Behobeho East Africa 1915 - 1917 Nyangao Kilimanjaro Great War 1917 Belgium 1914 -18
Official website of the
Legion of Frontiersmen (New Zealand) Command
21209, Major, Legion of Frontiersmen
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. This article forms part of a series of notes that were published as one long article by the South African
Military History Journal in their Journal Vol.4, No. 2 of December 1977. They note that Major Cushny's widow, Mrs Madeleine E.
Cushny had forwarded the notes to the South African National Museum of Military History, shortly after his death. The notes deal
with several matters relating to the Legion of Frontiersmen. As the matters are of interest, the notes have been broken up into
their separate parts, slightly edited for clarity and reproduced as individual topics.
The original author of these interesting notes was Major Tom Cushny, LMSM, who was born during the Anglo-Boer War of
1899-1902 of Scottish-English parents. His early years were spent in British East Africa and at the age of 14 he was sent to a
public school in Britain.
Major Cushny writes that he "Was training for a commission in the new armies to go to France when the First World War came to
an end. He obtained an Eastern Cadetship, as it was called, with prospects to go to China. He found it too tame however and
joined the French Foreign Legion. Saw service with the Engineering Company of the 1st Regiment when Abdul el Krim had
defeated the Spaniards under Franco and was attempting to establish himself as Sultan of French Morocco and Caliph of all the
Faithful. Escaped with the aid of my father who had seen service in Afghanistan and in the Jameson Raid."
Tom Cushny joined the Legion of Frontiersmen in London in 1923 on his way to the Far East. In Malaya, where he worked for a firm of non-ferrous ore merchants and smelters, he was commissioned for 'Services to Intelligence' in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers, and was also Organising Officer for the Legion of Frontiersmen in Southern Sumatra, Siam and Perak.
After six memorable and exciting years he returned to Britain in 1929 from where he transferred to Kenya to take up farming 'but found prospecting for gold more profitable'.
In Kenya he was commissioned in the King's African Rifles Reserve of Officers and served as Intelligence Officer with the Kenya Defence Force.
In 1934 Cushny obtained an appointment with the Clove Marketing Board in Zanzibar where he assumed duties as Organising Officer of the Legion.
During the riots of 7-12 February 1936 when an attempt was mace to massacre the Europeans in Zanzibar and take over the reins of Government by force, Cushny commanded a platoon of Armed Police and was instrumental in the capture of 170 hostile Arabs and 450 weapons. For this action he received the 'thanks of the Government' and those of H.H. the Sultan of Zanzibar.
The Legion Meritorious Service Medal was awarded to Cushny in November 1936 for his outstanding record of service.
Whilst on leave in Britain in 1939, and realizing that World War II was inevitable, Cushny enlisted in his County Regiment, the Duke of Comwall's Light Infantry. He served with the BEF in France, and later with the Home Forces during the Battle of Britain, the British Forces Northern Ireland, the British Military Mission India, Persia-lraq Force, Middle East Force, finally serving in Palestine and Transjordan.
After the War Major Cushny was seconded to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and worked in France, Switzerland, Poland, Germany and Italy, receiving the Diploma of Merit for services to humanity and for saving life in liberated Europe.
In 1947 Major Cushny came to South Africa where he served as OC South Africa Command, Legion of Frontiersmen. He eventually settled in Rhodesia with his family where he served as a Deputy Warden in the British South Africa Police Special Reserve until his death in May 1977.