The Man Who Got it Right

Cutcliffe Hyne 1903

Topic June / July 2023.  Charles John Cutcliffe Hyne was a big man. He was 6 feet 4″ tall – most unusual for a man born in Victorian times (1865) and he was built accordingly. The name of Cutcliffe Hyne is known by few people nowadays, but had you mentioned the name to Frontiersmen a hundred years ago, you would find that most had read at least one of his many fiction books, particularly the “Captain Kettle” stories. Those who owned a “Frontiersman’s Pocket Book”¹ would recognise him as one of the contributors. Cutcliffe Hyne is listed as one of the original and founder-members of the Legion of Frontiersmen, but what has not been acknowledged is the input he had to the original plans for forming the Legion. Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It All Started Very Well…

Topic April / May 2023.  It all started very well. The Legion of Frontiersmen have always trained with enthusiasm on simple crafts, such as basic first aid, fieldcraft, using radios etc. and been prepared to serve the State in times of need. What they had wished for for since the inception at the beginning of 1905 was some form of official recognition. They had duly served in the First War as 25th Bn. Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen): in the 1930s as trainers in anti-gas warfare: in the Second War in Home Guard, A.R.P., A.F.S., but with the younger Frontiersmen joining the armed forces. Other than in the First War they never achieved any kind of officially recognised named unit. It was almost eighty years after the founding of the Legion, in November 1984, that a letter in an official envelope arrived on the desk of Peter Fitchett who was commanding officer of the U.K. Command of the Legion of Frontiersmen. The letter on official government headed paper came from Air Marshal Sir Leslie Mavor, Coordinator of Voluntary Effort in Civil Defence, based at Easingwold in Yorkshire: Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Supporting the Police (Canada)

Topic February / March 2023.  Back in August 2016 we posted a page Supporting the Authorities about the Legion supporting the legal authorities around the Commonwealth, even at times when the legal authorities’ causes might have been considered by some people as doubtful. We raised at that time a number of stories about Canada. In this topic page we will concentrate on Canada and the Frontiersmen’s support as official auxiliaries to both provincial police forces and to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was with great pride that the Legion accepted official affiliation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1937. Sadly, this affiliation was to last no more than a couple of years due to one of the very public internal squabbles which have plagued the Legion of Frontiersmen throughout its existence. Fortunately, even though the official affiliation was ended, both the R.C.M.P. and provincial police still found it to their advantage to utilise the Frontiersmen as auxiliaries throughout Canada. With such a large country with great distances to be covered, it was to the advantage of official police to use the services of these well-trained, uniformed, and self-supporting disciplined men locally and ignore any internal disputes which continued to fester in the higher echelons of the Legion. We will here cast a searchlight on some of the events in Canada, although we must emphasise that we are just nibbling at the edges of what is a much bigger story needing considerable research in Canada. We hope we will provoke much thought. Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen, World War II | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reconciling the Frontiersmen

HorseGuards parade 1934Topic December 2022 / January 2023. There are always two sides to an argument. Admittedly some times it is difficult to see the other side, which can often have little merit. When the Independent Overseas Command of the Legion of Frontiersmen (later to call themselves Imperial Overseas Legion of Frontiersmen) broke away from the main body of the Legion in 1927 they believed they had a good cause for dissatisfaction with the leadership. The two men running the Legion at that time were the Commandant-General Arthur Burchardt-Ashton and his Chief of Staff Henry C. Edwards-Carter. In fact Burchardt-Ashton was only ever “Acting” Commandant-General. He did not want the job but nobody else could be found who would take the position. Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen, New Zealand, Roger Pocock | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

London’s Lord Mayor and the Frontiersmen

Chilliwack Lord Mayor photo 1973Topic October / November 2022.  When the Lord Mayor of London, The Rt. Hon. Lord Mais, stepped onto the train at Agassiz Station late in the evening of Tuesday August 14th 1973 to continue a train journey across Canada it was the end of a very busy day around Vancouver and part of British Columbia around the Fraser River close to Vancouver. Together with his wife he had visited the University of British Columbia, Hudson Bay Fort and on to the town of Chilliwack, where they were given a civic reception and the Lord Mayor officially opened the 101st Chilliwack Exhibition. The citizens of that town had the distinct impression that the Lord and Lady Mayor thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the town. What would probably have surprised them was that much of the security was provided by the local members of the Legion of Frontiersmen and not by the R.C.M.P.. Although the Frontiersmen were no longer affiliated to the R.C.M.P. the Mounted Police still used the Frontiersmen as their auxiliaries. The R.C.M.P. did provide a mounted constable for the Exhibition wearing the original uniform of of what was then called the North-West Mounted Police, also their motorcycle display team put on a show. As the area commandant of the Legion wrote: Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Adjutant

Charles Cory Kernick London 1906

Topic August / September 2022. To follow the previous topic page, another instance of a sad and early death is that of Charles Cory Kernick. Kernick was a world traveller and this was before the days when travellers to less civilised countries of the world could be inoculated against unusual and tropical diseases. You took your chances – plus a bottle of whisky and some quinine and hoped for the best. Kernick did not survive, and left behind him a young and deeply grieving widow.

