|Carte de Visite
Hastings Brothers - Photographer
14 August, 1884
When ever I come across a photograph that bears a period identification, time permitting I will usually do some cursory research prior to purchase in an attempt to assess what
information, if any, may be available on the soldier in question. Given the relative wealth if such information on this carte de visite's reverse side I skipped my usual preliminary step
and in spite of the afore mentioned information, have been unable to turn up anything regarding this soldier's identity.
The reverse side of the carte bears two separate inscriptions (see below) that appear to be in two different hands. The larger of the two identify the soldier. His regimental number of
1069 is given and is followed by his name and rank which (to my eyes at least) is only partially decipherable -- "Pte A. J. Benham" - or something such. This is followed by "Band"
obviously for "Bandsman" an appointment confirmed by his uniform. This is then followed by his battalion and regiment - "1st Devon Regt" or the 1st Battalion, the Devonshire
Regiment. The inscription is dated 14 August, 1884.
Knowing a regimental number, name (even partial) and regiment of a soldier is usually more than enough to uncover his service records or other original source documents but
searches using the his regimental number turned up no one in the 1st/Devons with a name of or even similar to Bandsman Private A. J. Benham. During the time period of the
photograph the 1st/Devons performed home service only so there was no opportunity to find any information via campaign medal rolls.
So for now our bandsman will remain something of a mystery but given other similar apparent research dead ends I have encountered with time the possibility does indeed exist that
more will be found regarding him in the future.