This J.C. Wilson Anglo-Saxon League Type E-3 cover was sent from Montreal May 1, 1900 to No. 7695, Lance Corporal D.C. Sword of “E” Company in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, Field Force, South Africa. The letter was probably sent from his mother, Mary, listed as his next of kin in his attestation papers, living at 165 Atwater Avenue in Montreal. His service number, 7695, is incorrectly listed, as his brother Andrew had the number 7695, while Duncan Sword’s number was 7694. Both brothers enlisted October 23, 1899, and on October 30, 1899, the eight companies (A to H) of the First Contingent set sail from Quebec for Cape Town aboard the “Sardinian” of the Allan Line. The 44 officers and 995 men arrived November 29, 1899 in South Africa.

Both brothers were discharged November 4, 1900. Duncan, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, was 23 years old at the time of enlistment, while Andrew, born at S. Camp, Aldershot, England, was 24. On September 18, 1901, Duncan received the South Africa Medal with clasps for Paadeberg, Drefontein, Cape Colony and Transvaal from HRH. A detailed description of medals issued during the Boer War can be found here.

The Montreal Flag A cancellation was likely on a 2¢ stamp that subsequently fell off the cover.

The reverse of the cover bears Song Back No. 4, with The Star-Spangled Banner and The Old Union Jack lyrics.