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Picked this up recently. It is a kalpak (cap) for an officer in the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force. This was the British unit created after WWI to patrol the relatively lawless Eastern part of the Palestine Mandate. It is made of lambs wool. Front badge and small side badge both have unit emblem. Top and side are red with gold piping to denote rank. I am not sure rank though, any ideas?

Any additional info. would be appreciated.

Art

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Ralstona - was this the unit created by Jubb Pasha ? I would say this must be a rare item and quite valuable - particularly with the badges in place.

The wool is astrakhan - which is an unborn sheep. A very expensive fur. I hope someone can identify the rank ?

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Yes I really hope someone can tell me the rank. It seems like it must be relatively high ranking? Not much room for many more stripes. No markings inside that I can detect. Unborn lamb you say... it is VERY soft.

Art

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Colonel [later General?] John Baqot Glubb - "Glub Pasha" - was the founder of the Force a noted British "Arab-phile". The Force took part in the first Arab-Israeli conflicts and Glubb wrote a history of the region, though not specifically of the unit, which I read and enjoyed many years ago. At the time it was formed, the British were just beginning to have trouble with the Zionist national movement in what would become the state of Israel and, not surprisingly, Glubb was not very eneoumered of Jewish Palentinians. Anyeway, the book is worth a read. I don't know if there is a unit history - it was small and realtively short lived.

I believe that the force had less than a dozen British officers and the rank and file were Arab. The rank and file wore the well known 'checked table cloth' - a shammagh [turban] in red and white check with a camel hair cord, called an 'aggal'. The caps may have been worn by the men in full dress or by officers only - this one is clearly an officer's but eiother way it has to be rare.

Yes the lamb, called "Astrakhan" or "Persian lamb" is from fetal sheep, hence the tiny tight curls. Worn in various places in the Middle East and by some Russian cossack units. Very warm and quite dashing in one ignores the 'yuck' factor! My dad wore on for years and I did as well, when younger. the cadets at Canada's Royal Military College - our Sandhurst, wore a grey astrackan wedge cap with a scarlet bag. Very classy!

Edited by peter monahan

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I think we might be confusing two different units. Glubb was the Arab Legion which is different than the T.J.F.F. I think several British units wore this kalpaks (I know for a fact that the Palestine Police did). I always surmised that they wore them because people in the area were used to seeing people in positions of authority wearing them. The Ottomans had worn them before. There are several famous pictures of Kemal wearing one.

Art

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"I think we might be confusing two different units"

D'oh! Brain fart! You are right, of course. The unit I described was the Arab Legion, not the JFF. Sorry!

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Anybody want to take a guess at the rank? I thought maybe one strip 2nd Lt., two strips Lt., and three strips for captain? Thoughts?

Art

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