|A fascinating image of a Canadian veteran of the Boer War. Exactly what unit he may have belonged to was
uncertain and at first I thought that he may have been a member of the storied Northwest Mounted Police. He is
wearing a most interesting field uniform with cord riding pants, leather leggings and what may be a unique shirt.
Note the neckerchief that has been carefully braided into the lacing of his shirt. The shirt also sports chain mail
epaulets in the style of British cavalry units and he wears a straight brimmed Montana Peak or "Boss of the
Plains" Stetson hat. He wears the King's and Queen's South Africa Medals for his service in South Africa
Recent information provided indicates that this man was actually a member of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
Founded by Capt. Roger Pocock, the Legion of Frontiersmen is a voluntary paramilitary organisation founded in
Britain by military veterans "for fellowship and for service to the State at any time of need".
It was initially formed in 1904 for the purpose of providing irregular mounted scouts for the British Army. In 1906,
the Legion almost became the official branch of British Military Intelligence. Among its more famous members
were Prince Louis of Battenberg, H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle and possibly Winston Churchill who was a
In Canada Frontiersmen, debatably, made up one half of the original draft PPCLI, the first Canadian troops to
serve in the First World War. In the late 1930s, it was formally affiliated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
That relationship ended in 1939 because of sectarianism in the Legion of Frontiersmen. They also formed the bulk
of the 25th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, formed in 1915.
The earliest official description of an authorized uniform for a Canadian unit is noted in The Frontiersman,
(December 1912, page 223) describing Vernon and Okanagan Command’s uniform as follows:
“Shirt Tunic – To be of substantial material, colour navy blue; leather buttons; nickel shoulder chains.
Breeches or (Trousers) – Any shade of khaki.
Footwear – Brown leather; any combination that affords cover as high as the calves.
Headdress – Straight brim Stetson, any shade of brown, with leather band and regimental crest and monogram.
Accessories – Brown leather fringed gauntlets;
silk blue and white “bird’s-eye” neckerchief;
regulation LF holster.”
It is unclear if this photograph depicts a member of the British Frontiersmen command or a member of one of the
Canadian Commands. The photograph itself was purchased in Canada but could have originated elsewhere.
Follow the link on this sites links page for more information on the history of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
Special thanks to Mr. Mark Reid, formerly of the Canadian War Museum, Geoff Pocock (U.K. Historian, Legion of
Frontiersmen) and B.W. "Will" Shandro, Countess Moutbatten's Own Legion of Frontiersmen, Edmonton, Canada, for
their invaluable help in identifying this mans organizational affiliation and providing additional information regarding the
Legion cited here.
5 1/4 by 7 inches (13cm x 18cm)
Unknown Canadian Location