What uni­form is my great un­cle wear­ing here? Could he have been a mes­sen­ger or post­man?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - Q&A - Phil To­maselli

QI would be grate­ful if you could help iden­tify the uni­form my great un­cle John Cooper is wear­ing in this pho­to­graph or al­ter­na­tively, in­form me where I can find this out. I have been re­search­ing for a cou­ple of years but can­not find any mil­i­tary records. Look­ing at his bag on the chair, could it be some­thing like a mes­sen­ger or post­man? Any in­for­ma­tion you could give me would be much ap­pre­ci­ated. Gil­lian Tyler, by email

AThis in­ter­est­ing photo of a sol­dier was prob­a­bly taken in the early 1880s, but there is not much here to al­low us to make a defini­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. The cloth on the chair is pat­terned so is most likely some­thing draped across the chair for dec­o­ra­tion and not much use. There are no medals or badges of rank to help, but the cap he wears was worn through­out the 1880s and 1890s by the Royal En­gi­neers and Royal Ar­tillery. Other clues help to nar­row it down to the Royal En­gi­neers.

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