Frederick Russell Burnham - ‘King of Scouts’

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    In 1904, Frederick Russell Burnham was to be awarded the Victoria Cross for his valor in Southern Africa, but Burnham declined rather than renounce his U.S. citizenship—a requirement at the time. Instead, he was awarded the British Army's second highest commendation, the Distinguished Service Order.

    During World War I, Burnham was living in California and was active in counterespionage for Britain Much of it involved a famous Boer spy, Capt. Fritz Joubert Duquesne, who became a German spy in both World Wars and claimed to have killed Field Marshal Kitchener while en route to meet with the Russians. During the Second Boer War, Burnham and Duquesne were each under orders to assassinate the other, but it was not until 1910 that the two men first met while both were in Washington, D.C., separately lobbying Congress to pass a bill in favor of the importation of African game animals into the United States (H.R. 23621). Duquesne was twice arrested by the FBI and in 1942 he, along with the 32 other Nazi agents who made up the Duquesne Spy Ring, was sent to prison for espionage in the largest spy ring conviction in U.S. history.

    Theodore Roosevelt wanted to raise a volunteer infantry division for service in France in 1917 shortly after the United States entered the war A plan to raise volunteer soldiers from the Western U.S. came out of a meeting of the New York based Rocky Mountain Club and Burnham was put in charge of both the general organization and recruitment from the Southwest Congress gave Roosevelt the authority to raise up to four divisions similar to the Rough Riders of 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment and to the British Army 25th (Frontiersmen) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers; however, as Commander-in-chief, President Woodrow Wilson refused to make use of Roosevelt's volunteers and the unit disbanded

    Burnham died at 86 on September 1, 1947 of heart failure at his home in Santa Barbara, California. At a private ceremony he was buried at Three Rivers, California, near his old cattle ranch, La Cuesta. His memorial stone was designed by his only surviving child, Roderick.

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