Two rare photo albums depicting the life and work of an unnamed British army officer in India during the first half of the 20th century have emerged for sale.
The officer belonged to the Indian Army’s 28th Light Cavalry and there are more than 400 black and white photographs showing military operations, big game hunting, giant elephant traps, ‘pig sticking’ expeditions, equestrianism training and polo playing.
Pictures from the turn of the 20th century until the 1930s show life in India and on the north-west frontier for the 28th Light Cavalry, which was involved in what is still a relatively unknown part of the First World War.
It served on military operations with the Seistan Field Force and the East Persian Cordon, preventing the infiltration of German and Ottoman agents from Persia into Afghanistan, who aimed to persuade the Emir of Afghanistan to rise up in a jihad with the tribes in the North-West Frontier Province and invade India.
The Germans believed that if this could be achieved then British troops would have to be removed from the Western Front in France and sent to defend India. After the First World War and up to 1920 the 28th Light Cavalry continued on active operational service in Russian Turkestan.
Roddy Lloyd from Rowley’s auction house in Ely, Cambridgeshire, where the albums will go on sale on Saturday 7 March for an estimated £200 to £300, said: ‘The albums are a wonderful record of life in India during the last few decades of the British Raj.
‘Interestingly, many of the shots show the British and Indians as equals – playing polo, hunting and relaxing together.’
He added: ‘The albums record active service on the north-west frontier and the time spent in Russian Turkestan although the First World War is not covered – perhaps these photos were in a separate album.
‘Their wives are often prominent and there are a number of informal shots of people as well as wonderful landscapes whilst holidaying in Kashmir and trekking with ponies and porters in the high foothills of the Himalayas and Karakorams.
‘It is a remarkable record of a life that exists no more for the British and there are many collectors who, I am sure, would love to have these albums. The photographs are of a good quality and include a variety of shots and include humorous ones as well.’
Hunting party picnic pictured above, with both British and high ranking Indian officials. The two rare photo albums depicting the life and work of a British army officer in India have recently emerged for sale
The black and white photographs from the turn of the 20th century until 1930s show soldiers of the Raj big game hunting. The 28th Light Cavalry was involved in what is still a relatively unknown part of the First World War
Soldiers of the 28th Light Cavalry, which prevented infiltration of German and Ottoman agents from Persia into Afghanistan, who aimed to persuade Emir of Afghanistan to rise up in a jihad with tribes in North-West Frontier Province and invade India
Indian troops pictured standing on horses during equestrianism training. Good horsemanship was vital for cavalry regiments. Roddy Lloyd from Rowley’s auction house said the photos are a ‘wonderful record’ of life in India
After World War One, the Indian Army’s 28th Light Infantry joined in operations in Russian Turkestan against the Bolsheviks. It previously served on military operations with the Seistan Field Force and the East Persian Cordon
The two rare albums provide a snapshot of military life in India and on the North West frontier during the final days of the Raj. he albums record active service on the north-west frontier and the time spent in Russian Turkestan