leigh kitchen

The Legion of Frontiersmen

102 posts in this topic

From wikipedia:

The Legion of Frontiersmen is a patriotic organisation formed in Britain in 1905 and designed to bolster the defensive capacity of the British Empire. Prompted by pre-war fears of a pending invasion of Britain, the organisation was founded on a romanticized conception of the "frontier" and imperial idealism. Headquartered in London, branches of the Legion of Frontiersmen were formed throughout the empire to prepare patriots for war and to foster vigilance in peacetime. Despite persistent efforts, the Legion never achieved more than sporadic and tenuous official recognition, but it raised battalions and its members enlisted en masse at the onset of the First World War. Frontiersmen also served as special constables in London for the duration of hostilities. Wartime casualties devastated the Legion of Frontiersmen, and except for a brief resurgence in the interwar period, a series of schisms and sectarianism prevented attempts to reinvigorate the movement. Various Legion of Frontiersmen groups still exist throughout the Commonwealth, but as a whole, it has been unable to define its niche in the post-imperial world.

All Legion members were volunteers. Prior to the First World War, they undertook a number of covert intelligence-gathering and counter-intelligence operations, such as discovering a secret German base in the Caroline Islands, surveying the Kiel Canal with the object of blowing it up in the event of war, and charting the Elbe's defences and minefields. The first British troops in action in 1914 were Frontiersmen, who paid passage for both themselves and their horses. Initially offering their service to the French, who declined, they were accepted by the Belgians, and to this day they retain an official affiliation with the 3?me R?giment de Lanciers. They formed the bulk of the 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, formed in 1915, and won 4 battle honours. In Canada, 35 Frontiersmen joined in the original draft of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, the first Canadian troops to serve in the First World War. They also formed the 210th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, CEF. In the late 1930s, the Legion of Frontiersmen was formally affiliated with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but after a schism split the Canadian Frontiersmen, the RCMP severed formal ties. Still without any formal recognition, Frontiersmen enlisted individually in the Second World War.

Among its more famous members were Jan Smuts, Louis Mountbatten, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Wallace.

The Legion of Frontiersmen seems to be a far cry from what it was at the time of its formation, some elements to have drifted into disrepute, if they ever had any genuine connection to the Legion in the first place.

Here is a scan of an illuminated scroll on vellum that I aquired some years ago along with a copy of the Legions manual which also belonged to Captain Montagu, who would perhaps be the person of the same name referred to here:

http://www.freewebs.com/peerage/manchester.html

DUKEDOM OF MANCHESTER

FAMILY NAME: Montagu

CREATIONS:

In the peerage of England:

Barony of Kimbolton of Kimbolton and Viscountcy of Mandeville 19 December 1620

Earldom of Manchester 5 February 1626

In the peerage of Great Britain:

Created Duke of Manchester 28 April 1719

Monthermer Stanley Hume (London 5 April 1868-Nairobi 31 December 1954); married.Nyambu, Kenya 2 October 1913 Harriet jessie Forbes (Valparaiso, Chile 5 February 1882-26 June 1959)

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A group of WWI / WWII era British campaign medals with the 10 years Long & Efficient Service Medal of the Legion worn unofficially at the end - these medals are to a Pte William McCabe who served with the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys) during WWI & it would appear, the Special Constabulary during WWII.

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ID: 3   Posted (edited)

A number of links to sites concerning the Legion of Frontiersmen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Frontiersmen

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...hl=frontiersmen

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...=70501&st=0

http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol042tc.html

http://legion-of-frontiersmen.net/

http://www.frontiersmen.org.au/

http://wwwhttp://www.frontiersmen.org.au/....iersmen.org.au/

http://www.geocities.com/lionelboxer/legio...austgarden.html

A nice little medal ribbon & emblem chart:

http://www.frontiersmen.org.au/downloads/ribbon_chart.pdf

A wikipedia entry on Keith Payne VC "He joined the Legion of Frontiersmen in 1975 and holds the rank of an Honorary Chief Commissioner."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Payne

It seems dsrepectful to Payne VC to follow an entry about him & his involvement with the Legion of Frontiersmen with these articles, but her they are, the 1st link has some useful information if you can be bothered to wade through the derogatory comments & insults:

http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewto...sc/start=0.html

2 links relating to "imposters":

http://www.anzmi.net/crase/crase.html

http://www.anzmi.net/crase/crase.html

So we have both ends of the spectrum here, from Payne VC & the "reputable" Legion to the other 2 gentlemen & the Walter Mitty fantasist organisations.

I tried to follow the links in order to contact the historian, but they don't work:

http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol042tc.html

Edited by leigh kitchen

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Badge given to Legion members to wear on their lapel.

Source: www.awm.gov.au

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Similarities to the gilt & enamelled version of the 25th Royal Fusiliers cap badge, although I have little knowledge of that style of cap badge & doubts as to whether it was worn by the unit during its existence

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Similarities to the gilt & enamelled version of the 25th Royal Fusiliers cap badge, although I have little knowledge of that style of cap badge & doubts as to whether it was worn by the unit during its existence

I will check the details Leigh, I think this one is from the post Great War period.

