profit, a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot lost in a bombing mission over Europe in June 1944. She introduced herself as follows:
“My dear father Daniel [passed away] from lung and liver cancer September 22, 2004. My mother, Caroline Profit, is still living close to me here in Newfoundland. She is 73 years old.”
“My father… was Benjamin James Profit’s son with Thelma, and Brad (his brother, Richard Bradley Mosier) was Richard Mosier and Thelma's son.”
(This latter reference to Brad Mosier, who died in May 2014 in Surrey, British Columbia, clears up a misconception of Ken’s and mine: we had assumed that Richard Mosier had been married before his liaison with Thelma and that Brad had been the son from that putative earlier marriage.)
Sheena has lived up to her promise that her mother Caroline “…would have a lot of information regarding Thelma.” One of the things that Mrs. Profit’s information has done is add nuance to our previous understanding of Thelma Mosier as having been, essentially, an innocent lured into a life of crime. Given that Caroline Profit is closer to Thelma’s age than any of our previous informants and knew her when she was married to, and then divorced from, Richard Mosier back in Sechelt, BC, it is likely her information is pretty accurate. In Sheena’s words:
“Richard Mosier- Mom only remembers him as a logger. He and Thelma were divorced before my mom met my father (i.e. previous to 1963). Thelma used to always try getting money out him for Bradley. She tried to make his life miserable.”
Leaves her husband for the owner of a shingle mill
According to Sheena and Caroline, after Thelma left Richard Mosier, she became involved with a Sechelt area guy she believed had more money than her former husband. This fellow owned a shake mill but came to a bad end – either committing suicide or getting shot (Caroline is not sure which). Thelma then moved to Burnaby to stay a short while with Frances Parnell, the second wife of Burnaby resident John Albert “Andy” Anderson, the first husband of Rachel Anderson, who had left Anderson and gone cooking in logging camps in Sechelt. It was in this BC coastal community where Rachel had met Bill Kolterman, an ambitious and hardworking logger -- and the father of Thelma.
Subsequently, Thelma, after the death of her RCAF pilot husband, met and married Richard Mosier.
Richard and Thelma Mosier first appear together in the public record in 1953, in the federal voting list for that year, when they are living on Fell Avenue in Burnaby and, again in 1957, in the federal voting list, when they are living in Half Moon Bay, near Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. In the 1953 list Richard Mosier is listed as a truck driver and, in the 1957 one, as a logger.
It had appeared to Ken and me that the couple had separated at some point after 1957 because, by the time of the 1965 voters list, only Thelma Mosier appears. Sheena Tucker’s information confirms our impression.
Sheena Tucker recalls that her parents lived in Merritt in 1965. Her mother remembers that Thelma (by this time separated from Mosier) and Richard’s son Bradley came to visit in 1965 and that Thelma had a car.
Cooking at White Spot
By this time, Thelma had found employment cooking at a White Spot, according to Sheena. At this time, there were two White Spots in Burnaby on Kingsway: one at the Eldorado Hotel in the Dining room at 2330 Kingsway at Victoria Drive and another at 2201 Kingsway. There was also a White Spot in New Westminster at 6th Avenue and 12th Street. Ken and I wonder which one of the three she worked at.
Before 1965, Daniel and Caroline Profit went to Vancouver to visit Thelma who was a “live-in” housekeeper for a man and woman who she had met before moving away from Sechelt. Caroline’s recollections:
“[On one occasion] Thelma was shocked that my parents came to this house unexpectedly to visit [but] they never stayed long as they were made to feel very uncomfortable. This man and woman had high priced prostitutes walking around their beautiful home.”
According to Caroline Profit, all her mother-in-law Thelma cared about was money. After that Thelma was living in a house in North Burnaby where Sheena’s parents and her brother also visited her. Sheena:
“She asked my father to take her to the drugstore where she never bought anything but used the phone to call someone. Mom thinks she was calling to tell someone not to come over because my parents were there. Mom thinks this is when the heroin started -- in 1965.”
“I’m in jail!”
The Profits were living by then in Quesnel, BC and early in 1966 they received a letter from Thelma saying she was in jail in Burnaby but without giving any explanation. The Profits found out via some relatives of Thelma’s by marriage that the police had taken an axe to Thelma's door and arrested her. Thelma wrote letters to the Profits but never discussed the heroin.
Upon being released from prison, Thelma lived for a time with the Sheena’s parents, the Profits, who by this time had moved to Burnaby. An anecdote from Sheena about her mother’s recollections:
Thelma got out of jail and asked my parents to pick her up at the airport and asked to live with us. She didn't live with us for very long. A couple days after Thelma was with us she told mom she was going for a walk. Mom was watching her from the window and saw Thelma talking to a man. The next day this man contacted my father, asking him if he wanted to start making some money and get involved with him [pushing] drugs. This is the same man Thelma had worked for housekeeping. Dad said no and mom and dad never seen him again. Thelma never spoke of why she had been in jail with my parents.
