Egyptian Zogist

Kingdom of Egypt (1922-1953)

38 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

I was wondering, does anyone have any information about the uniforms and insignia of the Kingdom of Egypt (1922 - 1953)? I have a huge collection of photographs of officers and soldiers, some drawings, and photos of badges but I'm having trouble figuring out what uniform is what, colors, orders of dress, etc. Especially for the Royal Guards. 

Does anyone have any information about this topic?

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Egyptian Zogist,

Thanks for your question! I've also been collecting information and photos of this period, and agree that there is not a lot of information out there. I will try to post some of the photos I have of the Royal Guards in the next couple of days. That could be a starting point for comparing information.

Best,

Chris

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Here's a drawing of the Royal Guards collar insignia, taken from a 1945 book.

Regards,

Chris

IMG_0783.JPG

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Wow, what an incredible find!

What book is that from? Does it have any other drawings?? I'm guessing an Egyptian one since the Arabic is reproduced correctly? I've seen Kingdom era service badges in a book by a British author, and any Arabic inscriptions were replaced with similar looking squiggles. Better than nothing I guess :D 

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This is the book, "The Noble Egyptian Army" - at least I think that's the title. I can't figure out what the last word in Arabic is - it actually looks like "military" (al-harbi) but that doesn't make sense.

In any case, the author is Lt. Col. Abd al-Rahman Zaki, director of the War Museum, published by Nile Printers, Cairo, April 1945. It was a very lucky find, like so many others - if I hadn't looked at the right part of the right used book stall in the book bazaar at the right time....

Looking through some of my files I couldn't find any photos of the Royal Guard, but I may have missed them. In any case they are pretty rare. I recall one or two photos of Royal Guards on horseback parading in the 1920s-1930s, listed on Ebay earlier this year, but I didn't acquire them.

 

IMG_0788.JPG

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53 minutes ago, Chris Weeks said:

This is the book, "The Noble Egyptian Army" - at least I think that's the title. I can't figure out what the last word in Arabic is - it actually looks like "military" (al-harbi) but that doesn't make sense.

In any case, the author is Lt. Col. Abd al-Rahman Zaki, director of the War Museum, published by Nile Printers, Cairo, April 1945. It was a very lucky find, like so many others - if I hadn't looked at the right part of the right used book stall in the book bazaar at the right time....

Looking through some of my files I couldn't find any photos of the Royal Guard, but I may have missed them. In any case they are pretty rare. I recall one or two photos of Royal Guards on horseback parading in the 1920s-1930s, listed on Ebay earlier this year, but I didn't acquire them.

 

IMG_0788.JPG

The title is "Al Gaish al Masry Al Hadeeth" "الجيش المصري الحديت" The Modern Egyptian Army. The top right corner says "Gaish Al Farouk" -Army of al Farouk (referring to King Farouk, but using the meaning of his name literally The Distinguisher (between Right and Wrong).

I've read Lt. Col. Abdelrahman Zaki's names many times while trying to find any information about the Egyptian army during this time. He even wrote the forward, if I remember correctly, for W. Y. Carman's Military History of Egypt (1945).

He apparently wrote a book just about the flags, banners, and standards of the Egyptian military since the 19th century but it's pretty much a holy grail for me, and I've given up hope of ever finding it lol. Heraldry and vexillology are my other interests besides militaria.

Were there any uniform and insignia tables or drawings in that book besides the Royal Guard collar patch?

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Hope this isn't too off-topic for this forum, an old advertisement for Farouk-brand fezzes (cults of personality have a long history in Egypt lol) featuring a Royal Guard Cavalryman in (accurate) uniform. From King Farouk of Egypt fan page on Facebook.

12204786_1650439805207291_281881939_n.jpg

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Here's a photo of a Royal Guards major, probably during the 1940s. He's wearing an ordinary Army officer's summer uniform, with only the Royal Guards hat and collar insignia to distinguish him. (Because of that I missed this photo in my earlier search.)

The medal ribbon probably is the Medal for Distinguished Services.

 

Scan 2.jpeg

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On 11/1/2015, 8:28:27, Egyptian Zogist said:

The title is "Al Gaish al Masry Al Hadeeth" "الجيش المصري الحديت" The Modern Egyptian Army. The top right corner says "Gaish Al Farouk" -Army of al Farouk (referring to King Farouk, but using the meaning of his name literally The Distinguisher (between Right and Wrong).

