This J.C. Wilson Maple Leaf For Ever Type I patriotic cover does not bear a postage stamp. On February 24, 1900, a Post Office Department circular was issued stating that letters sent from South Africa by Canadian troops on which postage was unpaid or insufficiently paid would be delivered to the addresses without collection of deficient postage.
Transiting through London England, the cover was initially marked “T” for postage due, but was corrected by scribbling out the “T” marking based on the Post Office Department circular.
The cover is addressed to Mr. J.R. McLean of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, from Private James Edward Howes, regimental number 8013, 2nd Special Services Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, 1st Contingent. Pte. Howes, born in Sussex, a tailor by trade, was 22 years old when he enlisted in St. John New Brunswick on March 12, 1900. Howes was single, with his father, James Howes of Sussex NB, as next of kin. Howes was likely part of the force of 100 men and 3 officers who arrived in South Africa in April of 1900 to reinforce the Canadian forces at the front. Two years later, James’ younger brother Ernest would also enlist, shortly before the end of the war. The cover, likely sent in May, bears a London May 25, 1900 cancellation, and it arrived in Sussex June 24, 1900. It bears a Sussex receiver on the back, shown right, along with Song Back No. 11, and inscription type vi, making this variation unknown to Gates, and numbered here as E-3.
James Howes was discharged December 25, 1900, when the duration of his 1 year enlistment had expired, with The Queen’s Medal with 3 clasps: Johannesburg, Cape Colony & Orange Free State.