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R.A.O.B. - Jewels from the Middle East


oamotme
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Gentlemen,

Whilst my main focus is upon the awards of the various Arab nations, whilst I lived in the Middle East I occasionally purchased RAOB jewels as being interesting tokens of British expats living and serving in the Middle East. I suspect that may were owned by ex-service personnel serving in one of the many British bases (usually RAF) now long since closed. Any that remain are where ex-service men are employed. During the current Covid-19 lock down I have had the opportunity to have a tidy up and it now appears that I have a nice representative collection. The quality varies from the excellent to not so good, but the variety of designs are most attractive.

Kind regards,

Owain  

RAOB Aden Dhofar Obverse.jpg

RAOB Aden Dhofar Reverse.jpg

RAOB Aden Obverse.jpg

RAOB Aden Reverse.jpg

Gentlemen,

I attach further images this time of Arabian Knights - originally based in Aden and now I believe in Saudi Arabia. Also from Egypt.

Owain

RAOB Arabian Knights Obverse.jpg

RAOB Arabian Knights Reverse.jpg

RAOB Egypt Obverse.jpg

RAOB Egypt Reverse.jpg

Gentlemen,

Now Iraq, Jordan & Palestine. Also Lawrence of Arabia (I think based in Saudi Arabia) and Scorpion - not sure where this was based.

Owain

RAOB Lawrence & Scorpion Obverse.jpg

RAOB Iraq Jordan Palestine Obverse.jpg

RAOB Iraq Jordan Palestine Reverse.jpg

RAOB Lawrence & Scorpion Reverse.jpg

Gentlemen,

And finally Lybia and Oman.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Lybia Obverse.jpg

RAOB Lybia Reverse.jpg

RAOB Oman Obverse.jpg

RAOB Oman Reverse.jpg

Edited by oamotme
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Hi Owain,

you post these very fine decorations and medals in the section "Masonic Medals & Jewels".

In my understanding the R.A.O.B. is not masonic. Am I wrong here?

"The RAOB organisation aids members, their families, dependents of former members and other charitable organisations."

"The Freemasonry strives to enhance himself and the society."

Using the same terms and definitions like "lodge" and "brother" does not make a RAOB member to be a Freemason. This is my opinion, and I apologize for my insufficient English.

Uwe

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Uwe, 

You are correct the RAOB is not part of the Freemasons. It is one of many organisations that could be classed as 'fraternal'. Various other posts on RAOB medals have been posted in this forum - also one on Schlaraffia 'medals', hence I posted these images here. If there is a more appropriate forum then this thread can be transferred. I will try and catalogue the ones I have.

Kind regards,

Owain

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Gentlemen,

And yet another two:

  • Egypt Pyramids Lodge 8673 - the map highlights Egypt and Aden which may infer that the Lodge owes its origins to a lodge in Aden.
  • Libya Karamanli Lodge 8940 - Karamanli was a state in what is now the area of Tripoli - the municipalty badge still has a three masted sailing ship.

Owain

RAOB Egypt & Libya Obverse.jpg

RAOB Egypt & Libya Reverse.jpg

Edited by oamotme
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Gentlemen,

Some more - whilst searching the internet for something else I came across these images of RAOB jewels (blank reverses) - all sold some ten years ago from various vendors (mostly E-Bay) :

  • Trucial Oman - Aero Trucial Lodge No. 9147 - almost certainly based near/in the Royal Air Force base in Sharjah which is now one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.
  • Bahrain - Bahrain Island Lodge No.99167 (the number is in Arabic) - there was British naval base at Muharraq in Bahrain. 
  • Egypt - a locally made piece, possibly of some age.
  • Iraq - Palm Tree Lodge No 6829 - based in Baghdad and dating from 1931.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Sharjah A.jpg

RAOB Bahrain C.jpg

RAOB Egypt Local A.jpg

1931-silver-raob-presentation-lodge_360_beb7b1f048aedaca3ab7a4effd017ddb A Edit.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Gentlemen,

