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Trans-Jordan Frontier Force Officers Kalpak


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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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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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  • 7 years later...

As far as I'm aware there is no rank on the hat. We have my grandfathers Kalpak. He was a major in the TJFF 3rd company, calvary, stationed in Jisr al Majamie between 1945-1948. I have lots of photos of the unit but here is one of the officers. My grandfather is the 3rd from the right.

1503138330_027TJFFOfficers.thumb.jpg.e9dc6439eff86bd99fb75879c40e33f7.jpg

Unfortunately, I can't find pictures of the hat other than that of it damaged before we had it professionally repaired but seen as it shows exactly the same pattern that may already be of help to you.

IMG_2011.jpg.13fab8de992010954a09598ddfa437f6.jpg

I hope this helps,

D

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Hello , The creator of the Arab Legion was the then Lt Colonel Frederick Peake. he was commisioned from the Imperial Camel Corps to inspect the security in Palestine.in 1920 he was ordered to recruit two forces , totalling about 150 men .during 1921 22 he formed the Reserve Mobile Force origin of the Arab Legion . Peakes Pasha rose to the rank of Jordanian Lieut, General . he was born in 1886 and died in 1970. The TJFF was created in 1926 with cadres drawn from the Legion . Sir John Bagot Glubb ,took command of the Legion in 1939 and  transformed it in a military force worth of consideration and not only a security force o cope with internal unrest.

King Abdullah I first emir and King of Transjordan , now Jordan, used to wear military uniform in public appareances . sometimes he weared the kalpak as headgear. Since 1921 existed a body of the King Personal Bodyguards integrated by Circassians who wears the kalpak and a Cossack type tunic .

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  • 3 weeks later...

As far as I've been able to ascertain, the TJFF utilised a rank structure based on the Turkish model - not unlike the Egyptian and Sudanese armies, but with minor titular differences relating to the equivalent ranks of captain (rais) and major (kaid).

These lower ranks appear to have been locally-commissioned positions and not those used by the (more senior) seconded British officers who continued to use their own ranks, though they may have been referred to by their Turkish equivalent titles: major (bimbashi) and lieutenant colonel (kaimakam).

Any confirmation or clarification on this would be appreciated.

 

 

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