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Early Cap Badges of the School of Mounted Infantry

February 4, 2020

By Anthony Sewards, CD

The School of Mounted Infantry was authorized as of 20th July, 1885 to be stationed at Winnipeg Manitoba at Fort Osborne Barracks, with recruiting starting in September 1885 with GO #21/85, Two companies with Officers, 50 men and 25 horses each, were to be organized as one company for administrative purposes, and the other comprised of a School of Instruction (School Company of Mounted Infantry). As the new unit was classed as mounted infantry the uniform was similar to the ones issued to the Infantry School Corps. A glengarry type (wedge) cap,  a scarlet tunic with blue facings, blue trousers with a red welt (stripe) on each leg, and a red sash for sergeants.

By 1887, the School was re-designated: Royal School of Mounted Infantry on 15 July 1887 by General Order 13/87. The school was issued riding breaches called pantaloons; they were blue with the red welt on the side. A forage cap (pill box) of blue with a yellow band with a small red pompom, and the white Foreign Service helmet, made of cork with a star pattern front badge with “Mounted Infantry” on the ribband /garter, with a right facing beaver in the centre with red cloth backing. The Royal School of Mounted Infantry was re-designated again as the Royal School of Instruction 7 August 1891 by General Order 15/91.

On the 1887 Field Service Cap and Forage Cap were badges of the School that were of a bullion monogram type of badge, Company of Mounted Infantry. (CMI)

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     Company of Mounted Infantry Badge ( line drawing taken from photo)

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Helmet plate as used for the issued Foreign Service  helmet.

 

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Officer’s Glengary Badge , Gilt and silver (Author’s Collection)

According to GO No.103, 1st July 1901, a Permanent Force unit of mounted rifles were to be formed in Winnipeg, formed as A Squadron, Canadian Mounted Rifles. The new badge with an Edwardian (ERI) cypher surmounted by a Tudor Crown, with a smaller version used as collar dogs, with a mounted rifle “MR” used as shoulder titles. The trousers and riding breeches now had the red welt replaced by the thick yellow stripe in 1903, as dress regulations changed for units of the Permanent Force units. Originally, riding breeches were quite snug to the leg, but in 1900, a fuller leg was authorized, with yellow being the standard military colour used by Calvary troops.

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School CMR Cap,Collar and Shoulder Titles all Scully Marked. (Author’s Collection)

 

In GO # 412, dated 22 December 1903, permission was granted for the prefix “Royal” to be added to the cap badge and now to be known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles “RCMR”. The unit started to use the King Edward cypher with a banner underneath with “Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles”. Also, a regular Royal Cypher type badge with a pin fastener was used on the Foreign Service helmet.

 

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RCMR Collection, LdSH (RC) Regimental Museum Collection. Photo: Mr Grant Dyck

 

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Cap badge Puragree style ( pin fastener) ,Collar dogs and Shoulder Title all Scully Marked. (Author’s Collection) 

In September 1909, Lord Strathcona and Colonel Sam Steele inspected the RCMR at Osborne Barracks, and following that inspection it was asked if they would like to adopt a change in title to “ Strathcona’s Horse” to perpetuate the famous name “Strathcona’s Horse” in the Canadian Permanent Active Militia. And it was granted in GO #111, October 9th, 1909.

 

And that is for another story……..

——
References:

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

Cunniffe, R. Story of a Regiment, manuscript 1962, printed 1995.

Brooker, C. Badges of the Canadian Army 1920 to Unification, pg 116,120,121 , Volume # 3, 2013 and CEF online files Part 3 Cavalry, source Canadiansoldiers.ca

Mazeas,D. Canadian Militia Cap Badges Pre 1914, pg 30/31. 1990

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

 

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