These two soldiers of an unidentified regiment were part of the British garrison stationed on the southern Atlantic island of St. Helena during the Anglo-Boer War. During the war, St. Helena became the home for upwards of 6000 Boer POWs.
A number of British infantry units including militia battalions of the Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Manchester, and Middlesex regiments, as well units of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, were stationed on the island during the war but it is impossible to link these two men to a specific unit. British troops who served on the island during the war but who did not see active service in South Africa qualified for the Queen's South Africa Medal without clasps.
St. Helena is probably best known as the final place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte after his final defeat at Waterloo.
The cross-like abrasions that appear on the surface of the photograph are the result of an interaction between the photograph's emulsion and the glue which the photographer used to attach the photo to the card mount.
Images from remote island locations like St. Helena are rare and not often encountered and the rarity of this image far outweighs its relatively poor condition.
A. L. Innes - Photographer
St. Helena, South Atlantic