BOER WAR MEMORIAL
CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA
The Lord Strathcona Horse, a unique Canadian contribution to the Boer War, was a force of five hundred mounted "rough riders" which Lord Strathcona outfitted at his own expense. Headquarters was in Calgary and the regiment became a source of great local pride.
When the war was over, in 1909, an unidentified man was found frozen to death in a field near the city. His only identification was a paper showing he had served in South Africa and had been discharged from the Strathcona's, so fellow veterans rallied to collect funds to provide him with a suitable burial. Later, when his identity had been established, his family in England refunded the money and it became the nucleus of a fund to erect a Boer War monument
Further money was raised through public subscription and in 1911, a noted French-Canadian sculptor was commissioned to create an equestrian statue for Central Park. Because the battle of Spion Kop marked the turning point of the South African campaign, it was decided to depict a private and his mount on the summit of the hill.
A typical Western pony was shipped to Quebec for M. Herbert's use and the man chosen to pose for the soldier was Thomas Henry Johnson, a recent arrival from Ireland. Although he had been a member of the Fourth (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards he had never seen service in South Africa, but he was chosen as typical of the Canadian soldiers who had seen service in the Boer War. Perhaps the choice was more logical than it appears, most of the southern Albertans who had been with the Strathcona's were young British men and recent immigrants to Canada.
The statue was dedicated in June of 1914, and at the time was considered to be one of the four finest equestrian statues in the world, its dimensions being 50% larger than life, the soldier being nine feet tall.
Colonel Macleod Chapter of the I.O.D.E. undertook to finance purchase of the British Columbia granite base.
Location: Twelfth Avenue and Fourth Street Southwest, Calgary, Alberta.