Formed in 1904 by Roger Pocock, an Englishman who had served in the North West Mounted Police and in South Africa. One of the Legion’s earliest members was HRH Prince Louis of Battenberg, whose grand-daughter, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, is our current Patron.
From the very start, the Legion of Frontiersmen had a strong ethos of loyalty, duty and service to Crown and Country. This loyalty was put to the test 10 years after the Legion’s formation, in the First World War.
Indeed, Frontiersmen were among the very first Britons to go into battle against Germany in 1914.
The British Government initially declined to allow the Legion to form its own unit within the British Army, so, in order to get into action against the Germans the members of H Troop of the Legion of Frontiersmen joined the Belgian Army instead!
These Frontiersmen are recorded as having fought with great distinction alongside their Belgian comrades as part of the 3rd Lancers as early as October 1914.
In 1915 the War Office in London finally authorized the formation of a battalion of Frontiersmen within the British Army, and this became the 25th (Service) Bn. Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen), who took part in the hard-fought East Africa campaign, 1915-17, winning many medals and awards, including a Victoria Cross. In recognition of the role played by the Frontiersmen battalion in Africa, the Royal Fusiliers gained the following battle honours: “Kilimanjaro”, “Behobeho”, “Nyangao” and “East Africa 1915-17”. At one point they even captured an Imperial German battle flag which is on display at the Royal Fusiliers Museum.
The connection between Belgium and the Legion of Frontiersmen continues to this day, with Frontiersmen from the City of London & Colour Squadron playing a part in the annual ceremony of Relais Sacre (the lighting of the Sacred Flame) at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. This ceremony takes place every year just before Armistice Day.
You can read more about the early years of the Legion of Frontiersmen on our historians website: