Monday, August 1, 2016

Digging More Cyprus Hills Dirt

Once the unpleasant drudgery of completing the mounting of four MacDuff companies onto trays was done I decided to treat myself by basing up some of my aging 54mm toy soldiers and then resumed my investigation into the mysterious Cyprus Hills Expedition.

The Hochelaga Fusiliers practicing Skirmishers and Supports drill under the watchful eye of the General.

I'm not quite ready to name names yet but my investigation is progressing. It is hard to fathom how this whole thing could have been so hushed up if it was part of such a well covered campaign as the NorthWest Rebellion so I decided to cast my net further. The late 19th Century  was a period of rapid development and I doubt that a war, even a small one, could have been hushed up. I decided to start looking at the 1870's. It didn't take long for clues to start adding up.

The late 1860's and 70's were tumultuous years. South of the border these were the days of the classic Wild West, of Indian Wars and of Rail Barons racing to win and lose fortunes. North of the border the threat from the Fenians helped push four British colonies into Confederation only to have new troubles arise when Canada's acquisition of Rupert's Land brought armed rebellion, lawlessness and renewed Fenian threats.

The 1873 Cyprus Hills Massacre is often cited as a reason for the formation of the NorthWest Mounted Police but in fact they were already proclaimed and forming when that incident took place. The initial proposal was actually for a military regiment of Mounted Rifles not a police force and it sometimes seems odd that a government so ready to starve and cheat the native population should suddenly be so much in a hurry to give them the protection of the law.  The original proposal seems more likely given the 1870 Red River Rebellion, the 1871 Fenian Raid on Pemberton ( or debacle if you prefer) as well as the danger that the American Indian Wars would spill over the border.

So what happened between the 1871 Fenian fiasco and the 1873 Cyprus Hills Massacre that downscaled  the need for a military force to the need for a Constabulary? Could it have something to with the mysterious lost Expedition? We know from his memoirs that Flashman was in the area at the time, it's a pity he is silent on the issue.

Our investigative reporters are on it and new information is sure to appear soon.


  1. There's going to be trouble if Flashman is around!, Tony

  2. Ross Mac,

    You've whetted our appetite so don't leave it too long before you tell us the truth behind the events at Cyprus Hills!

    All the best,


    1. From here the truth will be out as soon as I invent it!

  3. I'm excitedly curious, Ross! Also, I am curious if the top female settler is tossing a duck out of her bucket at the passing troops? Great looking minis!

    1. Not sure exactly what is in the bucket but pretty sure I wouldn't want it thrown on me.