John Blaksley

Lieutenant-Colonel John Blaksley was commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, The Buffs from 1882 to 1886. He is photographed here, sitting in the middle of a group of his officers in 1885 when the battalion arrived in Malta prior to a tour of duty in India. Whilst the other officers strike soldierly poses, Blaksley's hunched posture makes him seem less composed. He retired from the army with the rank of Major-General and wrote travel books.

He was the author of 'Footprints of the Lion, and Other Stories of Travel in Dalmatia, Montenegro, The Mediterranean, India and Siam (1896). The Lion of the title is 'not the overrated, common, desert or jungle wallah' but the Lion of San Marco in Venice. He recommends a spring cruise in the Adriatic and suggests how to travel to Venice: "If you are going from England, as pleasant a way as any is this:- Leave Victoria at 11 a.m., and arrive at Brussels for dinner; similarly next day to Luxembourg; next Carlsruhe; next Munich for three days..." He also wrote Travels Trips and Trots On and Off Duty From the Tropics to the Arctic Circle (1904).

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by Stephen Luscombe