Friday 29 November 2013


In 1927 Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan married for the second time. His new wife, Evelyn Hambly (Jan 27, 1897 – Jan 14, 1964), was a 30-year old actress who did most of her professional work during the first two decades of the 20th Century in California, the Pacific Northwest and, for four years between 1922 and 1926, in Calgary, Alberta. After that she seems to have mostly left the craft and faded from sight -- although, to a limited degree, after marrying MacLauchlan, she did some producing and directing in Calgary for amateur productions.

Evelyn Dee Hambly was born in San Diego, California. She seems to have been a bit of a prodigy, appearing on stage when she was four years old. Her single film role was in the silent flick “The Shark God,” released in May 1913. This was a story of pre-missionary Hawaii, woven around the ancient superstition of the Hawaiians concerning the shark god and its power over the lives of the people, and the love affair of a chief's daughter. It was released on May 5, 1913.

In May 1917, she married fellow actor Robert E. Lawrence in California; he was four months younger than her, having been born May 19, 1897 in Missouri. Both bride and groom were 20 years old. Their son, Robert, was born November 20, 1918.

The most documented part of Evelyn Hambly’s theatrical career, if not her life, relates to her stage career in Calgary, Alberta between 1922 and 1925. During the latter year, she left Calgary and went to Seattle to stay with her sister Mabel, who was also involved in theatre and was married to a rather well-known set designer named Alwin Theall. Born in St Johns, New Brunswick, Canada on Oct. 7, 1876, Alwin Theall came to northern California with his parents in 1880. By the turn of the century he was working as an artist in San Jose. He later worked as a scenic artist at the Liberty Theater in San Francisco. He died there on June 10, 1939. 

As the world entered a new decade, Hambly was hitting the big time boards – in Vancouver. She had quite a serious role in a Vancouver stage production by the Empress Theatre Company of Eugene Walter’s The Knife, a play about a female doctor, a relative novelty at the time. The June 24, 1920 Vancouver Sun praised Hambly’s performance as follows:

Miss Evelyn Hambly, who has come to be regarded as one of the most accomplished members of the [Empress Stock Company] gives the character an interpretation which is thoroughly satisfying. She visualizes the woman medico as a smart tailor made, efficient business woman, self confident and alert. The part is an important one, because from her lips comes the speech which throws the fine light on the conduct of the hero which clears him from an easily misunderstood situation.

While in Calgary, Hambly lived at a fairly exclusive address – The Devenish Apartments.

By 1926, Hambly’s stage career was pretty well over and in that year she moved to Seattle to be with her sister Mabel. As mentioned above, her marriage to Dr MacLauchlan followed shortly after. The papers in Calgary, during the height of her stage career in that city, had described her in glowing terms – praising her vivaciousness and sprightly personality. However, the bloom went off her rose and by 20 years later, her neighbours, the Pecover sisters, saw her in a different, rather unattractive light:

Evelyn MacLauchlan had henna hair, bad teeth and jowly cheeks. You would know by her look that she was a retired show girl.

Monday 18 November 2013


As has been mentioned before in this blog, retired Albertan author Jack Pecover and his sisters Jean Hunter and Helen O’Connor, in their youth, were neighbours of Dr Robert Henry and Evelyn Hambly MacLauchlan, when the couple lived in Calgary in the 1940s and 1950s. These now elderly (but still vigorous!) siblings have another connection which has been of great help to us. Jean Hunter’s son, the late (June 2012) Dennis Bell, was a well-known and very respected journalist with The Sun, The Province, the Globe & Mail and the Canadian Press over the years. By his retirement in the last decade or so, he was News Director at BCTV 
According to both his uncle and his mother, at the time of the MacLauchlan Murders Dennis was still a print reporter and as such apparently had the ear of the cops. One of the police told Dennis Bell then that during their investigation they had learned that “[Doc MacLauchlan] was No. 2 in the West Coast drug network”.
We at this blog of course would like to hear from any other retired news reporters who may have similar information on the murdered doctor, Robert Henry MacLauchlan. Please contact us through this website.

