Legion of Frontiersmen in Canada Timeline (Part 2)

canadatimeline31908 – Nicola Valley of British Columbia. A small, yellow 16 page British Columbia Command handbook published 1974 incorrectly states: “The Frontiersmen were first organized in British Columbia in 1908 in the Nicola Valley”. And “The first Vancouver Squadron was formed in 1910”. Refer to previous Timeline entries 1907 – First L.O.F. Commandant and Command, Maurice H. Marsden of Vancouver. Percy Smith, LEGION OF FRONTIERSMEN OF THE COMMONWEALTH HANDBOOK, page 15, published 1974.

1908 – Manitoba. Five Frontiersmen from the “old country” settling in Manitoba held an organizational meeting at the St. George hotel in St. Boniface. E. Druary-Allen [E. Allen] was made the Organizing Officer with Mr. Frank Kerr as the honourary Secretary-Treasurer. MINNEDOSA TRIBUNE, “Empire Legion of Frontiersmen”, page 04, 23 April 1908

1908 – Canadian Militia [the Army] allows L.O.F. to establish. The Adjutant-General, Colonel F.L. Lessard of the Canadian Militia wrote on February 12, 1908 to the Secretary, Legion of Frontiersmen in London that the Legion of Frontiersmen may proceed in Canada provided that: a) the organization does not interfere with Militia recruitment, b) drilling [training] be carried out with the permission of the Militia Officer Commanding the Command or District at such times and places agreed to by him, c) Headquarters approval is required for the pattern of uniform, d) no public expense is involved, and d) if organized into a Civilian Rifle Club they must adhere to appropriate regulations. THE FRONTIERSMAN, 1908 letter reprint, page 157, September 1912.

1908 – July 01, Nelson BC Command records its first general meeting. These are the only known surviving documents in Canada of such meetings. By 1909, 77 members were enrolled. This Command elected leaders, and intended to liaise with the 102nd Battalion Canadian Militia. The Nelson Command was documented from 1907 to 1914 by E.C. Wragge, a lawyer in Nelson, and appeared to have evolved along two distinct formations, one being mounted rifles and the other being scouts & guides. Nelson BC Archives [Copy of the file at University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives].

1908 – 101st Regiment Edmonton Fusiliers and F.W.F Carstairs. It is known that J.V.E. Carpenter was the Legion of Frontiersmen Organizing Officer for Edmonton and subsequently became an officer in Canada’s newly forming 101st Regiment. F.W.F. Carstairs, a veteran of African and Indian campaigns, would quickly become the long serving CO of the 101st Regiment Edmonton Fusiliers. Years later FWF Carstairs accepted honorary membership in the Legion of Frontiersmen as #26271 Honourary (Lieutenant Colonel) F.W.F. Carstairs CHQ Squadron of the Legion of Frontiersmen (Canadian Division). This Honourary L.O.F. member’s death at age 85 was also mentioned in LF(Can.Div.) history. Captain HG Kennedy, HISTORY OF THE 101ST REGIMENT EDMONTON FUSILIERS 1908-1913, published 1913. THE FRONTIER NEWS, page 6, February 1939. A. Mack, HISTORY OF THE LEGION OF FRONTIERSMEN, page 175, published c1970.

1908 – England, uniformed Guard of Honour. In England at this time during the official visit to Leeds by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra: “The Guard of Honour in the station yard was composed of Frontiersmen, in their peculiar uniform, consisting of slouched hat, blue shirt, and khaki breeches and putties [sic].” LEEDS MERCURY, Wednesday, 08 July 1908. Credit L.O.F. Historian Geoffrey A. Pocock.

Note: Historian, Geoffrey A. Pocock comments that the guard was likely commanded by Major Patrick Forbes who had just been appointed to take over from founder Roger Pocock to run the Legion. This is the first time Frontiersmen wearing puttees are noted. Usually the uniform footwear was leather leggings and boots. The Strathcona boot seems to have come into use later and Roger Pocock had his own boots made with a softer leather ankle. The early Frontiersmen did not generally wear a jacket preferring the shirt. The patrol jacket seems to have come in during the 1920s for parade wear, leaving the shirt still for working dress. When fascist “Blackshirts” began marching, the Legion of Frontiersmen ceased wearing the shirt order, for fear of being mistaken for what Roger Pocock called “politicians in uniform”.

