Cabinet Photograph
Antoin V. Sevruguin - Photographer
Teheran, Persia
(Tehran, Iran)
c. 1890

This unidentified captain of the Royal Engineers was in all likelihood attached to the Indo-European Telegraph Department office that was located
in Tehran. The office was staffed by an officer and several non-commissioned officers of the Royal Engineers.

The Indo-European Telegraph Department was created as a result of the India Mutiny (1857), in which the British Empire almost lost "The Jewel in
the Crown" before official
s in London learned there was even a problem. Simultaneously, within India, telegraphic communications proved crucial
for the
ultimate success of British and Anglo-Indian forces. To address this technical shortcoming, the British decided to lay telegraph lines through
Persia (Iran) after early attempts to lay submarine cables under the Red Sea and
the Indian Ocean failed.

This officer wears the miniature version of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

A possible identity has been suggested by Mr. Billy Huckaba who came across an entry for Captain Henry Lake Wells of the Royal Engineers in
the 1885 edition of
Hart's Army List. Mr. Huckaba found the following in other editions of Hart's:

1880 - Lieute
nant & Assistant Engineer, 2nd Grade, Department of Public Works, India
1889 - Capta
in, Telegraph Service Persia, local rank of Major.
1894 - Major
, Telegraph Service Persia, Teheran, local rank of Lt. Colonel.

Hart's gives Wells' war services in the 1894 edition: Lt. Colonel Wells served in the Afghan war of 1878- 1880. He raised a corps of Ghilzais, with
them he constructed a road over the Khojuck. Present in several minor engagements, wounded, M.I.D. and Medal.

Naturally, the only way to positively confirm that this image is, in fact, Henry Lake Wells would be to compare it to another photograph of him.
, I have been unable to find another likeness of Wells at this point in time.

Based on his lengthy obituary (below) that appeared in the 1898 edition of the Royal Geographic Society's journal
The Graphical Journal gives
some hint as at to the note and esteem in which Wells was held by his contemporaries: