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THE FOUNDING OF A REGIMENT - January 15th 1900 9 years 10 months ago #2032

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January 15th. 1900:

Following letter addressed by Lord Strathcona to Lord Lansdowne:-

53, Cadogan Square,
15th. January 1900

"Dear Lord Lansdowne,

As promised when I had the pleasure of seeing you on Saturday, I now send for your information a copy of the telegram I have since forwarded to Sir Wilfred Laurier, and which was read to you before being dispatched.

I was greatly concerned at the premature publication of the proposal, for, as I stated to you, I wished my name to be withheld. You will notice what I have said to Sir Wilfred Laurier about it. I am arranging for the immediate organization of the force (which may be increased in numbers, which I presume will not be unacceptable to you) and for its despatch to South Africa as early as possible. I only hope that it may prove to be of service to H.M. Government in connection with the war that has been forced upon us.

Believe me,
Yours very truly,
(Signed) Strathcona"

Copy of telegram to Sir Wilfred Laurier referred to:-

"Much concerned matter allowed to become public prematurely through medium of Ottawa press, as wished withhold name but secrecy no longer possible. H.M. Government now accept my proposition and it may be announced. Proposal is that 400 men should be recruited in Manitoba, the North West and British Columbia. Unmarried men, expert marksmen, at home in the saddle, and thoroughly efficient as rough riders and scouts. Horses preferred from North West, to be purchased by McEachran.

Men to be engaged on same terms as, and equipped like, Canadian Contingents. All officers and men to be passed medically under arrangements to be made by Dr. James Stewart of Montreal.

They will be armed, equipped, conveyed to South Africa at my expense and paid till arrival there, but I will accept no other responsibility.

Imperial Government takes over force on arrival, like Colonial Contingents, returning men to Canada after campaign, but retaining horses, arms and equipment, except clothing and necessaries.

Matter of course to be non-political, only qualification being thorough fitness and suitability of officers and men for service required.

Grateful to you for use organization Militia Department which will assure every economy compatible with fullest efficiency and thorough equipment of force.

Officers to be nominated by [him] Minister of Militia, and names and particulars submitted my approval.

All accounts connected with the force till its embarkation [endorsed-by-General-Htitton] will be paid by Mr. E. S. Clouston, General Manager, Bank of Montreal.

Any stores or equipment not obtainable in Canada will purchase here as done for other contingents. Am enquiring about transport and will cable further. Please telegraph meantime how soon likely to be ready to start."

January 15th. 1900:

53 Cadogan Square,
15 January 1900.

"Dear Mr. Chamberlain,

Many thanks for your letter of the 12th inst. I saw Lord Lansdowne on Saturday and read to him a telegram I propose to forward to Sir Wilfred Laurier. He approved of its terms and I now send a copy for your information. It was despatched, I may state, on Saturday.

I was very much concerned indeed that the matter was allowed to become public in Ottawa, as I wished my name withheld in the meantime, as I informed you on more than one occasion. However, secrecy is no longer possible, and you will see what I have stated to Sir Wilfred Laurier on the subject.

I have made all my arrangements as far as they can be done at present, for the immediate organization of the force (which may be increased in number), and I hope they will get away from Halifax without any unnecessary delay.

I can only trust now that my little force may be of some use to H. M. Government in the war that has been forced upon us, and upon the issue of which such matters of vital importance to the Empire depend.

Believe me,
Yours very truly,
(Signed) Strathcona

January 15th. 1900:

Letter from Lord Strathcona to the Under Secretary of State for War:-

53, Cadogan Square, S.W.
January 15th, 1900.


I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 13th. inst., in which you inform me that the Marquis of Lansdowne has been good enough to accept the offer made by me to provide and send to South Africa two Squadrons of mounted men from the North West of Canada.

I shall be glad to take advantage of the suggestion you have been good enough to make, and to place myself in communication with the Adjutant General of the Forces as to details, and with the Military Secretary as regards officers.

Believe me,
Yours very truly,
(Signed) Strathcona
Life Member
Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591

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