Note: Regarding the uniform, the Legion of Frontiersmen’s Founder Roger Pocock stressed that comfort and practicality in the field. Worldwide, a uniform could vary somewhat due to climate and availability. Old photographs readily illustrate this. The original LF uniforms were far more practical than the restrictive and colourful military uniforms of the Victorian era.

  • 1909

canadatimeline41909 – Antarctic Explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Three types of Legion of Frontiersmen membership existed in Canada and elsewhere during the early years of the association. As an example, among the notable men of the British Empire was the famed Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton. His membership in the Legion of Frontiersmen is confirmed and described in the following 1909 New Zealand [Manawatu – Wanganui region] news: “Legion Frontiersmen, Christchurch, April 29, Lieut. Shackleton of the British Antarctic expedition, having written intimating that he would be glad to be enrolled as an honorary member of the Legion of Frontiersmen, the acting commissioner for the Legion for New Zealand has accordingly enrolled him.” FIELDING STAR, page 03, 30 April, 1909. [Source, Geoffrey A. Pocock].

Note: The earliest application forms indicate that Honorary Membership was a fully inclusive membership but usually non-uniformed membership status, signified by the presentation of the Legion’s “button badge” marked as such.

1909 – Legion of Frontiersmen Application Categories. In 1909 the Legion had three classes of membership. “A” class pledged to uniformed service in defence of the Empire including overseas service. “B” class pledged to uniformed service as scouts and guides in support of local/regional operations. “C” class non-uniformed membership pledged to support the aims and objectives of the L.O.F. All classes of service, A, B, and C were full status Legion of Frontiersmen. Nelson BC Archives L.O.F. APPLICATION FORM. This application form photocopy is held in University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives.

1909 – Yukon Territory. In letters regarding Legion of Frontiersmen, “Camp No. 1 White Horse” [sic] Yukon Territory receives permission from the RNWMP to use the RNWMP “machine gun” for training purposes. RNWMP Letter photocopy, University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives

  • 1910

1910 – Air Warfare. The Legion Paymaster and Maritime Division member, Harold R. Ingersoll, forewarns in one of the earliest aeronautical magazines, “There will be aerial raids, destruction of dockyards, arsenals, forts water, gas and other works and factories, and even the bombardment of towns and cities, all of which have a greater moral effect, at less cost, and employment of fewer men, than an invasion or coastal attack.” FLIGHT, Official Organ Of The Royal Aero Club Of The United Kingdom, No. 76 (No.24, Vol.II), page 454, 11 June 1910.

1910 – Rangoon, Burma. An active unit of the LOF was apparent in Burma by this date. A telegram from Rangoon reported the death of Mr. Campbell due to the effects of a bullet ricochet while training with the Legion of Frontiersmen locally. Campbell was the chief officer of the Nepaul [sic], a steamer of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. THE STRAITS TIMES, “Social and Personal”, page 8, 28 September 1910.

1910 – Burma Maritime Division. Commander G.A. Rose R.I.M., “At the present time he is the Honorary Commandant of the Burma Maritime branch of the Legion of Frontiersmen.” G.A. Rose R.I.M. [Royal Indian Marine] was a distinguished civil maritime officer, the principle port authority officer, commander of troop transport ships, etc. Wright, Arnold, TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA, page 175, 1910.

1910 – Saskatoon Command. later retitled “B” Squadron North Saskatchewan Command, formed about May 1910, leader R. Boulton (drowned July 1914), secretary T.E. Potts. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

1910 – Lac Ste. Anne Squadron. 35 miles west of Edmonton, formed about June 1910, squadron leader S.W. Caws (killed in action WW1), secretary D. M. Rourke, Troop No.1 led by N. Seton, Troop No.2 led by W. McLeod, Troop No.3 led by J. Yates, and Troop No.4 led by H. Appelle. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

1910 – Carmacks, Yukon Territory. This is the address on the enrolment form of Victoria and Vancouver Island WW1 era commandant S. Rowlinson. L.F. Form 6, numbered 517, the Legion of Frontiersmen Certificate of Enrolment states: “This is to certify that Seymour Rowlinson of Carmacks Yukon Territory has this day been enrolled as a Member, Class A, of the Legion and his Badge, Legion No 4435, has been forwarded herewith. Headquarters: 6 Adams Street, London, W.C. Dated 30th day of May 1910, [signed] T. Watson[?] Captain, Secretary Legion of Frontiersmen.” CERTIFICATE OF ENROLMENT [copy compliments Carol Miller granddaughter of Seymour Rowlinson] University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives.

