|Identified on the reverse in the sitter's hand as "A. C. Martin" this man clearly wears the uniform a bandsman of the
United States Marine Corps. The Lyre badge can be partially seen on his red and white shoulder boards. The white
aiguillettes also seemed to be something unique to bandsmen of the time period as where the gold cuff braid shown.
Although slightly blurred the uniform buttons also appear to be of United States Marine Corps eagle and anchor variety.
The tunic would have been red as opposed to the regular dark blue normally worn by the Marines.
The photograph was taken in Yokohama, Japan and inscribed "from your old friend" to an unknown recipient by Martin
in Hong Kong on May 11, 1900.
So far positive identification of Martin has been elusive. I am unsure of he was a member of the Marine Corps Band - a
semi-autonomous branch of the Corps proper - or a member of one the regular field bands. Based on the location where
the photograph was taken - Yokohama - and the place where Martin inscribed it - Hong Kong - I first thought that he
may have been a member of the Marine detachment on board the U.S.S. Oregon. That battleship's Marine detachment
took part in land operations during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and the vessel was in Yokohama, Japan prior to its
arrival in Honk Kong in May, 1900. This possibility was ruled out for the following two reasons. First was the fact that I
could not find Martin listed in any of the Oregon's musters for that time period and second that the Oregon did not
arrive in Hong Kong until 21 May, 1900 - some ten days after Martin signed the photograph.
I have also been so far unable to find Martin listed in the musters of any other U.S. vessels which were in Hong Kong
around May, 1900 nor was I able to find him listed shore based detachments from the same time period that were in
China c. 1900.
These facts may point to him being a member of the Marine Corps Band but I have also unable to find evidence at this
time of the Band being in Hong Kong in 1900.
Further research in ongoing.
R. Yamamoto - Photograper
Below: The inscription on the reverse of the photograph.