Another one from Libya - the OEA Lodge No.8821 - a silver gilt piece hallmarked London, 1963 - with ribbon in the then Kingdom of Libya national colours. OEA was the name of the ancient city which in due course became Tripoli.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB OEA Obverse.jpg

RAOB OEA Reverse.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gentlemen,

Another selection this time from a Facebook link:

  1. A more recent jewel - Shamal Lodge No. 9948 Saudi Arabia - a shamal is a hot wind from the north - this RAOB Lodge is from one of the British Aerospace bases in Saudi Arabia - Dhahran in Eastern Province .
  2. An older piece - Khartoum Sudan - no lodge number - the central rider upon a camel is reminiscent of the Sudan Defence Force. From the post, The RAOB lodge jewel below is that of the Khartoum Temperance Lodge 6310 it later change its name in 1938 to the Blue Nile lodge 6310.its member were made up of RAF B Squadron sadly The Lodge closed around 1963"

Owain

RAOB Shamal KSA FB.jpg

RAOB Khartoum Sudan FB.jpg

Edited by oamotme
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Gentlemen,

And some more from Facebook - these three all from Oman and are no doubt from the period when British servicemen were active in the Sultanate following the accession of Sultan Qaboos:

  1. Dhofar No. 9721 - see above also.
  2. Bob Hunt of Dhofar lodge No. 9721 - related to the above but who Bob Hunt was/is I do not know
  3. Andrew Grainger Lodge No. 9898 - based in Muscat -  I do not know who Andrew Grainger was/is.

Kind regards,

Owain

 

RAOB Arab Selection 2 FB.jpg

Gentlemen,

And this time from Facebook a pair from El Firdan Lodge in Egypt - no image of the reverse - on the left the Lodge jewel and on the right a founder's jewel - I think, based on the style of the Founders jewel, that the pair date from early 1950's - probably before the 1952 Revolution. RAF El Firdan was based at Ismailia on the west bank of the Suez Canal.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Firdan Lodge x 2.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Another Facebook selection of RAOB Oman/Saudi Lodge jewels - no reverse image and I don't know if they are all from the same person:

  1. Batinah Lodge No. 9898  - named after the Batinah coast north of Muscat the capital of Oman
  2. Dhofar Lodge No. 9721 - see earlier post.
  3. Andrew Grainger Lodge No. 9898 - same number as Batinah Lodge above. 
  4. Midway Lodge No. 10090 - see earlier post.
  5. Golden Gulf Lodge No. 9683 - from the design I would infer that the Lodge was based on a British Aerospace compound in Dharhan, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.

Kind regards,

Owain

RAOB Arab Selection FB.jpg

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Gentlemen,
 
Last Tuesday I went to the monthly Kempton Park (wet London) race course antique / bric-a-brac fair - the first since lockdown. I have not been there before and so did not go with any great sense of expectation. A long queue to get in - many vendors - all outside and suitably spaced. Anyway the sun shines on the righteous or at least someone with obscure collecting interests.
 
I obtained two RAOB jewels to the Flying Six Lodge. Iraq is not mentioned on either medal but I recognised the ribbon on one from another piece - the Palm Tree Lodge of Iraq - see above. I was offered them at £10 each and told the vendor that I was buying them on a hunch and he said they were from Iraq - which confirmed my suspicion - bingo.
 
The first medal is the Lodge specific medal bearing on the obverse the Squadron badge and the text, "R.A.O.B. Flying Six Lodge No. 6546" and the Latin motto "Oculi Exercitus". There is no engraving on the reverse. The medal is of silver gilt with a Birmingham silver mark letter "D" for 1928. The makers initials "W.& H." are for Walker & Hall Ltd. of Sheffield as also noted in its presentation box.
 
The second is a generic RAOB medal bearing on the obverse, "Grand Lodge of England" and a suspension brooch engraved, "Flying Six Lodge". Importantly the reverse is fully engraved, "Presented to Bro. Fred Crayton Initiated in the Flying Six Lodge No. 6456 27th March 1925". Thus the pair belong together.  The medal is of silver hilt with a Birmingham silver mark letter "D" for 1928. The makers initials "C.& Co." are for Cashmore & Co. of Birmingham as also noted in its presentation box.
 