  • 1911

1911 – Lac Ste Anne, Alberta. Sub-unit Officer Commanding, Stanley Winther Caws, reports: “… our Sub-unit here is in a prosperous state, and at present it looks as though we will be able to get a decent little Squadron going soon. We have branches at Wabamun Lake and the North Paddle, and I hear that an effort is to be made to start a Troop in Edmonton. The Lac Ste. Anne Sub-unit is the senior organization in Alberta, and we hope that in time Lac Ste. Anne will be recognized as being the Legion Headquarters for Alberta. We have to contend with great difficulties in our work, as nearly all our boys are on the trails (at present our crowd is scattered between the Gold Coast of Africa and the Arctic circle), and we can seldom raise more than ten to fifteen. However, six of us have our ranches close together [in a] row, and we are making an effort to do some regular work.” THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 28, February, 1911.

1911 – Labrador and Newfoundland, First Commandant. The L.O.F. in the Dominion of Newfoundland formed about April 1911 by A.W. Wakefield of Battle Harbour. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1911 – Labrador and Newfoundland Command. The L.O.F. in the Dominion of Newfoundland formed about April 1911 by A.W. Wakefield of Battle Harbour. It is reported that Wakefield is the Commandant (on active service WW1) and the secretary is F.E. Heath of Rigolet. The formal structure of this command is noted as: “A” Squadron St John’s leader E.W. Vere-Holloway (commanded LF gunners, St. John’s harbor WW1); No.1 & No.2 Troops responsible to Vere-Holoway with Troop No.3 leader Joseph Walters of St. Anthony’s, and Troop No.4 led by Mr. Hutchins of Bonavista Bay. “B” Squadron leader was A.W. Wakefield of Battle Harbour, with No.5 Troop led by J. Ford of Nain, No.6 Troop led by T. Evans of Hopedale, No.7 Troop led by H.I. Paddon of Grand River, and No. 8 Troop led by H.B. Williams of Red Bay. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1911 – Other Labrador and Newfoundland Units. Regarding Newfoundland (previously mentioned) “The branch at Battle Harbour with the assistance Dr. Seymour Armstrong and Martin Spencer established sub-units at St. Anthony (50 men) and other Labrador communities of Grand River, Mud Lake, Nain, and Red Bay.” University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives (Untitled 18 page paper circa 1998 by Nelson J. Sherrin).

1911 – Hamilton Squadron. Formed about April 1911, leader A.T. Potts (on active service WW1), secretary D. Dodds. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

Note: An old photograph shows some of Hamilton Squadron wearing navy colored shirts with shoulder chains, bandannas, gauntlets, khaki riding breeches and riding boots with spurs, with wide brimmed slouch hats evident. Dean Bruckshaw, L.O.F. photo archivist.

1911 – Okanagan Squadron. Formed about April 1911, headquartered at Vernon, BC and led by Legion Captain J.P. Audy (killed in action WW1). His full, legal name is Prosper John Theodore Audy. No. 1 Troop under command of Legion Lt. H.C. Verral is at Vernon with No.2 Troop listed as Nelson. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

1911 – Vancouver Squadron. Vancouver Command started in 1907, see the previous Timeline entry for 1907. A later report incorrectly states that Vancouver Squadron formed about May 1911. The dominant pre-war leader became Legion Capt. G.H. Sloan (killed in action WW1) who transferred from Hamilton Squadron as “extra Organising Officer”, with J. Miller as secretary.

No.1 Troop is Vancouver city,

No.2 Troop (Boatmen) is Vancouver city based with Legion Lt. C. Plowman in charge,

No.3 Troop is located in New Westminster, and

No.4 Troop is located in North Vancouver.

