Major Robert Sandeman 1876 [later Sir Robert, KCSI]


A very good carte de visite by Elliott & Fry, 86 Baker Street, Portman Square, W. showing the former Probyn’s Horse officer wearing staff officer’s frock coat with medals. Unfashionable though it may be today, in his day he was known as the kind of man who made empires. jan21/2

Robert Groves Sandeman [1835-1892] was educated at Perth and St Andrew’s University before joining the 33rd Bengal Infantry in 1856, later transferring to Probyn’s Horse, the 11th Bengal Lancers. His service entry in Hart’s Army List 1893 reads: Sir Robert Sandeman served with Brigadier Showers’ Column in the Delhi and Jhujjur districts; was with the 1st Sikh Cavalry at the siege and capture of Lucknow, and was wounded at the Moose Bagh, served afterwards with column in Oude in 1858-9 (Medal with clasp). Served in the Afghan war of 1878-80, was present at the engagement at Bagao (mentioned in despatches), and took part in the march to Candahar with the force under Major General Phayre (Brevet of Lt. Colonel, KCSI, and Medal). Served with the Zhob Valley Expedition in 1884 (mentioned in despatches). After the Mutiny he was appointed to the Panjab Commission by John Lawrence, in charge of Derai Ismail Khan 1866, negotiated a treaty with the Khan of Kelat and supported the Forward Policy. From 1877 until his death Sandeman held the post of Governor of Baluchistan.  A different portrait appears in Bruce’s The Forward Policy and its Results but it is by the same photographer and he wears the same uniform and it is dated to 1876. That photograph is shown in one of our images here. The medal worn with the Mutiny appears to be the Indian General Service Medal although it is not mentioned in Hart’s.

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