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Abstract

The Legion of Frontiersmen, founded in 1904 by a quixotic writer and adventurer, Roger Pocock, attempted to create a paramilitary force that would serve the empire both as an irregular scouting force in time of war and as an intelligence network through its ‘frontier’ connections. Although the organization's global membership reached 10,000 by the beginning of the First World War the legion's requests for official recognition were consistently rebuffed and the picturesque nature of its uniforms often caused public mockery. Nevertheless, a study of these ‘super patriots’ provides new perspectives on several important cultural and political themes in Britain and the empire in the early twentieth century, including the significance of the ‘frontier’ in imperial discourse. It also questions several assumptions about the supposed ‘militarization’ of Edwardian society.