THE FRONTIERSMAN, “Legion Notes”, page 28, 26 June 1907. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 87, May 1912. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

Note: Unique in Canada is Vancouver Squadron’s No.2 Troop (Boatman). No other Legion of Frontiersmen unit in Canada is known to be solely comprised of boatmen or to have been designated for water or sea-borne service. The Colony of Newfoundland, later a Canadian province as of 1949, with its strong maritime tradition undoubtedly had men superbly capable of sea-borne service.

1911 – Imperial Headquarters. Imperial HQ gains public recognition as the following quote indicates. “One cannot help looking back with pride to the Pageant of the Empire spectacle which was a feature of the Festival of Empire demonstrations at the Crystal Palace during the month of Their Majesties’ Coronation in 1911. Therein our beloved leader, Colonel Driscoll, D.S.O. took part with 70 or 80 typical frontiersmen, and among these 70 or 80 representatives of our Legion were no less than 200 war medals and decorations.” F.V. Longstaff scrapbook files, British Columbia Museum, NZ newspaper column titled “LEGION OF FRONTIERSMEN” by “FRONTIERSMAN”, 29 July 1920.

1911 – Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Whitehorse Troop is reported as incorrectly dated as being formed in 1911 and led by Legion Captain P. Jameson. Refer to previous Timeline entries for 1909. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

Note: It is evident from 1909 correspondence to the RNWMP regarding machine gun use for training that the Legion was active before this date.

1911 – Brisbane, Australia. Major G.H. Heaney VD, formerly the LOF commandant of Cape Colony, was in 1911 the Organizing Officer in Brisbane and had as of the second annual general meeting secured a membership of 130 members. “The following officers were elected, subject to acceptance of office – Patron, Lord Denman (Governor-General of Australia), vice-patrons, His Excellency Sir William MacGregor, Colonel Vinn King … [etc.]”THE BRISBANE COURIER, “Imperial Frontiersmen”, page 9, 30 October 1911.

1911 – Cape Colony, South Africa. At the second annual general meeting at the Royal Hotel in Brisbane “A tribute was paid to Major G. H. Heaney VD … In Cape Colony Major Heaney held a very high office as commandant of the Capetown command, which turned out 500 strong.” THE BRISBANE COURIER, “Imperial Frontiersmen”, page 9, 30 October 1911.

  • 1912

1912 – Carmacks, Yukon Territory. Yukon Camp No.1 is at Carmacks with the Commandant being F. Harbottle. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 87, May 1912 and cross reference with Carol Miller documents previous Timeline entry 1910.

1912 – Dawson City, Yukon Territory. The Dawson Troop formed in about October 1912 and led by Legion Lieutenant A. Hart. Later, in 1914 the volunteer enlistment role drawn up in Dawson City that included the Royal North West Mounted Police and members of the Legion of Frontiersmen stated: “We the undersigned, as a token of our loyalty to the British Empire hereby declare our willingness to respond to such a call as may be made by The government of the Dominion for volunteers from the Yukon to take up arms on behalf of Canada and the Empire …” [news reference missing]. A Legion report indicated that A. Hart made his way from Dawson to England so that he could enlist with the 25th Royal (Frontiersmen) Fusiliers as a private, although he was offered a commission.(invalided, WW1). THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 26, War Number 1918.

1912 – China. “Those who followed closely the recent affairs in China will remember the thrilling story of how a little band of members of the legion, led by a young man named Sowerby, a former Canadian trapper and explorer, entered a city full of Chinese who were mad with blood-lust, and how this little band, eight all told, rescued European women and children, gathered up others from other parts of the disturbed district, and led them to safety”. OTAGO DAILY TIMES, [online retrospective of 100 year old news] 20 April 2012.

1912 – North China Command. “On Sunday 28th April 1912, The North China command of the Legion was well represented in an official photograph at Tientsin. Originated by Major Higginson D.S.O., D.A.A., C.M.G. of the British Troops in China, in took the … [extract ends]”. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page [?], 18 November 1918.

