United Kingdom

Mounted photograph
Officers at the Cavalry Depôt in Canterbury - 1878

The Cavalry Depôt comprised a permanent staff, and officers detached from the various Cavalry Regiments serving overseas.

This photograph was taken in 1878, just prior to the 2nd Afghan War where some of these officers would undoubtedly serve, and definitely bring from the Depôt much needed drafts to reinforce their regiments.

Reading the service of these gentlemen provides a fascinating insight into some of the most famous pages of History of British Cavalry.

Staff of the Cavalry Depôt in 1878


Superintendent Riding Dept.................................



Riding Master..........................................................

Quarter Master........................................................

Instructor of Musketry..........................................

Colonel Conyer Towers, C.B. (up to 19 June 1878)
Brevet-Colonel Edward Napier, late 6 Dr. Gds. (from 19 June 1878)

Major W. Blenkisop, h.p., late 3 Dr. Gds.

Capt. Robert Spencer Liddell, 10th Hussars

Charles Boyse Roche

John Atkins Pickworth

Henry Woods

Lieut. S.J. Lea, 3d Hussars (up to 12 November 1878 - dated October 1st)
Lieut. the Hon. Eustace Vesey, 9th Lancers (from 12 November 1878 - dated Oct. 1st)

Quarter Master Henry Woods

Quarter Master Woods can easily be recognized thanks to his cocked hat with white feather.

Henry Woods first served in the 3rd Light Dragoons as a trooper, then a Non Commissioned Officer ; Hart's List details his War Services :
"Quarter Master Woods served the campaign of 1842 in Affghanistan (Medal), including  the forcing of the Khyber Pass. Served the Sutlej campaign of 1845-46, including the battles of Moodkee, Ferozeshah, and Sobraon (Medal and two Clasps). Also the Punjaub campaign of 1848-49,including the affair at Ramnuggur, passage of the Chenah, action at Sadoolapore, and battles of Chillianwallah and Goojerat (Medal with two Clasps)."

Regimental Serjeant-Major Woods was gazetted Quartermaster in the 3rd Light Dragoons on August 23rd, 1861.
He was appointed to the Cavalry Depôt as Quartermaster on June 22d, 1867, then transferred to the 18th Hussars (still as Quartermaster) on June 22d, 1870.

He was reappointed to the Cavarly Depôt when it was reorganized, on June 28th, 1871.

The London Gazette would publish on August 15th, 1882 :
"Cavalry Depôt, Quartermaster, with the honorary and relative rank of Captain, Henry Woods to be placed on retired pay, with the honorary rank of Major. Dated 22nd August, 1882."

Riding Master John Atkins Pickworth

The Riding Master can be recognized thanks to his rank (he looks a bit of an experienced gentleman for a junior rank), and the Medals he is sporting, indicating a fair bit of service as well. As a matter of fact, Hart's List details his War Services :
"Riding Master Pickworth served the Eastern campaign of 1854-55 with the 8th Hussars,including the reconnaissance to Silistria, Battles of Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman, and the Tchernaya, affairs of Bulganak and M'Kenzie's Farm, siege and fall of Sebastopol (Medal with four Clasps, French War Medal, and Turkish Medal). Served in the Indian campaigns of 1858-59 and was present at the capture of Kotah, reoccupation of Chundaree,battle of Kota ke Serai, capture of Gwalior, and action of Boordah (Medal with Clasp)."

He enlisted in the 8th Hussars c. 1840, with the Regimental Number 840.
Sergeant Pickworth would embark to the Crimea in the H.T.'Medora' on April 27th 1854. He was to feature in the famous "Charge of the Light Brigade", one of the "Gallant Six Hundred" immortalized by Lord Tennyson.

