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Officer Natal.png

Aside from a short ink inscription on this photograph's reverse side that reads "Taken Aug. 1900" little can be ascertained regarding the identity of this Britishofficer who saw service during the Anglo-Boer War.

Although easily visible his shoulder straps seem to have only one rank insignia on each which given his apparent age would seem make him a likely candidate for the rank of major. Additionally, no regimental insignia of any sort can be seen either on his tunic or helmet. Since the photograph was taken at Pietermaritzburg, Natal he may have been attached in some manner to the Natal Field Force but this is just speculation. Given this, it must be admitted
that as the above title states he was the most impeccable of officers from his perfectly tailored uniform to his equally well groomed mustache.

After closely examining the image to interesting details were noticed. Like all British officers, this man's uniform and accouterments would have been tailor-made form him prior to his departure for South Africa. When he had his Sam Browne belt fashioned for him the maker included a number of bullet loops on the cross belt. Interestingly there are only ten loops attached to the strap. There seems to be room on the strap for two additional rounds which would have given this officer two full reloads for his revolver which would probably been a six-shot Webley. Like the young Winston Churchill, this officer could have been armed with a 10-shot C96 “Broomhandle” Mauser but that handgun was engineered to be loaded via 10-round stripper clips. Carrying individually looped rounds for a C96 would seem to have been rather impractical but it was done in practice.

The second - and almost invisible feature - in a very faint line or scratch last runs across the middle of the image at a slight diagonal. It did indeed appear as a scratch on the surface of the image but when viewed under magnification it turns out that the line was the result of a cracked glass negative. The negative actually broke clean in half with the break being so clean
that the photographer was able to put the two pieces back together and print the image. One wonders if this officer ever even noticed this slight defect in the image or if the photographer ever actually told him about it. One of the smaller mysteries of the Anglo-Boer War.

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