This J.C. Wilson British Ensign Type II cover, thought to be unique, was postally used from Egypt to England on September 1, 1901. It is endorsed on the reverse “From 14858 Gnr W Stoneham, 16 Company E(astern) D(ivision) R(oyal) G(arrison) A(rtillery), Cairo, Egypt”. It is postmarked Abbassia, Caire, Egypt to Catford, Kent, England. It is franked with five copies of the 1m brown (Scott 43) and one copy of the 5m carmine rose (Scott 45), both issued in 1888.
On June 1, 1899, the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) came into existence as a separate entity when existing coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries of the Royal Artillery were amalgamated. Britain had occupied Egypt since the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War, which was motivated by protecting the interests of British bondholders with investments in Egypt as well as pursuit of domestic political popularity by the Liberal Party.
The Royal Garrison Artillery dispatched 16 Company of Eastern Division to Egypt to maintain heavy artillery there. The Army & Navy Gazette of the time reports the Royal Garrison Artillery was stationed in Egypt from at least 1897 through 1900 and beyond. The Royal Commission on the South African War reported in 1903 that companies of the Royal Garrison Artillery were dispatched to South Africa to serve during the Boer War.
It is possible that members of the RGA stationed in South Africa had supplied a copy of the J.C. Wilson envelope shown above to a comrade stationed in Egypt, from where it was mailed.
Below, the reverse of the cover.