1912 – Advertisements. Somerville’s Rare Old Scotch (6 and 10 Years old), purveyors to the House of Lords, The Treasury, and other government offices, is advertised as the “Only” Scotch Whiskey supplied to the Legion of Frontiersmen. Legion Rules and Regulations cost one penny, post free. A Legion full dress uniform included a black (navy) serge shirt for 10/6, a Stetson hat 5/6, riding breeches 21/-, waist belt 2/6, cavalry cloaks made to measure 15/6, gauntlets 4/6 for total cost, 2 (pounds) 19/6. A patrol jacket complete to measure cost 17/6. Mess Dress, complete sold for 2 [pounds] 15/6. All prices advertised in by Silverstone & Son, High-Class Tailor & Cutter of London in October 1912. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 191, October 1912.

1912 – Mud Lake, Labrador. A troop photo of Frontiersmen with rifles posed at “present arms.” Northwest Territories Archives.

1912 – St. John’s, Newfoundland. “A branch of the Frontiersmen was established in St. John’s in 1912 by E.W. Vere-Holloway and was made up of ex-members of the boys’ brigades who qualified.” University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives, Nelson J. Sherrin, unpublished and untitled 18 page paper c1998.

1912 – St. John’s Commandant, Newfoundland. Walter Frederick Rendell, active with the Church Lads Brigade, assumed command of the Legion of Frontiersmen in St. John’s. He then enrolled into the Newfoundland Regiment as a Captain and Adjutant, proceeded overseas. Was wounded in Gallipoli 1915, and wounded in France 1916. Lieutenant Colonel Walter Frederick Rendell was awarded the CBE in 1919. Later in WW2 he served with the Home Guard. A 1914 photo clearly shows Rendell in the L.O.F. uniform as one of the officers in the newly forming Newfoundland Regiment. University of Alberta L.O.F. Archives, Nelson J. Sherrin, unpublished and untitled 18 page paper c1998, and CANADIAN GREAT WAR PROJECT [online].

1912 – Chilliwack Valley, British Columbia. The sub-unit secretary J. Worral reports that the sub unit is invited by the local Militia Corps in to take part in a camp on Vancouver Island. Also noted is a registration number, “6009 Frontiersmen G.L. Snow is granted leave of absence to proceed to California.” THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 143, August 1912.

1912 – Vancouver Command. On 11 September 1912, this unit under Legion Lieutenant G.H. Sloan aided by the Adjutant Lieutenant F.E. Dorchester has decided to open a section for dismounted men. In order to do this Lt. C. Plowden reverts from adjutant to Second Lieutenant in charge of the Dismounted section, while Second Lieutenant E.P. Waldo is in charge of the Mounted section. The Quartermaster Sergeant and secretary for Vancouver is J. Miller and the unit’s Press Agent is T. Thomas. Messers A.P. Brown and Company of 849 Pender Street West are appointed regimental tailors. A news report describes F.E. Dorchester as “an out-and-out Imperialist of some prominence”, E.P. Waldo “ex-Munster Regiment served in Africa”, and C. Plowden “besides holding his majesty’s commission for 18 years, is also, a Colonel by a commission from the King of Greece”. The news report states that: “There are other ex-officers acting as troopers” and it goes on to say “We hope the Command here will reach a thousand strong in the next few months.” THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 205, November 1912.

1912 – Vernon and Okanagan Command. Under Organizing Officer Lt. Prosper J. Audy, P.O. Box 441 of Vernon had a meeting on October 05 establishing an Annual Subscription of $5.00, lists standards of eligibility, and details of the uniform to be worn: stiff brim Stetson with leather hatband and Legion crest & monogram, navy color shirt with shoulder chains, silk blue with white “bird’s eye” (polka dot) pattern bandanna, khaki (any shade) breeches or trousers with high brown riding boots, brown fringed gauntlets and regulation Legion holster. As well as smoking concert was to be held at the Oddfellows’ hall in Vernon on October 23rd at 8:15. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 223, December 1912.

1912 – Comox, British Columbia. Captain S. Bates of Aspen Grove BC is Officer Commanding, Comox District, Vancouver Island. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 223, December 1912.

