William Osborne Smith



September 25, 1873 - October 17, 1873

Smith had served as a British Army officer in the Crimean War before coming to Canada and settling in Montreal. Because of the Fenian threat in the mid 1860s Smith joined the Canadian militia. In 1871 he was given command of Militia District No.10 in Manitoba. On September 25, 1873 he was appointed for a temporary period first Commissioner of the newly created mounted police force. Proceeding with its mobilization, Smith swore in the first members at Lower Fort Garry, supplied uniforms from militia stores and commenced training. When he was relieved by his permanent successor George Arthur French, he continued in the militia and oversaw the signing of Treaty No.4 in 1874. He left the militia department in 1881 and ran successfully for both federal and provincial office. Smith died on May 11, 1887 at 54 years of age, during a visit to his native Wales.

Smith's uniform here is a British staff officer's red tunic with gold cord and lace.


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by Stephen Luscombe