In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Regimental History
Lord Strathcona
The Dominion of Canada, at the end of the 19th century, was governed by men who were keen to support Britain, so when the prospect of war in South Africa loomed in 1899 the offer was made to the British government that Canada would supply troops for the war. The armaments, equipment and transport would be paid for by Canada. The offer was accepted on the condition that no more than 1000 men were involved and that half the expense be covered by Britain. The population of Canada at that time was 3.5 million and there were many eager to join the fight. The 1000 men of the first Canadian Contingent felt themselves to be the lucky ones. So at the end of October 1899 they set sail under the command of Lt-Col W D Otter to fight for God and Empire.

The Canadians were obviously champing at the bit because on the 7th November another offer was made to the British of a second Contingent, consisting of cavalry, mounted infantry and artillery. Such was the enthusiasm that the Canadian Government offered 12,000 men, but again numbers were limited. In the midst of this Empire fervour, the Canadian millionaire, Lord Strathcona offered to raise and equip a mounted regiment to put at the disposal of the British government. The North West Mounted Police were to provide the commanding officer, Sam Steele and a large proportion of the personnel as can be seen from the list of officers.

Amongst the other ranks were to be found people from many different classes and backgrounds; a former naval officer called Beresford who was a cousin of the Marquis of Waterford; the son of Colonel Warren RHA; the son of a Baronet called Shaw; the Hon Mr Cochrane son of Lord Dundonald; Lord Seymour. They were all in one troop.

South Africa
Mounted Troop in Quebec 1900
Mounted Troop in Quebec 1900
Strathcona's Horse landed in Cape Town on 10th April 1900. Up until then Lord Strathcona had covered the costs but the regiment was funded by the British Government as soon as they arrived. They proved invaluable to the British as scouts as well as fighters. Lord Roberts commanded the British at the time and was keen to put the war on a better footing following the recent disaters at Koorn Spruit and Reddersburg. Mafeking was still under siege and preparations for 'The Great Advance' were being made at Bloemfontein. The mounted Infantry division was commanded by General Ian Hamilton. This was divided into 2 brigades under Generals Hutton and Ridley. Hutton's brigade consisted of 4 corps, the first of which contained the Royal Canadian Dragoons under Colonel Lessard, Herchmer's Mounted Rifles and Strathcona's Horse under Colonel Sam Steele. The other 3 corps were made up of Australian Light Horse regiments.

King, 1901
King Presenting Medals
Hamilton's Division was to operate on the right wing of the army, performing a sweeping movement along the Winberg, Ventersburg and Kroonstadt roads. Strathcona's were involved in continuous fighting in small engagements until Kroonstadt was captured. Roberts's army moved on to Johannesburg and reached Pretoria by June 1900. But the war continued until the end of February 1901.

Mounted Troop in Quebec 1900
Presentation to Col Steele
When Strathcona's Horse returned to Canada, it was covered in glory but followed the way of many of the units raised for the war and was disbanded in 1903. However it was reconstituted in 1909, this time with a more striking full dress and the additional title of Royal Canadians.

World War One
In 1915 the regiment moved out of Valcartier Camp and went to France serving as an infantry unit in the 1st Canadian Division. But by early 1916 they were again a mounted force. They fought until 1918 and gained two VCs and many DCMs for their bravery. The regiment celebrates the anniversary of Moreuil Wood where Lt Flowerdew led the heroic charge. After the war, they were established at Calgary and Winnipeg whereas before the War they had a squadron each in Toronto and St Jean.
World War Two
The regiment had been mechanised between the wars and acted as a motorcycle unit in July 1940. When they became the 2nd Armoured Regiment in 1941 they trained on Ram tanks in England and were part of the invasion force landing in Scicily. They worked their way up through Italy where they fought one of their most famous battles at Melfa Crossing. They established a bridgehead there, holding it against a sustained German attack by infantry and tanks. They continued up into Northern Europe, helping to liberate Holland. In the latter part of the war they drove Sherman tanks. These were again in operation in Korea in 1951.

The post-War years saw Strathcona's in Germany, Sinai, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosova and Afghanistan. In 1996 they moved their base from Calgary to Edmonton.

Lady Strathcona's Riding Club
The Zipperheads
HRH Prince Charles
Hon Colonels
1900 -
VC Winners
1900 -
1900 -
30th March Moreuil Wood

24th May Melfa Crossing

Soldiers of the Queen
Battle Honours
South Africa
World War One
1916, 1918
Flers Courcelette
1917, 1918
St Quentin
Hindenberg Line
St Quentin Canal
Pursuit to Mons
France and Flanders
World War Two
Liri Valley
Gothic Line
Lamone Crossing
Pozzo Alto Ridge
Misano Ridge
Naviglio Canal
Fosso Munio
N W Europe
Suggested Reading
Learning the Hard Way: The Leadership Experiences of Lieutenant Agar Adamson During the South African War, 1899-1901
by Craig Leslie Mantle

Strathcona's Horse

The Canadian Mounted Rifles
The Royal Canadian Mounted Rifles
Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
Lord Strathcona's Horse (2nd Armoured Regiment)


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by Stephen Luscombe