On looking up the history of RAF No.6 Squadron, formed in 1914 at Farnborough, I note they were based in Iraq from 1919 to 1935 and that the zig-zag ribbon pattern was a squadron design/pattern. The Latin motto "Oculi Exercitus" translates as, "The Eyes of the Army" and reflects its role in observation during the early years of the Great War. The squadron badge is an eagle preying on a serpent but this badge was approved in 1938 so the version on the medal - an Eagle in a figure 6 may be an earlier design, however I note online that the snake represents a six thereby avoiding the enemy identifying the squadron number - perhaps the RAOB jewel did not need to follow this precedent.
 
As I was aware of the existence of the Palm Tree Lodge (possibly a subsidiary of the Flying Six Lodge) - I thought, well I'll never find one of these, but at least I have a picture of it and lo and behold I now have an even earlier piece which pushes back the establishment of such RAOB military/RAF base lodges to at least 1925. Fred Crayton's jewels took three years to arrive from initiation to receipt.
 
"Following the Armistice the squadron transferred to Iraq, arriving in July 1919. Operating in the Army Co-operation role in Northern Iraq, it was equipped with Bristol Fighters, the squadron remained there for ten years before moving to Egypt in 1929. At the same time it re-equipped with Fairey Gordons and assumed the bomber role, Hawker Harts replacing these in 1935. Following problems in Palestine, the squadron relocated there in 1938 reverting to the Army Co-operation role with Hawker Hardys, adding Gloster Gauntlets and Westland Lysanders  later."
So a successful and importantly, an inexpensive foray out.
 
Kind regards,
 
Owain 
 
 

RAOB Flying Six Iraq Obverse.jpg

RAOB Flying Six Iraq Reverse.jpg

RAOB Flying Six Iraq Standard Issue Obverse.jpg

RAOB Flying Six Iraq Standard Issue Reverse Detail.jpg

RAOB Flying Six Iraq Standard Issue Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

A friend has sent me another Iraq based RAOB jewel - this appears to be linked to a specific fund raising event linked to the move from Hinaidi to Dhibban / Habbaniya and I would suggest available to all RAOB Lodges in Iraq and each indivdual lodge noted by a specific clasp.

Suspension

  • Top Bar - Donor
  • Lower bar - Dhibban Iraq
  • Clasp - Royal Baghdad Lodge No. 3647
  • Disc Obverse - Dhibban Building Fund Iraq 1937
  • Disc Reverse - Bro. R.W Smailes APRO 1938

From RAF Iraq Command Wikepedia:

Air Headquarter initially situated in the Old British Residency in Baghdad. The Officers were accommodated in various messes in Baghdad and the airmen in a compound at Southgate. In December 1928 the Headquarters moved from Baghdad to RAF Hinaidi Cantonment and was located in one block of the original RAF General Hospital buildings. Apart from the Air Officer Commanding's staff mess, all the AHQ personnel were then accommodated at RAF Hinaidi.[4] In 1937 Air Headquarters and the personnel moved from RAF Hinaidi Cantonment to the newly built RAF Dhibban (renamed RAF Habbaniya in 1938). The Air Officer Commanding then lived in Air House at Habbaniya.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Iraq Dhibban Obverse.jpg

RAOB Iraq Dhibban Reverse.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Gentlemen,

Yet another and coincidentally as with the preceding jewel it is also from the Royal Baghdad Lodge No. 3647. This is a generic RAOB jewel rather than a specific Lodge design. The inscription on the reverse reads, 

"Presented to Bro. J.A. Scott by the Royal Baghdad Lodge 3647"

There is no date but the maker is noted as, 

"Copyright Henry Slingsby Ltd. Nuneaton"

with a Birmingham silver mark and the letter 'B' being the date letter for 1926. The silver and enamel work is of the highest quality.

Kind regards,

Owain

 

RAOB Royal Baghdad Lodge Obverse.jpg

RAOB Royal Baghdad Lodge Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Whilst looking for something else in my 'archive' I came across this image of an Aden jewel - it appears to be from a common die as a RAOB India jewel - neither in my collection - images ex-internet - see below.  

