Colonel John Watson, V.C. photographed when Commandant of the Central India Horse, 1870s.


The very faded carte de visite has no photographer’s credit but was certainly taken by a local photographer in India in the 1870s. Colonel John Watson. V.C. is shown bust length in an oval reserve wearing the uniform of the Central India Horse. The reverse of the cdv has a contemporary inscription Col. J. Watson, Pol. Agent …. [word hard to read although he was Agent to the Governor General at Gwalior in the late 70s and also served as a political officer at Agra]. Having joined the H.E.I.C. Army at the age of 19 he first saw action in the Punjab campaign of 1848-9 and won his Victoria Cross at Lucknow. In 1848 he raised the 4th Sikh Irregular Cavalry [later known as Watson’s Horse. He later rose to the rank of General and was knighted G.C.B. Despite the fading this fremains interesting as an early photograph of Watson whereas he most often appears in later images.   feb16/4

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