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Samuel Benfield Steele

(1849—1919) army officer and officer of the North-West Mounted Police in Canada


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(1849–1919), mounted policeman, soldier. Born and raised near Orillia, Ontario, Steele came to the North-West Mounted Police by way of the militia and the Red River Expedition. He was one of the original members in 1873, enlisting as staff constable. He rose quickly through the ranks to inspector in 1878 and superintendent in 1885. In 1883–5 he supervised construction of the CPR across the prairies and into British Columbia. When the North-West Rebellion broke out in 1885 he organized Steele's Scouts from ranchers and mounted policemen in Alberta. The unit carried out reconnaissance for the Alberta Field Force during the pursuit of Big Bear. In 1898 and 1899, he commanded the NWMP in the Yukon at the height of the gold rush. In 1900 Steele left the NWMP to command Lord Strathcona's Horse in the South African War. After helping Lord Baden-Powell organize the South African Constabulary, he returned to Canada in 1907 as a colonel and was appointed to command Military District No. 10 (Alberta). In 1915, then a major-general, he was given command of the 2nd Canadian Division. Judged too old to lead the division in combat, he was appointed to command the Southeastern District of England in 1916. He died in London.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.


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