1912 – Calgary Command. Formed about June 1912 by V.J.C. Eccles, and Command Staff listed includes Col. G.E. Sanders CMG, DSO (on active service WW1); Lt. Col. P.J. Daly CMG, DSO (on active service WW1); Capt. V.J.C. Eccles (killed in action WW1), Lt. Col. J. Drummond. “A” Squadron leader is Legion Capt. J.C. Page (on active service WW1) with Troops No.1, No.2, No.3, No.4 led by Lieutenants Miller, Watson, Donalson [sic], and Gilson respectively (all of whom are on active service WW1). “B” Squadron’s Troops No.5, No.6, No.7, No.8 are led by Lieutenants Lake, Emery, L’Amy, and Hogg respectively, (all of whom are also on active service WW1). THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 43, March 1913. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

1912 – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. “A” Squadron Moose Jaw (later in South Saskatchewan Command by March 1913) was formed about December 1912, leader F.T. Flavell. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1912 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This sub-unit held its annual meeting in December 1912 at its HQ, Boulton’s Garage, 2nd Avenue North. “Captain Boulton in his opening speach, spoke of the splendid advance the Saskatoon Sub-unit had made in the past twelve months, and also how the Unit increased, considering that in January of 1912, there were only six in the Troop. There were now one Captain, one Lieutenant, one Sergeant-Major, one Sergeant, one Corporal, and 54 Troopers, beside the band. There are also two honorary members who have made up their minds to join the Legion” As well a mix of Troopers and NCOs was elected to positions on the Executive Council with two Troopers elected to positions of Secretary and Treasurer. Reviewing the recent past parade for, and inspection by the visiting Duke of Connaught; Captain Boulton and all Frontiersmen had been complimented. The Duke of Connaught said: “Captain Boulton, you have one of the finest bodies of men I have met in my travels through Canada”. As well the Sub-unit’s padre Lieutenant E.P. Goulding was reported married in Dublin, Ireland. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 26-27, February 1912.

1912 – Fiji. By 1912 a “special service corps” of Legion of Frontiersmen was noted in the New Zealand press. MARLBOROUGH EXPRESS, page 2, 29 May 1912.

1912 – Falkland Islands. The Organising Secretary was Ernest N. Boothroyd (WW1 enlisted 3/1st Yorkshire Dragoons). Members noted were: R. Douglas, L.T. Barnes late of the Royal Navy (October 1902 to 1912) working as a policeman, A. Matravers (also known as McTavers), Later, all four sailed on the SS Freshfield on September 1, 1915 from Stanley to England. THE FRONTIERSMEN, page ?, October 1912.

Note: The late NZ LOF Historian, Bruce Fuller commented that The Roll of Honour shows Louis Barnes – Ernest Boothroyd – Archie McTavers suggesting that they had been killed. This NZ historian noted that a 1918 source [likely THE FRONTIERSMAN] identified the Organising Officer as Frontiersman A.E. Smith; however, after WW1 the Falklands L.O.F. unit ceased to exist.

1912 – Argentina. An Argentine unit of the L.O.F. was officially established on November 1, 1912 by the Organising Officer E W Benson (WW1served as a Lieutenant, Bedfordshire Regiment attached to R.E. Signals and awarded MC). The unit’s Organising Secretary was Malcolm Pulbrook (WW1 served as a driver in the R.E.). Later, of the twenty-seven members on the Nominal Roll in 1914, twenty three travelled to England in August and September to enlist. Arthur L. Holder, ACTIVITIES OF THE BRITISH COMMUNITY IN ARGENTINA DURING THE GREAT WAR, 1920.

1912 – New Zealand. Slow progress in recruiting initially; however, “In 1912 New Zealand began to hear of it, and inside 12 months the right kind of men were falling over one another looking for the Legion’s application forms. The Legion was fortunate in finding several splendid organisers in Poverty Bay, Hawke’s Bay. Wairarapa, Wanganui, Northern Wairoa and other places, and the foundations of no less than eight splendid squadrons had been laid by the time the Great War broke out. [For the Great War] They volunteered to the man. They made incredible sacrifices to get to the war. There were some 1700 members in New Zealand, and over 1200 went on service, the rest being over age or medically rejected; and the methods by which some men get to the front after being refused admission to the forces would fill a book. Not one Legionary waited for conscription. HAWERA AND NORMANDY STAR, “Legion of Frontiersmen”, page 7 Volume XLVIII, 29 October 1924.  

