Major Arthur L. (“Gat”) Howard (1846-1901)
Commanding Officer, Canadian Scouts
An American by birth, and an officer in the Connecticut National Guard, Howard was sent north by the Colt Firearms Company to operate a Gatling gun that the company had loaned to the Canadian militia for use in the Northwest Campaign of 1885. A colourful and charismatic character, he soon became something of a hero of that campaign, and was given his nickname "Gat" by the popular press. He stayed in Canada, and became quite wealthy as a major shareholder in the Dominion Cartridge Factory. Howard offered to provide a battery of four machine guns at his own expense for service in the South African War. The Department of Militia and Defence refused his offer, although Howard accepted the position of machine gun officer in the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles (later called the Royal Canadian Dragoons).
Howard, in his mid-fifties, was an aggressive, fearless leader who fought the Boers at close quarters.
Instead of returning home with his unit in December 1900, Howard organized the Canadian Scouts and took command of the unit. He was killed in action on 17 February 1901. Major Howard's impressive military exploits were among the most dramatic in the history of Canada's participation in the South African War.