Wednesday, 18 December 2013


One of our most valuable sources for information regarding Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan, his second wife Evelyn Hambly, and their time in Calgary during the decades of the 1940s and 1950s comes from retired Albertan lawyer and author Jack Pecover, who grew up as a neighbour to the couple. In his most recent letter to us sharing his reminiscences, Jack was his usual imitable self as he summarized the MacLauchlans’ relations with the neighbourhood children (of which he was one at the time):

Give Evelyn this for starters: she was unfailingly kind and forgiving to a horde of kids thundering roughshod over her domicile and grounds in which she took more than ordinary pride; in terms of beauty she may not have been Ingrid Bergman (no one, not even Ingrid Bergman herself, could possibly have been that beautiful) but she was svelte, open, (again) kind, and, as you and her contemporary press have made amply clear, she was a skilled actress, nor were Calgary’s Grand Theatre, (see Don’s Calgary’s Grand Story), San Francisco and so on necessarily the boonies in those years. I can think she might have done well on Broadway or London’s West End had the fates conspired to waft her to either, and perhaps had not the ill-fated intercession of her second husband intervened. They ain’t all that many of us can claim a comparable CV.

In the first sentence of the quote, Mr Pecover is subtly responding to a criticism of Evelyn Hambly by another of our correspondents, Mrs Jean Hunter, who has described Evelyn to us as, among other less than admirable terms, “porcine”. As it happens, Mrs Hunter and Mr Pecover are siblings – which may or may not play a role in their differing opinions of said Ms Hambly. So that our loyal readers can draw their own conclusions concerning the physical attractiveness of this 1920’s stage actress we invite them to view two photos discovered in remote corners of the world-wide web. One was taken when Evelyn was in her 20s, the other when she was in her late 30s.  The black and white photograph is from Calgary’s Glenbow Archives and was taken when she was the director of the Calgary Light Opera Society in 1935. The sepia-toned one is from the collection of the University of Washington and was taken in 1925, 10 years earlier. (The “Don” referred to is Emeritus Professor Don Smith of the University of Calgary, who has also been helpful in our researches.)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


As was mentioned in this blog a few postings ago (November 18, 2013), now deceased journalist Dennis Bell told his uncle, retired Albertan defence lawyer and author Jack Pecover, that off-the- record police sources had told him (Bell) that Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan had been the Number 2 man in the West Coast drug trade. MacLauchlan, faithful readers will remember, was murdered along with his wife, Margaret Anne “Nan” Cunningham MacLauchlan, on March 21, 1966 shortly before both were due to go on trial for trafficking in narcotics (heroin). When he was arrested in late December 1965, MacLauchlan had been in possession of about $200,000 worth of heroin. Police were of the opinion that MacLauchlan had been silenced three months later to prevent him from revealing the names of “Mr. Big” in whichever organization he was part of.

Speaking very generally, during the mid- to late 1960s and early 1970s, there were two major Vancouver-based criminal organizations – one headed by William Faulder “Fats” Robertson and the other by the Palmer Brothers. The Robertson Gang, it can be determined from newspaper accounts, consisted over the years of about two dozen individuals. Through a few of these individuals, the Robertson Gang was linked to the Montreal Mafia, centred around Jean-Louis Bisson and Robert Tremblay, who were in turn linked to the New York Mafia. The Palmer Brothers had about a dozen associates, a small number of which were similarly linked to the Montreal Mafia.

Saturday, 7 December 2013


In our last blog posting, in our search for clues as to why convicted abortionist Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan (charged with drug trafficking in 1965 and murdered in 1966) was receiving his mail at 660 Howe Street in Vancouver, we listed four law firms (Pandia & Faminow, Thomas & Williams, WE Marshall, Harry Pedrini,) that on occasion had offices at 660 Howe Street in Vancouver between 1955 and 1964. We also listed Bennett and White, a Calgary-based construction firm, the CBC and the provincial department of education as tenants who occupied offices in the building continuously during the aforementioned period.

There were 25 other businesses in the building who occupied offices for periods ranging from one to five years. Two of them – Alpha Steel Company and Paramet Real Estate Investment Corporation – appear to have been subsidiaries of, or linked to, Bennett and White.

