Home » Browse » Asia » TULLOCH, John, Colonel. - “With Oku in Manchuria” – a substantial, personal photographic record of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–05.
return to previous page

TULLOCH, John, Colonel.

“With Oku in Manchuria” – a substantial, personal photographic record of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904–05.

Published: 1904-5

Stock code: 75385

Price: £16,750

Free Shipping Worldwide.

This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

A unique unpublished visual resource for the Russo-Japanese War on land, taken by a senior British military observer attached to the headquarters of General Oku Yasukata. The albums form a remarkable record of the Japanese campaign in Manchuria from the arrival of Colonel Tulloch in Manchuria in late July of 1904 until his departure in September 1905. During this time, Tulloch and other British military observers attached to General Oku’s Second Army had the opportunity to observe the fighting that took place at Sha-Ho, Port Arthur, and Mukden, as well as record the aftermath of each battle. The title of the albums is interesting. By choosing the wording “With Oku in Manchuria”, the compiler makes a direct reference to one of the most popular contemporary accounts of the Russo-Japanese War: With Kuroki in Manchuria, published in 1904 by the American journalist Frederick Palmer (1873–1958), who had briefly accompanied the Japanese First Army commanded by General Kuroki. Unlike Palmer, however, Tulloch spent a significantly longer period attached to the Japanese army in Manchuria, arriving at the HQ of the Japanese Second Army in July 1904 and remaining there – with only a short period of leave in Japan – until September of the following year. The first four albums are numbered sequentially, and the order of the photographs in each album is roughly chronological and can be divided as follows: volume I – 86 prints, including views of Dalny near Port Arthur, the attachés’ quarters in Liao-Yang and Hai-Cheng, snapshots taken during the Battle of Sha-Ho, and studies of Japanese soldiers in marching order and battle order; volume II – 73 prints, including portraits of Tulloch and other foreign military observers (British, French, German and Spanish) and foreign newspaper correspondents, scenes of the Battle of Mukden, the Japanese army celebrating the birthday of King Edward VII, and snapshots of Japanese staff officers; volume III – 72 prints, including scenes of actual fighting during the Battle of Mukden, Russian prisoners-of-war, Mukden after its occupation by the Japanese army and entertainments organised by Japanese soldiers; volume IV – 61 prints, including numerous scenes of Chinese street life in Mukden, as well as Chinese Christians, Japanese troops observing the “O-Bon” festival in Manchuria in September 1905 and views of the Anglo-Japanese naval review held off Yokohama in November 1905; the untitled lacquer album has 59 prints, all taken around the time of the surrender of Port Arthur in January 1905. Notable scenes include the house where Generals Stoessel and Nogi negotiated the Russian surrender, views of the captured Russian forts at Port Arthur, Russian prisoners-of-war on the day after the surrender, various Japanese monuments to soldiers who lost their lives during the siege, and sunken Russian battleships in Port Arthur harbour (a detailed list of the photographs in each album, with transcriptions of their accompanying captions is available on request). Tulloch’s name does not appear anywhere on the albums, however there are several clear proofs of his authorship. With little or no interruption, the photographs cover the Russo-Japanese War from the Battle of Sha-Ho (October 1904) until the conclusion of peace in September 1905, and show the entire campaign in Manchuria from the perspective of the Japanese Second Army. Only two British officers accompanied General Oku’s force for that length of time, Colonel John Tulloch and Colonel Aylmer Haldane. A photograph in volume II is captioned “My Hat!” and shows a close-up of a British officer’s peaked cap placed on a chair. The insignia on the cap indicates that the wearer – and therefore the photographer – held the rank of colonel, as indicated by a row of gold-embroidered oak leaves on the peak. As other photographs in these albums show, Colonel Haldane wore a similar cap, but with a distinctive red band, and the badge of the British General Staff, a lion below a crown. Also, the photographs show that the photographer was on excellent terms with the foreign newspaper correspondents attached to the Japanese Second Army, and especially American journalists such as W. H. Brill of the Associated Press and Reuters, who appears in several of these photographs, and, in at least one instance, together with the photographer. We know from the unpublished diary of Colonel Haldane (held in the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh) that Tulloch was on very good terms with the newspapermen, and especially members of the “Yankee contingent”; Haldane, on the other hand, preferred to keep his distance from the journalists in order to ensure that the military attachés received preferential treatment. Significantly, there is no reference in Haldane’s diaries during the Russo-Japanese War to his ever taking photographs. John Walter Graham Tulloch was born in 1861 and spent almost his entire career with the British army in India, graduating from the Indian Staff College in 1891 with the rank of captain. His career proceeded steadily, with promotion to the rank of major in 1900, and lieutenant-colonel the following year. In February 1904 he was appointed brevet-colonel, and in March of the same year was officially appointed as one of the British military observers with the Japanese army during the Russo-Japanese War. By this time, Tulloch was a veteran of several campaigns in India and East Africa, and had gained previous knowledge of the Japanese army during the Boxer rebellion in China in 1900, when he served with the multi-national force which lifted the siege of Peking. When his attachment to General Oku’s Second Army in Manchuria ended in September 1905, Tulloch returned to India where he received a promotion to full colonel and was appointed assistant adjutant general. He was later appointed lieutenant-general in 1908 and retired from the army in 1912. Tulloch’s background as a photographer is unclear. The photographs in this group indicate that he was a competent amateur photographer, and that he had gone to the trouble of taking at least two portable cameras with him during his attachment to the Japanese army in 1904-05. Much of his subject matter is of military interest, and these photographs may have been intended to supplement the reports he was sending back to the British general staff from Manchuria; on the other hand, many are of personal interest, providing a private record of his stay at General Oku’s headquarters as well as a sympathetic portrayal of the life of ordinary Chinese in the midst of the Russo-Japanese War. Taken as a whole these albums represent a remarkable addition to the record of the first major conflict of the twentieth century.

5 landscape quarto photograph albums; 4 of them uniformly bound in green hard-grain half morocco, matching faux crocodile sides (268 475 mm), titled as above; the other in a Japanese album with lacquer boards (263 360 mm). Together 351 original silver gelatin print photographs (various formats, average size 90 140 mm) mounted on rectos of album leaves, most captioned in pencil beneath, some numbered in the negative. The uniform albums a little rubbed at the extremities, the lacquer album lacking spine, joints lose, but holding, overall the mounting-leaves have some marginal browning, the prints are variably faded, but the majority have good strong tone, an extremely well-preserved collection.

Don't understand our descriptions? Try reading our Glossary