1912 – Vancouver Maritime Section. A report about the Auckland squadron meeting gives some insight about Canada’s LOF maritime section. “During the course of the meeting the commandant welcomed Captain Archer, of the Canadian maritime section of the legion, also Sergeant-Major Lett, of the Birmingham command, and Trooper Clarkson, of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Captain Archer briefly but clearly advocated the forming of a maritime section on the same lines as at Vancouver, for the defence of Auckland Harbour. He particularly desired yachtsmen, motor boat owners, sailors, and others acquainted with sea life” to take a part in this game.” NEW ZEALAND HERALD, Legion Of Frontiersmen, page 5, Volume XLIX, Issue 15120, 10 October 1912.

  • 1913

1913 – Hong Kong. “His Excellency the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry May, has been pleased to recognize the Legion in Hong Kong as a reserve squadron of the Volunteer Defence Force”. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 56, April 1913.

1913 – Mongolia. The Chinese government sent telegraphers to inspect Mongolian stations and lines because of damage done by Mongolian raiders. Among these telegraphers was a Mr. Grant, a Frontiersman, dispatched with three Chinese attendants. They were captured by the Mongol raiders, and Grant was told he could make his way as the Mongols would only kill the three Chinese assistants. Grant refused to abandon the Chinese so he too was shot after reportedly saying “You can kill me but never frighten me.” Story confirmed by cross referencing FRONTIERSMEN JOURNAL, September 1913 with OTAUTAU STANDARD AND WALLACE COUNTY CHRONICLE, “A Scotchman”, page 2, 30 Mahuru [lunar month Aug-Sept] 1913.

1913 – The Government of Newfoundland. Exemptions from Customs was granted on all arms, ammunition, and other equipment for use of the Legion. St. John’s Rifle Club grants privileges to the Frontiersmen and annual subscription to it for $3.50 instead of the regular $7.00. St. Anthony’s Troop, officer commanding, Lt. C.M. Spencer reported that applications are “coming in fast” and that the unit has adopted as a uniform “Sailor suit, brown scarf.” THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 11, January 1913.

1913 – Labrador [Newfoundland]. “The honour of gazetting the 8000th member fell to Labrador Frontiersman H. G. Webb, of that country, receiving badge No. 8000.” NEW ZEALAND HERALD, “The Legion Of Frontiersmen”, page 10, 12 September 1913.

1913 – Vancouver Command. Visited by Trooper Tom Burrows of Fiji, the world’s champion club swinger. A big concert was planned by the British Columbia Empire Club, at which the Command will receive a flag. The first mounted parade had been scheduled for about the end of January. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 27, February 1913.

1913 – Rank and Leadership. A Vancouver newspaper, details the Legion’s aims, history, officers and so on. Importantly, the very unique way that rank structure was and still continues to be within the Legion is reported: “Whilst in uniform or on parade, discipline is discipline, yet from colonel to the latest-joined trooper they are equals.” The article continued, “Position counts for little in this democratic organisation (sic), except so far as it will help the aims of the Legion, and the Legion itself. Many erstwhile officers, indeed, gladly serve as troopers.” Referring to the Chief Executive Officer of the Legion of Frontiersmen, the report continued with a description of the CEO. “Col. Driscoll is well known throughout the Empire in connection with the Driscoll Scouts. He obtained his present rank in actual war service, having always been an irregular who has been on the spot when the Empire had fights to win. A better Commandant would be hard to find.” Regarding the local Vancouver officer commanding, Lt. G.H. Sloan who came from Hamilton: “He is an unusually keen officer, and no one could mistake him for aught but a soldier. He served as a scout and guide with French’s column in the South Africa War, being an ex-Scots Grey.” Other officers of Vancouver Command include Lt. Waldo who held a commission in the Royal Munsters in South Africa and a recent transfer from Burma Command, Lt. Hocking. VANCOUVER SUN, “Local Legion Of Frontiersmen Is A Patriotic Organization”, page?, date ?, 1913 reprinted in THE FRONTIERSMAN, page?, date ?, 1913.

1913 – Chilliwack Valley Troop. This unit formed about January 1913, the Organising Officer being H. Hastings. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

Note: This conflicts with an earlier report about Chilliwack Valley 1912, listed previously.

