The vintage sepia-toned gelatin silver photograph (image size 208 × 150 mm) is laid down on the printed card mount of 'Elliott & Fry, 55 Baker Street W' (trimmed to 253 × 203 mm to accommodate a frame, no longer present). The title and identities of the officers are written in ink on the mount below the image; apart from a light tidemark to the middle of the bottom margin of the mount, clear of the caption and able to be matted out, the item is in fine condition.
Those present are Colonel James Rowell, Captain Howard Locke Dexter Wilson, and Lieutenant James Hay. 'James Rowell (1851-1940), soldier, orchardist and politician ... is best known for his association with the Volunteer Military Forces of South Australia before Federation, then with those of the Commonwealth.... He commanded the South Australian Contingent to Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in London in 1897 and in 1900, as a colonel, he raised and took to the South African War the 4th Imperial Bushmen's Contingent. For his war service he was appointed C.B. and he was mentioned in dispatches' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). Captain (later Major) Howard Wilson served under Rowell in South Africa, and was also mentioned in dispatches. In October 1899, James Hay, by now a captain, 'having been one of the first to volunteer for the South African war ... was appointed a subaltern of the earliest South Australian contingent under Major Howland, and looked forward eagerly to serving his country in the Transvaal. He was unable, however, to settle private matters connected with the trusteeship of his father's estate in time to sail with his comrades, and he had reluctantly to retire from the position assigned to him. On September 17, 1904, he obtained his majority and was appointed to the command of the 16th Australian Light Horse, a position which he filled with the utmost credit' up to the time of his death from influenza at the age of 50 in 1908 (details from his obituary in the Adelaide 'Express and Telegraph', 27 May 1908).