He is mentioned in an account of the Charge, published in the "History of the VIII King's Royal Irish Hussars" (by the Rev. Robert H. Murray) :

The Charge of the British Cavalry at Balaclava
By one who was in it

"(...) I saw, as (the Colonel) passed in front of us, that all at once his face expressed the greatest surprise and astonishment, and even anger, and, walking on, he broke out with, "What's this ?" what's this ?-one, two, four, six, seven men smoking !-swords drawn, and seven men smoking !-why, the thing is inconceivable ! Sergeant-Sergeant Pickworh," he calls out.
And the truth is-for I was one of them- the truth is, we were warming our noses each with a short black pipe, and thinking no harm of the matter : and, by the bye, I lost mine, for I passed it quietly to poor Jack Miller in my rear, who went in with us into the charge, and was missed- so that I never got back my pipe. "I never heard of such a thing," the Colonel said, "and no regiment except an 'Irish' regiment would be guilty of it. Sergeant, advance and take these men's names," and leaving the sergeant to find us out, though he couldn't discover any, the Colonel passed on, and halted again. All this time I heard strange dull noises thickening in the air. it might not be quite according to regulation to be smoking, sword in hand, when the charge might be sounded any moment. Our Colonel was a religious man too, which helped him to his nickname, I dare say,and he imagined perhaps we ought to have been thinking of our souls instead of tobacco pouches and inch of clay. (...)"

Sergeant Pickworth is also mentioned in another account of the charge :
"Robert Briggs had his horse shot from underneath him in the charge, but escaped unwounded by grabbing a horse caught by Sgt Seth Bond of the same Regiment who had stopped it for a Sgt Pickworth of the 8th Hussars, who called for his fellow Sgt to stop the free horse for him. Unfortunately it was 'nabbed' by Briggs who was intent on having it ,much to the annoyance of Pickworth who said " Ah, well, I suppose all is fair in war, so let me have hold of each of your stirrups, and Ill run, the sooner we get out of this the better". They then rushed off with the gallant Sgt running in between their horses, to safety."

He was promoted to Troop Sergeant-Major on the next day, October 26th, 1854.
The 8th Hussars would remain in the Crimea until April 1856, to come back home, before being sent to India in September 1857, at the outbreak of the Mutiny.

Pickworth was appointed Regimental Sergeant-Major on October 16th, 1857, and appointed Riding-Master on August 31st, 1858.
He came back from India with the 8th Hussars on board the St. Lawrence East Indiaman, leaving Calcutta on the 13th of January 1864, calling at the Cape of Good Hope on the 1st of March, at St. Helena on the 12th of March and reaching Portmouth on Tuesday afternoon, April 26th, 1864.
He was appointed to the Cavalry Depôt  on April 28th, 1875. He would retire on half-pay, with the honorary rank of Captain, on April 24th, 1879, being installed as a Military Knight of Windsor on the same day.
He was a Member of the 1879 Balaclava Commemoration Society.
He was married to Margaret, who held an account by the 'London and Westminster Bank' ; their adress can be traced through the yearly statements published in February in the London Gazette :
1870 : Dundalk, Ireland
1871-72 : Island-bridge Barracks, Dublin
1874-76 : 8th Hussars, Longford Barracks
1877-79: Care of J.A. Pickworth, Cavalry Depôt, Canterbury
1880 : 1, Salisbury Tower, The Castle, Windsor

He was gazetted on retired pay on September 30th, 1881 (dated July 1st).
On January 4th, 1892, he attended the funeral of Prince Victor of Hohenlohe (Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle), among a deputation from the Military Knights of Windsor, posted near the church door by the Queen's command.

On May 24th, 1895, he was invited to attend Verdi's Opera Il Trovatore, by the Royal Opera Company, performed at the Waterloo Chambers of Windsor Castle for the Royal Household.
His wife Margaret died "after a short illness" on the 10th of Februray, 1896, "at No.18, Lower Ward, Windsor Castle".