I've read Lt. Col. Abdelrahman Zaki's names many times while trying to find any information about the Egyptian army during this time. He even wrote the forward, if I remember correctly, for W. Y. Carman's Military History of Egypt (1945).

He apparently wrote a book just about the flags, banners, and standards of the Egyptian military since the 19th century but it's pretty much a holy grail for me, and I've given up hope of ever finding it lol. Heraldry and vexillology are my other interests besides militaria.

Were there any uniform and insignia tables or drawings in that book besides the Royal Guard collar patch?

Thank you for the additional details on the author! And also thanks for the clarification on the title - it's obvious when I look at it now.  I've run across Carman's book once or twice in online auctions but have never seen a copy, I'd be curious as to your thoughts on it.

Besides the Royal Guard insignia, the book also has sketches of distinctive insignia of the following branches of service:

- Armor

- Cavalry

- Border Guards

- Artillery

- Engineers

- Infantry

- "liwa' al-asaas" (?)

- Machine Gun Training Center

- Signals

- Arms/Ordnance

- Army Service Corps

- Medical

- Maintenance (?)

- Music/Band

I'll try to post these in coming days if you're interested.

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Yeah, I would definitely like to see those, if it's not too much trouble for you. What did the book have in regards to uniforms? Does it mention the different orders of dress (for the Army not just the Royal Guard)??

In regards to Carman's book, I had a pdf copy of it, but I lost it. It just goes over the different stages of the development of the Egyptian army, from ancient times to 1945. It had some uniform drawings (in black and white) of a few uniforms from each era and a drawing of some of the branch insignia for the army at the time (mostly the same as today's insignia, except crowned). It's a nice book if you need it to complete a collection on the topic, but I personally wouldn't purchase it.

Also, in that photo of the Royal Guards major, what is the cap badge? I can't really tell what it is. The only cap badges I've seen from Egypt during the monarchy are:

Crowned Crescent and Three Stars (for Army officers 2nd Lt. to Col.)

Crowned Crossed Sword and Baton in Wreath (Generals and Field Marshal)

Crowned Crossed Anchors in a Wreath (Navy)

Flying Eagle in a Crowned Wreath (Air Force)

Crown (I've seen this used by both Army and Royal Guard officers so I'm not sure what it is)

"Perched" Eagle (on a branch) within a wreath with a scroll reading "بوليس" (Police)

I've seen one picture of an NCO (Armored) wearing his branch insignia (Tank and crossed lances) on his beret (That's the only time I've seen that)

Besides that, I don't think I've seen any other Egyptian cap badges from that era.

 

Incidentally, I've only seen a badge on a fez once, for the royal footmen/coachmen (Crescent and three stars in a crowned wreath, applique not metal). Besides that, every one else wore a plain red fez.

 

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ID: 11   Posted (edited)

The only colored photo from the era that I've seen showing different uniforms

HM-King-Farouk---Parliament---1945---National-Geographic-Treated.png

Edited by Egyptian Zogist

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Just saw some color footage of the Royal Guard from the early 1950s on a Facebook page, that I had never seen before:

Royal Guard Cavalry officer, Royal Guard Infantry officer, and some Royal Guard infantryman with their colour.

egy1.JPG

egy2.JPG

egy3.JPG

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Thanks for posting these, color photos from this period are very rare. These photos are extremely useful for determining uniform and insignia colors. And the medals are nice too - it will be fun to try to identify them.

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Chris,

Sadly the medal detail is not there - even for us Egypt enthusiasts. I would suggest the end medal in both images is the Italian Order of the Crown. The large medal in the centre of the large group is, I am fairly certain, a Royal Afghan award. The first ribbon on the lower smaller group, blue with yellow edge stripes is the Order of the Nile. As to the rest........

Owain

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Thanks for the information Owain.

It's interesting to see two Royal Guards wearing the Italian Order of the Crown, as well as the probable Afghan award. That seems to have been one of the perks of being in the Royal Guards - being involved in state visits by foreign royalty and heads of state, and as a result being rewarded for it.

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy visited Egypt in February 1933, and following his abdication from the throne in May 1946 he went into exile in Alexandria, Egypt, where he died in December 1947 (and is still buried). The medals in the photos above could have been awarded for service to the King in exile during 1946-1947.

Here's another photo of a Royal Guard officer, probably a First Lieutenant. He also wears Italian Order of the Crown 5th Class, along with the Egyptian Medal of the Order of Mohammad Ali. I don't know what the date of the photo is. I imagine the Mohammad Ali medal was awarded for gallantry outside of combat, since he doesn't have a campaign medal?