Five companies -- Porr Piling Gen. Construction, Wytane (Canada) Oil Products, Netupsky Engineering, Cement Enamel Wall Covering Specialists, CJ Oliver gen. Contractors – were linked to the construction and building industry. It appears that, of the companies listed in this category, only Netupsky remains in business.

Three companies or organizations – Pacific  Show Production, Assoc of Can. TV & Radio artists, Tower School of Radio & TV broadcasting – were show-business oriented, with the first and second still in operation.

Two collection agencies -- Aabel Agencies and Coast Credit Collections – were located at 660 Howe Street, neither of which appears to be operating at present.

Three companies were in the financial services industry – S Kartar (accountant), E J Lindow (accountant), and Continental Mortgage Exchange. A company of the last name was involved in a court case in 1986 in New Mexico, in which it was charged with selling fraudulent mortgages. More information is being sought on this particular bit financial history to see if the New Mexico company had any connection to its 1961-62 Vancouver namesake.

One of the most interesting people operating out of 660 Howe Street was realtor Phil Matty who in 1968 bought 32 acre Passage Island, located between West Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park and Bowen Island. More information is being sought on this long-ago real estate deal too.

Finally, there were four other individuals or firms located at 660 Howe Street -- Federated Ins. Companies, R MacLean, RP Godfrey & company, and Trans Pacific Leasing Service.

The point of all this somewhat detailed information is that someone was receiving Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan’s mail for him at 660 Howe Street, and we are hoping that someone (or some relative, descendant or former associate of one or more of these companies) might have come knowledge of this situation and will contact us through this website.

Monday, 2 December 2013


In our unceasing search for more background to the March 22, 1966 murder of Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan and his third wife Nan in New Westminster, BC, we have uncovered a rather curious bit of information. From 1955 (following his release from Lethbridge Provincial Jail in Alberta after serving a year for conspiring to procure abortions) to 1965 (when, shortly before Christmas, he and Nan were charged with drug trafficking) MacLauchlan received his mail not at 912 Fifth Street in New Westminster where they lived but at 660 Howe Street, near the heart of downtown Vancouver. This address was just around the corner from the Vancouver Court House. One wonders why MacLauchlan was receiving his mail at an address so remote from where he actually resided.
Investigation reveals that 660 Howe Street was a major office building containing, over the years, several lawyers, advertising agents and talent scouts, all which stayed four years or less. The following law firms had offices in the building between 1955 and 1964: Pandia & Faminow, Thomas & Williams,WE Marshal, and Harry Pedrini.
Pandia and Faminow were D Paul Pandia and Peter Faminow. Peter Faminow served as a councillor and alderman for the District of North Vancouver between 1960 and 1974 and ran once for Reeve. He also ran once as a New Democrat in the Federal election of 1963. Harry Pedrini was politically active in the provincial Liberal party and ran in East Vancouver against the NDP’s Alex MacDonald in the 1966 BC election.
Of note is an article in a late 1950s issue of the Vancouver Sun relating that Pedrini had appeared before Vancouver City Council on behalf of a Vancouver social club. The Vancouver City Police recommended against giving a license to the group on the grounds that it was really just a front for organized gambling. The police said that two of the club’s six directors had criminal records.
The only commercial company which was continuously at 660 Howe Street was Bennett and White, an Alberta Construction company of some stature during the decades of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Bennett and White were headquartered in Calgary, hometown of Dr MacLauchlan for over two decades. This leads to the remote possibility that MacLauchlan may have been getting his mail via Bennett and White, and that he had known someone in their Vancouver office from a previous Calgary acquaintanceship.
The only other organizations which had steady occupancy at the address were the CBC and the Provincial Department of Education’s Broadcast Office. It hardly seems likely that either of these two entities would be amenable to receiving the postal deliveries of a convicted felon. We of course would like to find out who at 660 Howe Street was holding Dr Robert Henry MacLauchlan’s mail for him. Feel free to offer any ideas or suggestions to us via our contact information on the Home Page of this web site.