This hardy footsoldier is described as “Sikh Sentry Srinagar” standing post in the Kashmir region in 1945, complete with a regulation Dastar (turban), and KD uniform shorts with field shirt and wool knee socks. His weapon appears to be a P1853 “3 Band” Enfield rifle, possibly converted in the 1870s to a .577 Snider–Enfield breechloader although I don’t think so as it doesn’t have updated sights.
While his uniform may have updated from the 1880s, his armament and bearing have not.
A Sikh sentry at Fort Johnston, Malawi, in circa 1880s period artwork by Sir Henry Hamilton Johnston GCMG KCB, (1858-1927) who designed the uniform
As the last P53 was produced in 1867, Srinagar is likely much younger than his weapon, but he likely would have used it without compunction if needed.
One hardy Sikh with a bayonet and smoke pole of any vintage is a daunting sentry.
The archaeology department at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland has been working since 2011 to save a crate of 20 Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled muskets that were delivered to Canada via fishing trawler after an extended period on the bottom of the Atlantic.
The rifles, still in the crate they have been in since around the 1850s-60s, are housed in a large container filled with a chemical solution that includes a bulking agent and corrosion inhibitor designed to stabilize the relics.
“This soaking process will take many years and is done to prevent the wood from collapsing, cracking, or warping once dry and also to prevent any remaining iron from staining the wood surface,” Memorial’s Archaeological Conservator, Donna Teasdale, told me.
And they are now starting to find inspector’s marks on very well preserved brass and walnut.
More in my column at Guns.com