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Early Cap Badges of the Strathcona’s Horse

January 25, 2020

By Anthony Sewards, CD

The Strathcona’s Horse was formally authorized under Militia Order Number 26/00 1 February 1900; as “Strathcona’s Horse.” The Strathcona’s embarked for South Africa on 16 March 1900, on the Elder Dempster Liner, H.M. Transport “Monterey”. There the unit fought as part of the 3rd Mounted Brigade and 4th Infantry Brigade, II Division, until its departure from the theatre of operations on 20 January 1901. Upon its return to Canada on 9 March 1901, Strathcona’s Horse was disbanded in Halifax.

The cap and collar badges that were issued to the unit were based on the personal crest and coat of arms Sir Donald A. Smith, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, which he had adopted from those of the North West and Hudson Bay Companies.

S T R A T H C O N A’ S H O R S E
Regimental Order
-0-0-0-0-0

S.S. Monterey, 5th April 1900

By Lt. Col. Steele, Commanding, Troops on Board

R.O. 262 – 05-04-1900

The Q-master will issue at once the letters “S H” for the shoulder straps and the badges for the collars and service caps.

The letters “S H” will be placed on each shoulder strap, One (1) inch above the seam and three-eights ( 3/8 ) inch apart.

The badges will be placed on service caps three (3) inches from front seam and one (1) inch above the seam on the left side.

The badges on collar of Rifle Green Serge, one (1) inch from the edge of collar on either side.

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Arms of Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona, c. 1900.

“Lord Strathcona’s Coat of Arms being a shield with a demi lion rampant is the Red Lion of Scotland, Lord Strathcona’s native land. The railroad spike and hammer represent his connection with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and records the fact that he drove the last spike signifying the completion of this cross country railroad on 7 November 1885. The canoe bearing the flag with “NW” on it shows his connection with the development of the northwest and the North West Company. The crown (baron’s cornet) surmounting the badge signifies that the Regiment is a “Royal” regiment; an honour granted the Regiment by the sovereign, General Order 153/1903, October 1903.

There are two versions of the cap badge, one in “Gilt” for officers and one in bronze for the non commissioned officers. The pair of issued collar dogs were of bronze and manufactured by WS Scully.

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Officer’s issued badge in Gilt.

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Non Commissioned Officer’s badge in Bronze.

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Officer’s issued cap and collar badges.

Shoulder titles were made of brass, and issued to the troops, in the form of a brass “S & H “, there was also a brass shoulder title with “Strathcona’s Horse” in an oval pattern. Some were having been noted as being made on route to South Africa of various styles of “S & H”.

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The SH in the picture is 1 inch by 7/8 inch.
Courtesy Museum Of the Regiments, Calgary, AB

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The Strathcona’s Horse oval badge is 1 1/2 inch by 2 inches.
Image courtesy of Capt. M. W. Clare, CD, (Retired) Collection, Calgary, AB

 

 

References:

Cunniffe, R. Uniforms and Insignia of the Regiment, sections 3 , Badges, Insignia and Buttons of the Regiment. 1982.

Cunniffe, R. The Story of a Regiment: Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). Calgary: Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 1995.

Department of Militia and Defence. Strathcona’s Horse in the South African War 1899-1902. Sessional Paper No. 35a. Ottawa: S.E. Dawson, 1901.

Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) Regimental manual.

 

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