'Lieut General Sir S J Browne and Staff...', 1879.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph of Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel James Browne [1824-1901] with his staff at his headquarters in Gandamack, Afghanistan, taken by John Burke [1845-1900] in May 1879. This photograph is from an album entitled 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. Sam Browne, with crossed legs and a full white beard, is in the middle of this semi-circle of staff officers. Commander of the Peshawar Field Force he captured the fort of Ali Masjid during the opening battle of the Second Afghan War in November 1878. He was a captain at the time of the Indian Mutiny when he won the Victoria Cross for bravery. At the same time he lost his left arm. It is commonly thought that the famous Sam Browne belt with one shoulder strap was designed by him to cope with this disability. A pioneer of photography in India, John Burke began working in Peshawar, as an assistant to the commercial photographer William Baker. Baker took up photography on retiring from the British Army in