This very rare J.C. Wilson patriotic WLS-E10 Soldiers of the Queen (Redesign) cover was postally used from Montreal on October 8, 1900 to Trooper R.T. Wilson, Kitchener’s Horse, Cape Town, South Africa, bearing a 2¢ QV Numeral stamp with a Montreal flag cancel. The cover, of which only a heavily worn front remains, was marked “TO BE FORWARDED”, and was forwarded to Vredefort.
Kitchener’s Horse was a “Colonial/Locally recruited” unit. According to the nominal rolls, “men who served in these units were from all over the Empire and included British, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African and a huge range of other nationals”.
Trooper Robert Talbot Wilson, no. 25361, may be the son of James Wilson, born in Ontario, and Elizabeth Wilson, born in England, who resided in Beauharnois, Quebec, in the Greater Montreal area, as recorded in the 1901 census. Robert T. Wilson was born on March 22, 1877, and was 23 years old and single at the time this cover was mailed. Trooper R.T. Wilson was discharged November 26, 1900 as medically unfit.
Around the time this cover was sent, according to “The Colonials In South Africa, 1899-1902, Their Record, Based On The Despatches” by John Stirling, “when De Wet left the Reitzburg Hills Kitchener's Horse again crossed to the north of the Vaal and operated under Ridley, Hart, Clements, and other commanders in the district west of Johannesburg and Pretoria. In the despatch of 10th October 1900 Lord Roberts mentioned that "De Lisle's corps of mounted infantry was withdrawn from Clements' column and moved by rail on 17th September to Rhenoster, where it was joined by 250 men of Kitchener's Horse from Kroonstad". The work of De Lisle's men is briefly sketched under the 1st and 2nd New South Wales Mounted Infantry. This portion of Kitchener's Horse took part in the pursuit of De Wet on the south side of the Vaal and other operations under General C Knox in the Kroonstad district during September, October, and November, and were present on 27th October when 2 guns were captured at Rensburg, and in the very successful action of Bothaville on 6th November when 6 guns, a pom-pom, a maxim, and 130 prisoners were taken.”