Johnsy

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I mean the cap badge rather than your lapel badge - there were quite a few of the cap badges around during the 1980's, attractive but a little gaudy, the Royal Fusiliers flamed grenade in gilt with the union flag design in coloured enamels. They were sold as 25th Bn Royal Fusiliers officers badges.

I'll find an illustration of one.

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ID: 8   Posted (edited)

Picture of the Legion of Frontiersmen - Long & Efficient Service Medal - Australia

Regards,

Johnsy

Edited by Tiger-pie

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ID: 9   Posted (edited)

"The Frontiersman's Pocket - Book""

"Edition For Members Of The Legion Only"

Compiled & edted by Roger Pocock on behalf of the Legion of Frontersmen, published By John Murray, Albermerle St, W. London, 1909, copyright 1909, in the USA.

Named to "M. S. H. Montagu"

Edited by leigh kitchen

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ID: 16   Posted (edited)

One wonders how a much respected organisation at the turn of the century can become so debased overtime. Articles on the L.of.F. did appear in St.Georges Gazette the regimental journal of the Northumberland Fusiliers and in my memory is correct one inlcuded a picture of Roger Pocock the founder of the L.of.F.

As far as I'm aware these men were originally adventurers-cum-Empire builders, not Walter Mitty's and would be possibly be regarded as 'pathfinders' in todays military terms.

Edited by Graham Stewart

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I will get around to posting more scans of the manual, it is an extremely nteresting little book, & as i said, just look at the list of contributors.

The subjects covered - treat yourself for syphilis, cowboy etiquette (similar to never ask a man carrying a shovel where he's going), make your own gunpowder, snowshoes, canoe, bolas, steel traps, bridle, pack saddle, windlass, form your laager, smelt ore........

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I will get around to posting more scans of the manual, it is an extremely nteresting little book, & as i said, just look at the list of contributors.

The subjects covered - treat yourself for syphilis, cowboy etiquette (similar to never ask a man carrying a shovel where he's going), make your own gunpowder, snowshoes, canoe, bolas, steel traps, bridle, pack saddle, windlass, form your laager, smelt ore........

The modern version probably lists how to acquire medals & insignia you are not entitled too and the correct "Walting" etiquette :speechless:

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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Leigh,

Thanks for starting this article. Very interesting. I haven't heard the Legion of Frontiersmen mentioned in Canada for many years. Takes me back to the days when I was in Public School and the maps on the wall were mostly covered in pink for the British Empire. I beleive that as a teenager in Toronto in the 50s I saw memebrs of the Legion of Frontiersmen marching in a military parade but then again that was more than just a few years ago.

Regards,

Gordon

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The modern version probably lists how to acquire medals & insignia you are not entitled too and the correct "Walting" etiquette

I do hope that this GMIC threat will NOT turn into another episode of the arse forum's 200+ pages of sick, mindless, one sided drop kicks at the LOF.

Remember this is a GENTLEMAN'S group

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I once almost had an OBE or MBE group to captain Andrew "Kaid" Belton. OBE/QSA/KSA/Natal1906/trio and on the end of the bar a silver and a bark bronze cross (I think both on a brown and white ribbon) in the middle of the crosses were small union jacks and something about god. I could almost swear they were the same as the center piece of the badge posted by Tiger pie. And he WAS Fusiliers... so it could fit.

anyone know anything about service medals for this lot?

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Here we go.... wikipedia also has an article about him.... he was a biggie in the legion.....

I had his whole group of awards, press cuttings etc in my hands quite often. It was in a suitcase under the bed of a school friend. he and his brother used to play with them.

I offered to buy the group but the father said he could not sell it, an old lady had given it to the boys....

I hate to think where it may be now, 20 years later.....

http://www.themoor.ukf.net/html/history/andrew_belton.html

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I do hope that this GMIC threat will NOT turn into another episode of the arse forum's 200+ pages of sick, mindless, one sided drop kicks at the LOF.

Remember this is a GENTLEMAN'S group

I personally aren't knocking the LOF, nor do I think are our other contributors to this post, but one cannot help wonder what happend to the LOF to end up with the "Walter's" who have brought disrepute to what was a well respected organisation, which consisted of many brave men who helped create the British Empire. Many years ago at an antiques fair at Brancepeth Castle, I actually saw an early pattern LOF uniform for sale complete with lemon squeazer and often wonder who it had belonged to. It was tempting to buy it at the time but as I was skint I had to leave it.

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I do hope that this GMIC threat will NOT turn into another episode of the arse forum's 200+ pages of sick, mindless, one sided drop kicks at the LOF.

Remember this is a GENTLEMAN'S group

It is certainly not my intention to run down the L.O.F., however

there seems to be more than enough evidence to prove they have a problem

with some of their members and their members attitudes and dress conduct.

As the old adage goes there is no smoke without fire.

I agree also with Graham and Chris, with regards wondering how such a noble institution

has ended up being in the situation it is in?

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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