His obituary was published in "The Times" on February 23d, 1901 :
"Captain John Atkins Pickworth, a Military Knight of Windsor, formerly of the 8th Hussars and Cavalry depôt Staff, died early yesterday morning at his residence in the Lower Ward, Windsor Castle. Captain Pickworth was born on March 18, 1824, and was consequently nearly 77 years of age. He joined the Army on February 18, 1840, and served in the 8th Hussars for upwards of 35 years. He served in the Crimean campaign, including the Earl of Cardigan's reconnaissance of Silistria, and in the indian Mutiny, and was in 12 engagements-Bulganac, Alma, McKenzie's Farm, Balaclava, Inkerman, Tchernaya, and Sevastopol, in the Crimea, and the capture of Kotah, the reoccupation of Chundaree, the battle of Kota-keserai, the capture of Gwalior, and the action of Boordah, in India. He rode in the famous charge of the Six Hundred at Balaclava, and was one of a squadron that charged into and through the enemy's camp at Kota-keserai, in India, in which several guns were captured.he received four medals and five clasps, was recommended for the Victoria Cross, and his name was twice mentioned in the records of his regiment for having "distinguished himself by his steadiness and coolness in keeping the men together and the squadron unbroken" - after the death of the officers in the Light Brigade charge at Balaklava ; andduring the Indian Mutiny, at Kota-keserai, when, owing to the death of his officer, he succeeded to thecommand of a troop covering the retreat, and was recommended for and awarded the commission vacant by the death of Lieutenant Reilly, who was killed in action. Captain Pickworth was selected by the Duke of Cambridge, then Commander-in-Chief, for the Cavalry Depôt Staff on May 12, 1875, and was appointed by the late Queen Victoria a Military Knight of Windsor on April 24, 1879, after over 39 years of continuous service."

The Cavalry Regiments at the Depôt in 1878

The following Cavalry Regiments were serving overseas in 1878 :
- 6th Dragoon Guards.............................
- 3rd Hussars.........................................
- 4th Hussars..........................................
- 9th Lancers..........................................
- 10th Hussars........................................
- 12th Lancers........................................
- 13th Hussars........................................
- 14th Hussars........................................
- 15th Hussars........................................
At sea for India in December 1877
In India since 1868 ; they would come back to England in 1879
In India since 1867 ; would sail from Bombay on December 6th 1878
In India from 1875 to 1885
In India since 1873 ; would come back in 1884
In India from 1877 to 1887
In India ; would remain at sea until 1885
In India from 1876 to 1886
In India since 1868 ; would come back in 1882

Captain Robert Collinson d'Esterre Spottiswoode
 10th P.W.O. Hussars

His Regiment can easily be ascertained thanks to :
- His regimental pattern stable jacket (no olivets, and specific cuff embroidery)
- The specific pouch belt so characteristic of the 10th Hussars.

His Obituray was published in The Times on March 23d, 1936 :

"Colonel R.C. d'E. Spottiswoode
Last Combatant Survivor of the Mutiny ?
Colonel R.C.D'E.Spottiswoode, who died at his home at Glenmire, Co. Cork, on Saturday, at the age of 94, was in all probability the last combatant survivor of the Indian Mutiny. He kept his vigour of mind to the end, and only last year brought out a discursive volume of "Reminiscences" for private circulation.
Robert Collinson d'Esterre Spottiswoode was born in India on Christmas Eve, 1841, to Major-General Arthur Cole Spottiswoode, Bengal Army, and Jessy Eliza Loveday. His book shows that the son of an officer of the East india Company's forces in the early Victorian years led almost the life of afoundling, not seeing his parents for years on end. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh. Soon after he had been moved to London, to the Clapham Grammar School, in order to be near his parents when his father was on leave, he was "whisked away" at 16 to be one of the many lads sent to India as cadets during the Mutiny. He was given a cornetcy in the 3rd Bengal European Cavalry. he saw some fighting, for in May, 1858, while with a detachment of recruits proceeding to Allahabad to join the regiment, he was in an engagement with the mutineers at Sasseram, near Benares. Afterwards he served under Lord Clyde. As he said in a letter published in The Times of May 11, 1934, it never occurred to him to claim the Mutiny Medal. "The presence of so many warriors who had served at the siege of Delhi and the relief of Lucknow so impressed me that I kept my mouth shut on the subject of a medal."
He was promoted lieutenant, and a little later the East India Company's troops were amalgamated with the forces of the Crown. 

