Topic of the Month
Vancouver: The local unit of the Legion of Frontiersmen early in the First War.
In June 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made a Royal Visit to Canada. At the time, the Legion of Frontiersmen were officially affiliated to the R.C.M.P. and were proud to be on official duty at a number of places across Canada. At Edmonton, a command was given to Lt.Col. Louis Scott, D.C.M. to be presented to the King, who remembered Scott as Commandant of the R.A.F. Central School of Instruction when the then "Captain, Prince Albert" had to report there for training. It is evident that King George VI always maintained an interest in the activities of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
Edmonton: The Legion of Frontiersmen were the first to join up. D Company of the 49th Bn C.E.F. was under the local commandant of the Legion of Frontiersmen, Major J.D. Willson. Willson was responsible for the dispatch of 300 recruits to Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Early in the War, Frontiersmen from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, joined P.P.C.L.I. Later on, the 210th (Frontiersmen) Battalion C.E.F. was formed there under the command of Lt.Col. W.E. Seaborn.
The Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth
Phase I: The Plan 1904-1914,
Phase II: The Great War 1914-1918,
World War I (Great War) era witnesses Frontiersmen throughout the Empire answer the ‘Call to Arms’. Legionnaires enlist in a variety of units. LF involvement has been noted in units:
Legion of Frontiersmen throughout the Empire fade substantially as a reported 6,000 to 9,000 Frontiersmen were killed in the Great War. The era of Irregular mounted rifles and scouts fade into history. In Canada few active LF units exist. The only documents retrieved to date indicate that units exist on the west Coast and past email communications indicate the possibility of a Toronto unit. “The 9,000” eventually becomes a toast in LF gatherings and Mess dinners.
Larry B. Blaine of Croydon, UK moved to Edmonton and by late 1929 begins to recruit for the Legion of Frontiersmen. His most notable recruit is Lt. Colonel Louis Scott DCM a former WW1 ‘Patricia’ and former CO of the Edmonton Regiment. Louis Scott takes charge and under his leadership the LF:
Phase V: The World War II Era,
By the outbreak of WW2 in 1939 organizational squabbling saw the LF in Canada divided into two camps. The “Legion of Frontiersmen” numbering an estimated 3000 members and was led by Louis Scott; while other Frontiersmen formed the “Corps of Imperial Frontiersmen”, a largely eastern based unit. Regardless of the administrative split all Frontiersmen threw themselves into the war effort. The younger and the fit members joined a variety of wartime units. Those debarred by age or fitness concentrated ARP and other home front war efforts. - Once again wartime efforts depleted the LF ranks and organizational structures.
In 1947 Louis Scott DCM rallied former Frontiersmen, patriotic citizens, and a new generation of young veterans into the Legion of Frontiersmen. Concurrently a smaller Corps of Imperial Frontiersmen reorganize during the same period. During this era the LF appeals to some WW2 veterans. Frontiersmen re focus and engage in
The British Empire was in decline and the same enthusiasm that spawned the LF of 1904 is no longer a Canadian reality. This plus the nuclear age, the Cold War, the anti-Vietnam War sentiments and preponderance of older veterans do not stimulate the interest of new and younger members. The overall LF does not grow much beyond the 600 to 700 members attained by the early 1960s.
While numbers declined significantly by the 1980s some units were still active in the regions of Vancouver, Edmonton, and Regina in particular. Edmonton area was still dynamic, developing its Field HQ for camping and sailing activities for youth and cadet groups. Funds were raised for charitable activities. Smaller groups carried on elsewhere including Quebec, but overall the Legion had almost faded away by the 1990s. Efforts to rally an aging LF were unsuccessful on a national level. – Most unfortunately, self-styled associations evolved usurping uniform, history and traditions of the authentic LF formed in 1904-05.
Worldwide, a small number of members commit to maintaining the Remembrance, the traditions, loyalties, and fellowship of the Legion of Frontiersmen. The Countess Mountbatten of Burma generously extended her Patronage and her title to the original and authentic association; a reminder of her grandfather’s interests in the Legion of Frontiersmen during its formative era.
With the efforts and assistance of University of Alberta representatives, a determined focus has been made to gather and to accurately preserve the unique story of the Legion of Frontiersmen and its eccentric Founder Roger Pocock. (see Outrider of Empire published by University of Alberta Press).
Thanks and acknowledgements are due to Will Shandro for supplying the details for this page and for his general assistance and advice.
Canada Timeline Part One