An astonishing pair of photo albums depicting the life and work of a British army officer in India during the first half of the 20th century has emerged for sale.
The unnamed officer belonged to the Indian Army’s 28th Light Cavalry and there are more than 400 black and white photographs.
They show 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.
The 28th Light Cavalry 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.
The agents’ aim was 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, 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.
“Before the First World War the 28th Light Cavalry were a typical Indian regiment, taking their turn to serve in the North-West Frontier Province.
“During the First World War they served in Persia and after the war until 1920 they served in Russian Turkestan against the Bolsheviks.
“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.
“We see the men enjoying themselves playing polo, ‘pig-sticking’, big game hunting and duck shooting.
“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.
“The albums belonged to an unnamed officer of the 28th Light Cavalry and we have them with an auction estimate of £200-300.”
The sale is on Saturday 7 March.