Hundreds of photographs depicting British army officer’s career during 20th century go under the hammer in Ely

PUBLISHED: 17:26 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:26 03 March 2020

Some of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

Some of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

Archant

Photo albums depicting the life and work of a British army officer in India during the 20th century will go under the hammer in Ely this weekend.

Some of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIEDSome of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

The unnamed officer belonged to the Indian army's 28th light cavalry, with more than 400 black and white photographs including military operations, giant elephant traps and polo playing.

Pictures from the turn of the 20th century until the 1930s also show life in India and on the north-west frontier.

Roddy Lloyd, from Rowley's auction house said: "The albums are a wonderful record of life in India during the last few decades of the British Raj.

"Many of the shots show the British and Indians as equals - playing polo, hunting and relaxing together.

Some of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIEDSome of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

"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."

The 28th light cavalry was involved in military operations with the Seistan Field Force and the East Persian Cordon, preventing the infiltration of German and Ottoman agents from Persia into Afghanistan.

The agents' aim was to persuade the Emir of Afghanistan to rise in a jihad with the tribes in the North-West Frontier Province and invade India.

Some of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIEDSome of the photographs from the albums, which were snapped up in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Germans believed that if this could be achieved, 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.

"The albums belonged to an unnamed officer of the 28th light cavalry and we have them with an auction estimate of £200-300," Mr Lloyd added.

"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 sale at Rowley's Auction House, Downham Road, Ely is on Saturday, March 7 from 10am.

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