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|Billy Fish: "He wants to know if you are gods." Peachy Carnehan: "Not gods - Englishmen, the next best thing."
from John Huston's film of the Rudyard Kipling story The Man Who Would Be King.
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|A Virtual Museum of Antique Victorian-era British Military Photographs and Associated Biographical Research
|Please take moment or two and visit the newly relaunched
|Drummer John Francis Dunne
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
When originally purchased, I had no idea
as to the identity of this young soldier, the
image being purchased simply due to its
unique nature and remarkable clarity. I
was contacted by Jenny Bosch - a member
of an Anglo-Boer War group on Facebook -
who kindly informed me of this young
John Francis Dunne was born around 1886...
Charles William Bamford
Army Service Corps
16 October, 1890
Son of a serving Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery, Charles William
Bamford was born at the Lucknow Cantonment in India on 17 July, 1864.
His father, the afore mentioned Sergeant Major was Charles Edward
Bamford and his mother the former Mary Ann Castleton. The young
Charles arrived in England sometime prior to 1871 when he is shown in
the census of that year residing with his family at Sheffield Barracks.
Charles followed his father into Queen’s service sometime prior to the
outbreak of the Anglo-Zulu War (1879) and although his service papers
have not been found (possibly due to his later promotion to officer rank) a
relatively complete record of his service in five wars under three
sovereigns can be put together.
These four outstanding photographic studies were once part of set of fifteen which depicted officers of the Anglo-Indian cavalry who were chosen to take part in Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee which took place in London in 1887. The set of
photographs were in all likelihood the official portraits of these officers taken at the behest of the Queen by noted photographers Andrew and George Taylor. After supplying the Queen with her photographs the Taylor brothers would have offered
additional sets for sate to the general public. These photographs came from one of those commercially available sets.
The set original depicted two British officers (Captain C.W. Muir, Viceroy's Body-Guard and Captain G.A.Money, 18th Bengal Lancers) and 13 highly decorated Indian officers and was complete until it was broken up for individual sale via online
auction. While the dispersal of the set was unfortunate it did allow at least some of the images to be displayed here. It was interesting to note that the two images of British born officers sold for a considerably higher sum than any of those of the
Indian officers even if the later are by far considerably much more rare and more desirable from a collectors point of view in my opinion - especially when one considers their extremely fine condition and outstanding composition.
With the close of the auction I had acquired what I consider to have been the four best of the photographs - each depicting an identified veteran Indian officer taken at the very apex of the British Raj. For the most part biographical information on
these men has been hard to come by some interesting details have come to light
|Risaldar Major Isri Singh, O.M.
19th Bengal Cavalry
|Woordi Major Lena Singh
2nd Central India Horse
|Risaldar Major Nadir Ali Khan
18th Bengal Cavalry
|Risaldar Major Sher Singh
C.I.E., O.B.I., O.M.
2nd Punjab Cavalry
|William Hyder Abdel Malek
Uganda Civil Servive
Uganda/British East Africa
Putting all hyperbole aside, William Hyder
Abdel Malek of the Uganda Civil Service was
indeed the son of a sheik - at least according
to his father’s 1870 marriage certificate.
William was born about 1871 in Syria to
Abdelghani Hyder Abdelmalek a Levantine
subject of the Ottoman Empire and the
former Miss Eliza Agnes Morgan.
Alfred Joseph Haslam
Army Veterinary Corps
Uganda Railway Service
The familiar origins of Alfred Joseph
Haslam are somewhat uncertain and after
repeated attempts I have been unable to
determine exactly who his parents were.
Based on the 1891 census of Scotland he
seems to have been born at Halifax England
on 27 November 1863.
He attended medical school in Edinburgh,
Scotland (New Veterinary College) graduating
with high honors April 1884. He joined the
Army Veterinary Department in February
1885 and one short month later found himself
in Suakin and seems to have been attached to
the Suakin Field Force them operating in the
filed under the command of ...
|Discharge Parchment and Original
Tinned Iron Storage Tube
Private David Stewart
71st Regiment of Foot
29 November, 1852
Coming up with an appropriate title for private
David Stewart’s entry was problematic only due
to the rather picturesque choices his service
records offered. Stewart is without a doubt the
earliest enlisting private soldier featured here at
soldiersofthequeen.com having enlisted during
the reign of William IV on 26 September, 1831
at Aberdeen, Scotland.
Stewart was born about 1811 in Forfar, Scotland.
Due to his very early birthdate I have not been
able to establish his family connections in that
town. A tailor at the time of his attestation,
Stewart attested as No. 1118 with 79th (Cameron
Highlanders) Regiment of Foot for a term of
unlimited service. This rather forbidding and
open ended enlistment was somewhat mitigated
by a tree pound enlistment bounty.
Stewart remained with the 79th until 21 march,
1838 when he transferred to the 71st (Highland
Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot.
|Captain Robert Pope
Carte de Visite
The SS Carnatic was a 1770 ton steamship
launched in London on 12 June, 1862, she was
a transitional vessel – fully rigged but with a
single screw 2400 horsepower 4-cylinder steam
engine. She was constructed with a wooden
planked iron framed hull. Owned by the
Peninsula & Orient Steam Navigation
Company (P&O), she operated on the Suez-
Bombay-Hong Kong route prior the opening of
the Suez Canal.
Outward bound for Bombay on 12 September
1869 near the mouth of the Gulf of Suez the
Carnatic ran aground on a reef close by
Shadwan Island. Apparently there was little
concern expressed by the ship’s captain P. B.
Jones. The ship’s pumps were started and like
the Titanic some 43 year later an air of
normalcy reigned until around 2:00 a.m. of the
14th when rising water suddenly quenched the
boilers cut cutoff all power to the ship. In spite
of the loss of power – and any hope of getting
off the reef – it was not until 11:00 a.m. of the
14th that Captain Jones finally gave orders to
abandon ship. Only four passengers had
managed to board a lifeboat when the ship...
William Henry Bonaker
Royal Army Ordnance
This remarkably informal photograph shows No. 184 Armament Quarter
Master Sergeant William Henry Bonaker, D.C.M. of the Royal Army
Ordnance Corps posing with his bicycle on a jungle road somewhere in
India during the 1910-11 holiday season. Three locals also joined Bonaker
in the photograph in which the road itself seems the center of the
composition. Interestingly the road also forms a demarcation line between
the Bonaker on the two Indian natives. The almost idyllic quality of the
photograph belies the abject degradation and horror that Bonaker would
face in just a few short years.