Carte de Visite
Unknown Photographer
Tonghoo, Burma
c. 1875

This 1870s vintage carte de visite is rather unusual in that it depicts an “other rank” of the British Army outfitted in his mess
dress uniform. Mess dress was and still is worn only for the most formal occasions such as regimental balls and other events
that in civilian life would require the wearing of evening wear. While it is much more common for period images of officers in
mess dress to be encountered in the collector’s market similar images of enlisted men (in this case a Bombardier of the Royal
Artillery) just don’t show up all that often probably because not many of them had the opportunity to wear such formal attire
very often.

The image bears a fairly long inscription on it reverse side that appears to identify the subject as Acting Bombardier W.
Wilmot of the 7th Battery, 5th Brigade of the Royal Artillery and as having been taken at Tonghoo, British Burma, East
India. The eccentricities of Victorian handwriting not withstanding first impressions were that the soldier’s name read
but I could not find one example of anyone named Hilmot in British Army service papers at all while there were a fair
number of Wilmots (and variations thereof) to be found – unfortunately none of them seem to match this specific artilleryman.
Records do confirm that No. 7 Battery, 5th Brigade of the Royal Artillery was stationed at Longhoo in
March of 1876.
Above: The reversed side inscription of Wilmot's carte de visite.