Happy New Year and best wishes,

Chris

Scan 2.jpeg

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Another amazing photo, Chris!

I was wondering, do you have any photos or information about the uniforms of the Royal Guard infantry? I've seen several different styles of uniforms worn by officers and two of them described as "court dress" for Army officers in general (not just the Royal Guard). 

1. The uniform in my post (with the braided shoulder cords with rank insignia and cords across the chest), which I've seen in white and black.

2. This uniform, also in white and black (Khedive Abbas Hilmi II) (worn during the 1930s to 1950s tho, even hough its a 19th century design).

3. Another uniform, which I don't have a picture of, because it was someone's family photo, but it was like this uniform that Prince William is wearing Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with ribbons hanging off like that across the front. 

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Chris,

The medals, instituted with the Order of Mohammed Ali in 1915, were in gold and silver and were the senior decorations for bravery for both the army and the navy. Whether these were superseded by the Military Star of King Fouad is unknown but I suspect the latter was more of a decoration for leadership similar the British Distinguished Service Order (DSO). A pair of the Mohammed Ali bravery medals are on display amidst the medal collection at the Abdine Palace in Cairo - see below - gold obverse & silver reverse. Some years ago I was fortunate in being able to get a silver medal but I have never seen a gold one for sale. Many years ago in Cairo I was able to obtain a selection of ribbons which included numerous examples of this ribbon - sad to say no medals!

Regards,

Owain

Mohammmed Ali Medals.jpg

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Hello all,

Fascinating topic.

Here is Carman's interpretation of (some) branch insignia.

It would be very interesting to compare with Chris Weeks' book ;)

Capture Carman.JPG

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I'm a little ashamed to say that I don't know where Egypt and her army stood in relation to the beliggerents in the reat war, but the mention of the Italian Order intrigued me.  I know that the various Allies regularly 'traded' awards among themselves.  That is, for example, Col. Branfoot, a Captain in 1917, was awarded a Roumanian Order of the Crown even though he had never been withing 1,000 km of Roumania.  His mess mates believed it was as a consolation prize for not getting an MC or DSO and that the Biritsh would simply have sent in his name to the Roumanian Embassy.  I wonder if the Egyptian officer had any dealings with the Italian colonies in Africa or was, similarly, recognized for some non-Italian related service or deed. 

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iffig: Thank you for reminding me I have neglected to post images of the Egyptian branches of service from that book. I will try to get started this week.

Peter: Interesting quotes, thanks for sharing! During the First World War, Egypt became a British protectorate, so it was firmly on the side of the Allies. Some Egyptian combat troops (mostly artillery) served alongside British and Imperial soldiers in the Sinai, Libya, the Sudan, Palestine and Arabia. But the most important Egyptian contribution to the war effort was the Egyptian Labour Corps and the Camel Transport Corps; hundreds of thousands of them served in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Western Front.

Regards,

Chris

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Peter, I suspect that any foreign awards worn by Egyptians in the above photos will be related to state visits at home and abroad. Of course as Chris notes many Egyptians served during the Great War and the British campaign medals were awarded to them and no doubt in some instances some British gallantry awards - an interesting avenue of research no doubt. Access to Egyptian records concerning the same would be nice but I suspect unlikely! Regards, Owain

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Owain, that would make perfect sense.  Thanks for enlightening me.  I should have been able to figure out that the Egyptians were heavily involved, given how many Imperials passed through or were stationed there, but the brain was in weekend mode! 

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Here, about six months after I promised them, are some of the branch insignia from Zaki's book. I arranged these in the same order as the illustration from Carman's book which iffig kindly posted a few days back. Zaki's book lacks the insignia for the Staff College.

 

Slide1.jpg

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ID: 24   Posted (edited)

And a few others from the Zaki book:

Coast Guard

Scan 1.jpeg

Cavalry.

Scan 2.jpeg

Border Guards.

Scan 4.jpeg

Army organization/administration.

Scan 8.jpeg

Communications/signals.

Scan 10.jpeg

Maintenance.

Scan 14.jpeg

Edited by Chris Weeks
Correction.

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Amazing!!!

Most of these branch insignia are still in use, without the crown of course. My grandfather was a Lt. Col. in the Maintenance corps. I have his collar insignia, the same as the one you uploaded, but with little discs with a crescent and three stars soldered over the crown (added after the revolution of 1952). From the back you can still see the outline of the crown. I'll try to post a picture.

If only we could locate some uniform manuals or orders of dress! Amazing find, Chris!

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