In 1861 the 21st Light Dragoons was formed out of volunteers from his old regiment, which was disbanded, and he transferred to the new corps, which became Hussars in 1862, was converted into a Lancer regiment in 1897, and is now amalgamated with the 17th Lancers. He was promoted captain in April, 1870, and in February, 1874, exchanged into the 10th Hussars, which were then in India. With the 10th Hussars he served in the second Afghan War during 1879,and it was his squadron which met with disaster in fording the Kabul river at night, an episode well known as the theme of a Kipling ballad. he got his majority in July, 1881, and in April, 1882, was appointed A.D.C. to Lieutenant-General Charles Cureton, commanding at Oudh.
Selected for special service with Graham's force which was assembled to cover the construction of the railway to Berber, he arrived at Suakin in February, 1885, after the fall of Khartoum, and from March to June acted as D.A.A. and Q.M.G. here he came under the favourable notice of Wolseley, received the Brevet of lieutenant-colonel, and was mentioned in dispatches. After 16 months' residence in Russia inorder to qualify as an interpreter he reached the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel in September, 1887, on appointment as D.A.Q.M.G. and D.A.A.G., Cork District, and was promoted colonel in October, 1889. He retired from the Army on an Indian pension in September, 1890.
Though he enjoyed his Indian service and was keen on polo, rackets, and cricket, he suggests in his reminiscences that his too early apprenticeship to the Army led to late, rather than precocious, maturity ; and he felt that he only began to live when sent to Ireland. He followed hounds until he was 74, and up to his last illness he had a cold bath every morning at 8 o'clock. Coming to the conclusion that tobacco was unhealthy he gave up smoking 20 years ago. He attributed his robust health to his Huguenot descent.
Colonel Spottiswoode married in 1885 Anne Elizabeth Turnbull, but had no children."

Captain Spottiswoode had come back from India on board the Jumna, reaching Portsmourth on January 18th, 1876.
He sailed back for Bombay on November 1st, 1878 on board the Indian troopship Malabar, with a draft of 71 men of the 10th Hussars.
This is a most interesting information, as it allows to narrow the timeframe in which this photograph was taken.

Some unidentified Officers

Not all of these gentlemen can be identified.
Some of them still can be attached to their proper unit thanks to the 'Regimental Pattern' of their uniforms

10th Hussars 13th Hussars Lieutenant, 14th Hussars 15th Hussars
His regiment can be told by :
- White plume over black base
- Specific pouch belt pattern
- Sabretache featuring the Prince of Wales' feathers
His regiment can be told by :
- Regimental pattern stable jacket with white collar
- Pouch belt with central white stripe, featuring battle honours
His regiment can be told by :
- Regimental pattern busby, without boss
His rank as a Lieutenant is clearly seen, his collar sporting a Crown.
His regiment can be told by :
- Regimental pattern undress cap, with the "Austrian Wave" lace, featuring a 'zigzag' design
The suspects :
- Sub-Lieutenant Richard Molyneux Grenfell exchanged from the 2d Dragoon Guards on february 15th, 1878 ; he would sail to Bombay on board the Euphrates on Sept. 11th inst.
- Lieutenant William Edward Philipps was in England in 1878, as he was presented to the Queen at the Levée held at St. James's Palace on March 19th.
(note that although his collar is not clearly visible, the simple Austrian Knots on his sleeves show that he is a Junior Officer, either a Sub-Lieutenant or a Lieutenant)

Now identified as 
Lieutenant Robert Constable !

The suspects :
- Lieutenant John Shaw Heron Maxwell came back from India "for the purpose of doing duty for two years with the depôt" ; he reached Portsmouth on January 6th 1878 on board the Jumna.
- Lieutenant Gerald Craven Ricardo arrived at Portsmouth from Bombay on board  the Serapis on May 9th 1878.
- Lieutenant Christopher Devonsher Villiers Tuthill arrived at Portsmouth from Bombay on board  the Malabar  on April 16th 1878.

The three of them  sailed back to India on board the Jumna on December 17th.
The suspects :
- Lieutenant Cecil Francis Johnstone Douglas came back from India "for the purpose of doing duty for two years with the depôt" ; he took passage for Bombay on board the Malabar on November 1st, 1878, "with draft of 52 men of the 15th Hussars".
- Captain Frederick Henry Beck also took passage for Bombay on board the Malabar on November 1st, 1878.
- Captain John Bullen Symes Bullen arrived at Portsmouth from Bombay on board the Crocodile on April 1st 1878 ; on December 24th 1879 he is referred to as commanding the depôt of the 15th Hussars