With a stern and craggy visage, this long-serving soldier appears to have been the epitome of an "Old Sweat". The term hearkens back to the era when men signed up for 21-year
enlistments. This man in all likelihood began his military career long after the implementation of "short service" in 1870. Instead he probably extended his enlistment multiple times in
order to achieve the 21 years with the colours required for a pension.
On the cuff of his 1881 pattern tunic he wears five good conduct stripes denoting at least 18 years of exemplary service in the ranks. Above the good conduct stripes he wears a crossed
rifle badge for marksmanship. On his chest he wears a single medal which may be the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal (LS&GC). I do not believe it was within regulations to wear
both the LS&GC Medal and good conduct stripes at the same time. It could well be that the old soldier had just been presented with the LS&GC Medal and chose to commemorate the
event before he had the opportunity to remove the stripes from his uniform. By the time this photograph was taken the LS&GC Medal was awarded for 18 years exemplary service.
He may have been a member of the East Lancashire's 2nd battalion which saw no active service in the field between the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War of 1878-80 and the beginning of the Great
War in 1914. This would explain his lack of campaign medals in spite of his long service.