Eventually, after living with her step-sister Rachel Roberts in Harrison Hot Springs for a time, Thelma was hired to work at Seventh Step Society. Ken and I have previously reported on this blog that this facility for recently released prisoners was located in New Westminster. This is true but a recent informant, who knew Thelma back in the day, said he met her when the facility was earlier located in Port Moody. He was a recently-released convict at the time that, over the past three decades, has gone straight.
Suicide Attempts: Shame to the very end?
Sheena’s mother’s recollections indicate that Thelma never really did get over her crime and it seemed to affect her for the rest of her life:
“Thelma was starting to take medications from the guys at 7 steps society trying to end her life. Mom remembers of two times receiving calls from the hospital where she had tried to overdose. Thelma would come to our house stoned on drugs in front of us kids which upset my parents. This is when mom and dad started to give up contact with Thelma. She was always trying to manipulate my parents.”
Ken and I would like to know the following: 1. Brad Mosier, who died in May 2014, was reported to have been married to an Asian lady. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this lady, we would like to hear from them. 2. (And this is a much more remote possibility): It is reported that Thelma had met the people she was a “live-in” housekeeper for when they holidayed in Sechelt. These people sound as if they might have been in the upper echelons of the Vancouver’s crime world in the late 1950s, given the nice house and the prostitutes working out of it. Anyone with information on either of these two questions may contact us through this website.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
DR ROBERT HENRY MACLAUCHLAN’S NEPHEW, MICHAEL, BRIEFLY LIVED IN QUEENSBORO, NEW WESTMINSTER DURING THE EARLY 1980s
I’ve used this quote, from the movie Dr Zhivago before but I’ll use it again now. Spoken by Zhivago’s half-brother, a policeman of the early Russian revolutionary regime, it goes as follows:
“If you want to know about a man, getting to his brother is half the battle won,” or words to that effect are spoken by Yevgraf Zhivago.
That this truth perhaps can be applied in the case of different relatives is something my colleague Ken McIntosh and I have learned a few times in our pursuit of the truths of the lives of Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his third wife Margaret Ann (nee Herring). Sometimes it even applies to the results of hearing from step-relatives, as has happened recently to us, in relation to one of Dr MacLauchlan’s siblings.
About a month ago, out of the blue (as the saying goes), we received an email from a man whose mother had once been married to the son of Lieutenant Colonel Donald George MacLauchlan, a former World War II commander of the Calgary Highlanders and the younger (and only) brother of Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan. Although we were well aware that Lieutenant Colonel MacLauchlan had married a member of the minor British aristocracy, Elizabeth Loder Johnson, during the war, we had always wondered if that coupling had resulted in any offspring. Our searches on that score had always been without results.
Then arrived the letter and it was from a man whose stepfather, Michael MacLauchlan, had been the son of the Lieutenant Colonel. According to this informant, whose name we will not reveal at the present time, Michael MacLauchlan had a previous wife who, during the middle 1980s at least, had lived in Victoria and his name was Brett MacLauchlan.
What was very interesting about this man’s (our source) information is that it provided us with some fascinating details about how Michael MacLauchlan’s professional and personal character differed quite substantially from those of his father and those of his father’s siblings. Educationally, at least, the accomplishments of the MacLauchlan siblings were quite impressive for their time. The brothers held high qualifications in medicine and in the military, respectively ; the several sisters were nurses and even nursing supervisors in some cases.
Michael MacLauchlan, on the other hand, seemed a bit of an under-achiever. According to his step-son, Michael was a mostly itinerate truck driver who seemed to have a hard time holding a good job. Among other failings, he appeared unable to provide his new wife and two step-sons with proper furniture or, on some occasions, a properly sympathetic parental ear. As he wrote in an email to us:
“He was impatient with children and he was verbally, and at times, physically abusive with my younger brother and I. He was very frank in telling us that he didn't like children.”
In the early middle 1980s, the small family moved westward, eventually ending up, of all places, in New Westminster – on Salter Street in Queensboro, where our informant attended Queen Elizabeth School for a brief time before moving to East Vancouver.
Of importance to Ken McIntosh and me is our source’s memory of Lieutenant Colonel MacLauchlan. We had always read, in the accounts of his WW II service as a leader of men, that he was somewhat remote and distant to his underlings in the officer and enlisted ranks. Simply put, he seemed to have been somewhat of a martinet. Contrary to these images, our source (his step grandson) remembers him this way:
“Donald was an absolute joy to be around. He was always welcoming; always smiling and joking; and was quite fond of my mother, brother and I. Every time we visited him at his … apartment in Ottawa, he had "Sesame Snaps" that he would share with my brother and I. Donald taught me how to play cribbage and how to properly tie a neck tie, all before I was through grade 4. Donald was one of the most wonderful and likable people I have ever met and I regret not having spent more time with him while he was alive, despite the fact that my mother and Michael split up after (I think) 5 years of marriage.”
What is of immediate interest to Ken and me is the fact that Michael MacLauchlan had a former wife, and a son named Brett, who lived in Victoria during the middle 1980s. We are very interested in hearing from anyone who may have known of a Brett MacLauchlan who, during the early 1980s, would have been between the ages of 10 and 14. His mother, whose name our informant does not recall ever having heard from his stepfather, would have perhaps been in her middle to late 30s. Please feel free to contact us via the information on the home page of this website.
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