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Leckie Boots on Salisbury Plain – The Quartermaster’s Testimonial

October 26, 2015

1915 army quartermaster touts Leckie BootsIn January 1915 a Vancouver newspaper advertisement for the J Leckie company, included a testimonial letter from a Canadian army quartermaster stationed in England. The letter was written around Christmastime, 1914, and its author must have been among the first troops to go overseas.

Leckie’s Tannery, at South Westminster supplied the Vancouver factory with leather for boots and shoes.

J Leckie was also a large supplier of fishing gear, logging and mining gear.

It is rather a surprise for us to find that soldiers could wear their own gear and we wonder what other items were preferred to army-issued clothing and equipment.

The ad ran for only a short time. Sounds genuine enough, but veers a bit Peterman at the close.


Leckie Boots at Salisbury Plain
Canadian Quartermaster says they are
“better adapted for active military work than any boots I have seen issued to either Imperial or Colonial troops.”

7th Batt. Can Inf
(1st BC Rgt)
Larkhill Camp
Salisbury Plain

Messrs Leckie & Co
Shoe Manufacturers

I am prompted in writing this letter by seeing a pair of your boots today which have been through all the arduous work this battalion has had since we left Vanouver and they are still in splendid condition. The wearer says he had them for nearly a year before he left and they certainly look as though they would stand another year.
They appear to me to be better adapted for active military work than any boot I have seen issued to either Imperial or Colonial troops.
There is quite a number of your boots (privately owned) among the men of this battalion, and they all seem to find good satisfaction, especially the cruisers boot (half high) or calf boot.
Wishing you the compts of the season.
I am
yours truly
Jno. M. Macmillan
Q.M. 7th Batt.

Manufactured by J. Leckie Co., Ltd., Vancouver, B.C.

John McClarty Macmillan c1904

JM Macmillan at the time of his wedding to Bella Ewen in 1904. One of a series of photographs donated by his daughter to the New Westminster Public Library.

John McClarty Macmillan (1871 – 1950)

John M Macmillan was born in Scotland in 1871 and came to British Columbia in 1894 where he was employed in the fishing industry.

In 1900 he left for Australia. His obituary credits him with enlisting in the New South Wales Bushman and seeing action in the Boer War.

Returning to British Columbia, Macmillan in 1902 went to the Skeena River and established the Cassiar Packing Co, afterward residing in Vancouver.

In 1904 he was married to Isabella Ewen, second daughter of pioneer Fraser River canneryman Alexander Ewen, at the Ewens’ home at Royal Avenue and Sixth Street, New Westminster.

Lt Col John M MacmillanMacmillan enlisted with the 7th Battalion, 1st BC Regiment,  in the First World War, going overseas in September 1914.

Evidently Macmillan signed up again to fight in the Second World War. However his true age being discovered he was discharged after a few days service.

JM Macmillan died in Shaughnessy Hospital May 12, 1950.




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