grumpy wrote:Mr F's titles are anachronistic I fear. One piece NF 1910/1913, and one piece RF during Great War.
And whereas I agree Adjt. is best bet, all captains commanding companies were mounted for field duty. Ratio 2 or 3 majors to 6 or 5 captains, all horsed by the Queen on occasion. The horse enable OCs to observe the battlefield and travel quickly to crisis points.
No need to "fear" anything Grumpy, you are of course quite correct, I was trying to show the large letters of the titles that both the Sergeant and Captain appeared to be wearing, but I should have made that clear with my text. You know very well that I am aware of the standard fusilier shoulder title configuration at that time. Interestingly the early RF titles were improvised from cut down RE titles and that seems likely to be the case here. It is also a good point re Captains commanding companies being entitled to a charger.
Going back to the OPs original query, the officer looks as if he might be Royal Engineers with an RE title, which would fit with the pagri badge, the centre of which reads VRI and is surrounded by the garter and inscription HONI SOIT QUI MAL-Y-PENSE (see image below)- which was worn by the Madras (Indian) Army Sappers and Miners who were officered by RE and supported by British NCOs for general duties.
The Sergeant can be seen to be a Royal Fusilier thanks to the larger shoulder title images posted by Paul.
For Paul: as 'best guess' this seems to be a mixed HQ staff of some kind showing the Adjutant and his supporting personnel, perhaps of an Indian Sappers and Miners unit.
The Queen’s Own Madras Sappers and Miners had their base in Bangalore. In 1890 the corps had an establishment of about 23 British officers, all of them commissioned in the Royal Engineers. R.E. officers intent on a career in India would hope to spend several years with one of the three sapper regiments – Madras, Bengal or Bombay – where they would experience regimental life and ‘soldiering’, with a chance of campaign service. Many then moved on to appointments in the Public Works Department, where they were responsible for most of the civil and military engineering projects in Victorian India; some of them might then become Garrison Engineers, or Commanding Royal Engineers in a Division.
The Madras Sappers and Miners at that time comprised ten companies with a total establishment of about 23 British officers, 65 British NCOs, 20 Indian officers, 122 Indian NCOs, 1070 Indian sappers and 118 others ranging from carpenters to bellows boys. Junior British officers were given more responsibility than in British regiments: companies were commanded by lieutenants. Promotion for officers was by seniority within the Royal Engineers, and was slow by today’s standards – captain at about the age of 31, and retirement at 55 as a lieutenant-colonel or colonel. To go beyond that rank you had to have been given ‘brevet’ or ‘army’ rank.