1913 – Airships and Air Reconnaissance. The citizens of Calgary, Alberta were proposing the building of an “airship” to be called the “Calgarian” for the defence of Great Britain. No doubt the Legion of Frontiersmen would rally to this cause. The Frontiersmen then took the concept a step further and Calgary command advocated the training of “aerial scouts” for air reconnaissance; a concept of some foresight given the evolution of the war to come. CALGARY NEWS-TELEGRAM, pages 12, 13, 15, 18, March 1913 and CALGARY NEWS-TELEGRAM, page 07, 14 May 1913.

1913 – Winnipeg Squadron. This unit formed about March 1913, leader E.C. Laver, adjutant M. Langfier, secretary E.C. King. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1913 – Toronto Troop. This unit formed about February 1913, leader W.H. Slater (invalided WW1), secretary J.S. Warren. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1913 – Montreal Troop. This unit formed about March 1913, leader C.H. Macnutt (on active service WW1). THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number, 1918.

1913 – Southern Saskatchewan Command. This unit formed about March 1913, leader F.T. Flavell of Moose Jaw, Southern Saskatchewan Command Organizer. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1913 – “A” Squadron, North Saskatchewan Command. Located at Askwith [Asquith] 25 miles west of Saskatoon this unit formed about June 1913, secretary T. Fairbrother. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 4, War Number 1918.

1913 – “B” Squadron, South Saskatchewan Command. Located at Willow Bunch and HQ at Bengough (75 miles south of Moose Jaw) this unit was formed about August 1913, led by A.L. Dove MC (on active service WW1), medical officer [Dr.?] Ireland. THE FRONTIERSMAN, page 3, War Number 1918.

1913 – Criticism by Australian Labour Council President [a man of self-stated “unimpeachable veracity”]. “Dear Worker, — I should be glad to have room to express some hostile but none the less justifiable views concerning that being-boomed, bombastic body labelled ‘The Legion of Frontiersmen.’ It is a Jingoistic collection of tin pin [soldiers]. I met this brand of indomitable warriors in Fiji, and I can describe it with unimpeachable veracity, as a fosterer of an objectionable form of [Imperialism] and devotion to [England]. This corps of alleged [soldiers] goes in more for the Luncheon Biscuit drill than for the hard work training article. It is repudiated by the Australian Defence Department, and is regarded as a delightful joke by the military officials. There is no room for such a body in Australia where we have our citizen army. Therefore, its presence is unnecessary, unreasonable and unendurable. As president of a Labor Council (Mildura), I have advised Laborites to avoid it as the small pox. May it be long quarantined. – As a last word — Its members are mostly anti Labor, and so are a possible, menace to the workers during some future industrial unrest. [signed] HAROLD L. DALE.” THE WORKER, (Wagga NSW) page 23, 14 August 1913.

Note: Ironically, the labour leader’s bombast seems equivalent to the jingoistic bombast that he finds “objectionable”. Realistically, the veteran soldiers who formed much of the command structure of the early LOF would have readily aided the Crown/State in a conflict, be it domestic or foreign. Also noteworthy, the poorly equipped and insufficiently trained colonial forces likely felt threatened and affronted by the Legion of Frontiersmen. These experienced campaign veterans and unorthodox imperial adventurers were relatively unfettered by entrenched Edwardian protocol and rigid social status. As for the “tin pin” soldiers and their “Luncheon Biscuit drill”, thousands enlisted often becoming the NCO backbone or officers of newly formed expeditionary forces of WWI.


©Barry William Shandro M.Ed
August 11, 2004 with ongoing revisions, last revision January 2015
Edmonton Canada

Part 3 of this timeline will follow soon.  If you would like to be informed when further parts of this timeline are posted, and other articles on this blog, please click the “Follow the Blog” button on the right hand side of the screen.

About Roger Pocock

Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com Co-writer on junkyard.blog Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in Canada, Frontiersmen, Legion of Frontiersmen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Legion of Frontiersmen in Canada Timeline (Part 2)

  1. Mike Boyd says:

    Very interesting information. Can u tell me where I could view a copy of Captain HG Kennedy, HISTORY OF THE 101ST REGIMENT EDMONTON FUSILIERS 1908-1913, published 1913. Thank you

    Like

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