Friday 15 November 2013


Retired high calibre Albertan defense lawyer and author Jack Pecover, who in his teenage years lived next door to Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan during the late 1940s and early 1950s, recalled how every year (once post-war automobile manufacture had resumed), MacLauchlan acquired a new Cadillac. The average new Cadillac retailed in Canada in 1950 for about $3500. A midrange Cadillac today will run about $60,000. In the Calgary of 1950, there appears to be only one Cadillac dealer, Calgary Motor Products Ltd, located at Fourth Ave and Second Street West, the president of which was S J Parkinson. It seems likely that the doctor would have bought his cars in Calgary and very likely from this dealer. To that end, we invite any former Calgary Motor Products employees or descendants of former employers to contact us at this website concerning well known – but infamous – customers – such as Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan. We believe in outreach – even after 60 years, because you never know. Someone might remember something valuable!

Friday 8 November 2013


Robert John “Bunny” MacLauchlan was the natural son of Dr. Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his first wife, Mamie Hoy. Often, the acorn does fall far from the tree: Bunny (as opposed to his father), was generally described as a fine man by all who knew him. He was born September 20, 1919 and saw service with the Royal Canadian Navy in WWII. Upon returning from his military service, he lived in Calgary until his death. In the early 1950s, he lived with his family at #1-1512 Twenty Second Ave., SW and worked as an electrician.

He married Verna Rita Pohl in 1945 and they had three offspring, some of which are surnamed Downey. Some of his children or his descendants may currently live in Calgary. Because we would like to know if “Bunny” passed on any stories of his father, the doctor (who was later killed in a drug-related murder in New Westminster in 1966), we are asking any descendants of “Bunny” MacLauchlan to contact us at our website address.

Tuesday 5 November 2013


The MacLauchlan Murders case drew in a number of other people either through happenstance or proximity. In the latter class were neighbours of Dr Robert Henry and Margaret Anne “Nan” MacLauchlan, which included three police officers -- Deputy Chief Peter Meehan, Detective Doug Mercier and Constable Jack Usher. Commenting on the case a few days after the crime, Meehan stated:

“It is a matter of speculation, but we cannot help but relate these deaths to the circumstances of their original arrest [for narcotics trafficking on December 22, 1965].”

The speculation he was referring to was that MacLauchlan and Nan had asked their superiors in the drug ring for help in order to jump bail and avoid their scheduled County Court trial scheduled for May 25, 1966. Meehan felt that the reply to the request had been death. The implication was that the top echelon of Vancouver’s drug world was afraid that the two, once on the stand, would each sing like the proverbial canary.

Among the former class are curious bit players. In this group can certainly be included Jim Nebone, the 21 yr old Royal City Taxi driver who delivered a dozen red carnations to the front door of the MacLauchlans from florist E.H. Stride of 732 12th Street. By the time the delivery was made, the couple had been dead for some hours. It was said at the time that a dozen red carnations was a Mafia calling card.

Without attributing any unsavory associations to Mr Nebone, it has never been clear how those flowers were paid for and by whom. Many years later this same James Nebone operated an illegal zoo in Surrey, which was shut down by the GVRD and the SPCA. We are eager to contact Mr. Nebone who seems to have dropped right out of sight, having no listings anywhere that we could find.

We know that the zoo case happened a long time ago (1989) but we are wondering (and hoping) if any of our readers have any idea at all as to Mr. Nebone's present whereabouts. Information gained from a Vancouver Sun reporter who covered the zoo story in the late 1980s and early 1990s indicates that Mr. Nebone was rather sickly at the time. We are wondering if he died but cannot find any trace of an obituary.
Please contact us via this website if you have even the foggiest idea of where Mr. Nebone has disappeared to.