The First Adjutant.
Charles Cory Kernick.

It is not strictly accurate to call Charles Cory Kernick the first Adjutant of the Legion of Frontiersmen, although that was his duty if not his title. He was the Legion’s first Secretary, as at first it was organised more as a club and it was not until men such as Lt.Col. Driscoll came to prominence in the Legion that it took a more military style and semi-military ranks. In the early days many members and supporters in London, where the Legion had its power base, were either titled aristocrats or semi-retired senior officers. These men were always known by their titles or ranks. Such a man was Lord (Charles) Frederick Brudenell-Bruce, the youngest son of the 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury who held the rank of Major in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry. Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen, Roger Pocock | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Perils of Hurried Handwriting

3rd Baron HaldonTopic June / July 2022.  One of the tasks assigned to History and Archives when it was set up in 2001 was to demolish the many myths which have sprung up around the Legion of Frontiersmen. One of the earliest corrections of a myth posted on the topic pages in 2004 was that Lord Haldane was an early member of the Legion of Frontiersmen.

He was not.

How did this happen? There is a simple explanation. Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Frontiersmen Magazine Centenary

Topic April / May 2022.  Apart from the 1918 War Issue, the Frontiersman magazine had not been produced since the summer of 1914. Everyone wanted a Legion magazine, but it had always struggled to break even. There was a shortage of money – and jobs – after the end of the war. Although every Frontiersman was expected to buy the Legion magazine not everyone could afford it. There was certainly a demand across what was then the British Empire, but a copy could take weeks or even longer to reach the more remote areas. Sometimes if the mail missed the regular boat it was held up for a long time waiting for the next one.

Frontiersman Gazette 1922

The Executive Council thought they had found a solution and the first issue of the new series to go on sale was the May 1922 edition – one hundred years ago. In this article we will see some of the many ways the world has changed, while the Legion of Frontiersmen has many, but not all, similarities to that time. Below is an interesting extract from the Legion Headquarters editorial piece from that first post-war issue: Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gallimaufry of Untold Tales

Topic Feb/Mar 2022. A constant stream of stories pass over the desks of the official Legion of Frontiersmen historians. Most of these stories are too brief to form a Topic page. In this topic page we will pause to tell a few of the tales of some men, to shed a little light on past Frontiersmen who should never be forgotten.

We begin by featuring the application form of Adolph Fredrekson. What a life this man had led in his forty-odd years and what stories could he have told! It is a sobering thought that an application form with such a life story was far from unusual for the Legion of Frontiersmen.

Fredrekson – Application form 1937

A totally different character was John Martin Harvey (from 1921 Sir John Martin-Harvey) 1863-1944. Martin Harvey’s life had been dedicated to the stage and yet he became a Lieutenant in the Legion of Frontiersmen, admittedly an Honorary Lieutenant, but still a uniformed one. Martin Harvey could fill a theatre anywhere in Britain, also in Canada which he visited a number of times with his company of actors. For the Frontiersmen it was comparable today with having a famous film star or T.V. star on stage in Frontiersmen uniform. During the first two years of WW1 he toured British theatres on a recruiting drive for the army and also raising great sums of money for the Red Cross. On every occasion he appeared on stage in his Frontiersmen uniform. Continue reading

Posted in Canada, Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Keeping Clear of Politics

Topic Dec 21 / Jan 22.  We saw in the previous topic page how Kaid Belton was dissatisfied because the Frontiersmen were not doing enough to counter the “Bolshies”, either in the original Legion of Frontiersmen or the breakaway Independent Overseas Legion of Frontiersmen. He set up his own “Imperial Legion” to fight, perhaps even violently, against communism, or what was then known as “Bolshevism.

The Legion has always prided itself on being strictly non-political – but what is “political”? Political in one decade is not in another. Between the wars Fascist parties were considered mainstream, but left-wing socialism was thought to be an arm of Russian attempts to promote revolution. In recent years those views have been reversed. The Frontiersmen have done everything they could to steer clear of politics. Of course they are Royalists, swearing allegiance to the Sovereign when joining, and that would put them in conflict with republicans. The early uniform was either a navy or a black shirt, except in hot countries where it was khaki or fawn. The uniform of the crew of the “S.S. Frontiersman” on their ill-fated attempt at supporting world-flight in 1923 was clearly black shirt and black trousers. Once Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts came on the scene the Frontiersmen had to surrender their comfortable dark shirts, even for working dress, and adopt the patrol jacket rather than be mistaken for what the Founder described as “politicians in uniform”. Continue reading

Posted in Frontiersmen, History, Latest Topic, Legion of Frontiersmen | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment