7 3/8 Inches by 4 7/8 Inches
(19cm x 12.5cm)
F. J. Lee - Photographer
Tocama, Washington, United States
While it is a historical fact that the United States and Canada did nearly come to blows in the Pacific Northwest once upon a
time, the title of this post in actuality simply notes the rather unusual combination of subject matter and location exhibited
together in this early 20th Century photograph.
Dating from sometime after the turn last century the photograph depicts a member of what was in all likelihood a Canadian
Highland Regiment who at some point in his career managed to find his way across the border of the United States, in
uniform, to have his portrait taken in Tacoma, Washington State. My assumption as to this soldier being Canadian – besides
the photographer’s proximity to Canada – is the lack of collar badge on his uniform. All Highland regiments associated with
the British Army had and still have (in the case of todays single Royal Highland Regiment) very distinctive collar devices.
The Canadian Highland regiment raised closest to Washington State are the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada which where
first organized at Vancouver, British Columbia in 1910. This photograph dates from around that time even if the soldier’s
uniform looks a bit earlier than that, perhaps the 1890s. In some ways the photograph looks like an older image that may
have been re-photographed by Tacoma based photographer F. J. Lee. If this the case this soldier could have been a member
of another Canadian Highland regiment or battalion who had relocated after his years with the colours to western Canada or
even the United States. If F. J. Lee had the soldier pose facing the other direction all of this pondering would be a moot point
since we would be able to see the regimental badge on his glengarry cap.
This soldier appears to be wearing a scarlet, seven button tunic with what was probably a dark blue or black collar, He also
appears to be wearing his whitened buff leather equipment harness which may have been of the Valise or later Slade-Wallace
pattern. On his head is a regulation glengarry ace with a red and white diced band which probably also sported a standard red
I performed a rather cursory online search and have decided that this photograph could not be the result of a long forgotten
Canadian invasion of Tacoma, Washington. A good number of geographically impaired Americans think Tacoma is in fact
located in Canada so one would understand its invasion having gone unnoticed.