B is for Butani Bros

Not a priceless treasure (see tedious footnote 1) this time but a standard hawkeye photograph album with 24 images of military manoeuvres in Baluchistan.

Time for an admission. For the life of me I can’t find anything out about the brothers Butani. There are plenty of their images to be found on the net but not a word about who they were. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

18 of the 24 images in this album relate to 88th Field Battery Royal Artillery (see tedious footnote 2). The likelihood is therefore that it was made up for a gunner from stock photos. Some of the photos are numbered with numbers between 205 and 231.

The other six photos are of other units taking part in the manoeuvres including 2nd Battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles (tedious footnote 3)

And – of course – the Royal Welch Fusiliers (tedious footnote 4) the regiment for whom Butani Bros were regimental photographers. (Welch is the correct spelling for 1928. But, like eating leeks, the spelling of the regimental title is a mystery best left to the Welsh.) Here are the regimental colours.

Wrong period. This image is taken from Major Rowland Broughton-Mainwaring’s Regimental Record published in 1889. In that book Billy Her Majesty’s Goat takes pride of place as frontispiece. Which brings me to the subject of regimental goats.

The regiment (now a battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment) has had a goat for a mascot since before the Battle of Bunker Hill. Broughton-Mainwaring gives an extract from Grose’s Military Antiquities when detailing the presentation of two goats to the regiment by Queen Victoria in 1844. This was the first of many such gifts from the royal herd which is descended from a gift of the Shah of Persia on Queen Victoria’s accession. The Regimental Museum has 142 images of goats on Pinterest.

The current battalion mascot is Shenkin IV. Goat Sergeant Major Jackson claims to have detected a “cheeky look in his eye” which made him think this was the goat they needed to get. Personally I suspect the cheeky look was more along the lines of, ‘This isn’t going to be easy, mate.” The problem is how to hit a mountain goat with a tranquillizer dart without either the darting or the darted falling over a precipice. You can find out more about the capture of Shenkin IV via


TF1. “A priceless treasure” is a book. The term was a favourite of the General in the days when he worked for Commins Bookshop in Bournemouth. He had a habit of forgetting where he had parked his car. On one occasion, he phoned the police to enlist their help finding it. Even in those more friendly days the police felt they had better things to do with their time until the General explained it had a bootfull of “priceless treasures”.

TF2. 88 Battery RA still exists. It is now part of 4th Regiment RA. It was raised in Calcutta in 1802 and has the honour title Arracan to commemorate a march from Chittagong to Arracan during the First Burma War.

TF3. 2nd Battalion Frontier Force Rifles was raised in 1849 by Colonel Henry Lawrence as 2nd Punjab Infantry. It was later known as 56th Punjabi Rifles.

TF4. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers was raised in 1689 by Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It used a variety of badges over the years, but the Welsh Dragon is much the best known.

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