Antoin V. Sevruguin - Photographer
c. 1890This unidentified captain of the Royal Engineers was in all likelihood attached to the Indo-European Telegraph Department office that was
located in Teheran. The office was staffed by an officer and several non-commissioned officers of the Royal Engineers.
The Indo-European Telegraph Department was created as a result of the India Mutiny (1857), in which the British empire almost lost "The Jewel in
the Crown" before any official in London learned there was a problem. Simultaneously, within India, telegraphic communications proved crucial for
the counterattack of British forces. The British decided to lay telegraph lines through Persia (Iran) after early attempts to lay submarine cables
under the Red Sea and Indian Ocean failed.
This officer wears the miniature version of the 1881 Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
A possible identity has been suggested by Mr. Billy Huckaba who came across an entry for Captain Henry Lake Wells of the Royal Engineers in
the 1885 edition of Hart's Army List. Mr. Huckaba found the following in other editions of Hart's:
1880 - Lieut. Assit. Engineer , 2nd grade , D.P.W., India
1889 - Capt. Telegraph Service Persia, local rank of Major.
1894 - Major Telegraph Service Persia , Teheran, local rank of Lt. Colonel.
Hart's gives Wells' war services in the 1894 edition: Lt. Colonel Wells served in the Afghan war of 1878- 1880. He raised a corps of Ghilzais, with
them he constructed a road over the Khojuck. Present in several minor engagements, wounded, M.I.D. and Medal.
Naturally the only way to positively confirm that this image is in fact Henry Lake Wells would be to compare it to another photograph of him.
Unfortunately I have been unable to find another likeness of Wells at this point in time.
Based on his lengthy obituary that appeared in the 1898 edition of the Royal Geographic Society's journal The Graphical Journal gives some his at
to the note and esteem in which Wells was held by his contemporaries: