It was at Fort Qu’Appelle that General Middleton commenced the real preparations for the campaign against the Métis during the 1885 Resistance. Middleton empowered Captain French, an Irish officer who had been in the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), to raise a mounted force in the vicinity of Fort Qu’Appelle. French had served in various military establishments before he joined the NWMP and received many honours for his horsemanship. This mounted troop, known as French’s Scouts, joined the 10th Royal Grenadiers from Toronto and the Winnipeg Field Battery under the command of artillery officer Lieutenant-Colonel C.E. Montizambert, to form the west-bank column that would march from Qu’Appelle to Batoche. French’s Scouts, along with the rest of Montizambert’s, column was about two miles away on the left bank of the river when Métis attacked Middleton’s forces. By the time the column arrived, the battle was over.
On May 12, 1885, Captain John French was killed in combat. Following his death, French’s Scouts were re-named Brittlebank’s Scouts after Lieutenant William Brittlebank. Brittlebank’s Scouts were disbanded in September 1885.
Peter Borch, Daria Coneghan