Aden

Obverse "R.A.O.B. G.L.E. Aden Province" (with traditional Aden Dhow used on coinage and postage)

Reverse "Bro. E.C. Stoch / Aden Lge /No. 6797"

No manufacturer's name but the detail 'Regd No. 731578' - probably a patent or design number.

India

Obverse "Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes S.T.B. India" (unsure as to what S.T.B. stands for)

Reverse "Presented to / Bro. Albert Wright / by the / Heart of Baluchistan Lodge / No. 6262"

As with the Aden jewel no manufacturer's name but the detail 'Regd No. 731578' - probably a patent or design number.

Kind regards,

Owain

 

Aden RAOB A.jpg

Aden RAOB B.jpg

RAOB India Obverse.jpg

RAOB India Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Further to my post of 8 July I detail below a Delegates jewel of El Firdan Lodge 8677 of Egypt. The reverse is engraved :

"Presented To / Bro. / W Heaps /  C.P. / For Services / Rendered as /Delegate"

Silver-gilt with Birmingham mark (F.C.P.) & date letter 'B' for 1951

In addition a RAOB Latitude Zero Gan jewel. The reverse is engraved

"Bro. C. W. Heaps, C.P."

Silver gilt with London mark (maker unclear) & date letter 'n' for 1968

RAF Gan was situated at the south of the Maldives islands and established as a military base in 1941 - used as staging post for RAF flights and closed in 1976 and handed back to the Maldives Government.

Kind regards,

Owain

RAOB Firdan Obverse.jpg

RAOB Firdan Reverse.jpg

RAOB Gan Obverse.jpg

RAOB Gan Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Another image from the internet - this time for a RAOB Lodge in the north of Saudi - Tabuk - where a British Aerospace operation was/is based. 

Obverse - "Tabuk / Saudi Arabia / Northern Border Lodge / 10537"

Reverse - Blank

The gilt base metal jewel bears a  map of the outline of Saudi Arabia in yellow (sand), the Red Sea in red with a gold star on the location of Tabuk.

Many years ago I had the good fortune to visit Tabuk and its location provided easy access to the remains of the Hijaz Railway up top the border with Jordan and also to the Red Sea coast north of the port of Dibba - miles and miles of wonderful pristine beaches and not a soul in sight.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB - KSA Detail B Obverse.jpg

RAOB - KSA Detail B Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Another this time, courtesy of Worthpoint, a silver RAOB jewel from Sudan - it was part of a group of three - the suspension bears the word 'Sudan' - the other two generic RAOB jewels were engraved on the reverse, "Blue Nile Lodge 6310". It has a London silver mark by 'L. Simpson' and the date letter 'S' which is 1953. Sadly the images are not high definition. The obverse design of a camel is common to the Sudan Defence Forces of the period. The ribbon colours are symbolic of the Blue Nile and White Nile that meet at Khartoum. See also my post of 8 July where this Lodge's predecessor jewel - Khartoum Temperance Lodge 6310, is illustrated.

Regards,

Owain 

RAOB Blue Nile Obverse.jpg

RAOB Blue Nile Sudan Reverse.jpg

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Good Morning,

Some more images from two internet sources. This time the Aden Phoenix Lodge. The Lodge specific jewel - sadly not high definition, depicts a phoenix over the barren rocks of Aden. The crown and eagle are, I believe, symbolic of the RAF. No image of the reverse was available. The second jewel is a generic RAOB jewel for a treasurer.

Obverse - 'Treasurer / Aden Phoenix 8506'

Reverse - 'Presented to / Bro. / W.H. Adams CP / by the / Aden Phoenix / Lodge No. 8506 / For Services Rendered / As C Treasure / 1953-54'

The latter jewel is hallmarked silver  - Birmingham made, but the date mark is unclear.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Aden Phoenix Obverse.jpg

RAOB Aden Phoenix No. 8506 Obverse.jpg

RAOB Aden Phoenix No. 8506 Reverse.jpg

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Good afternoon,

Two more examples from the internet - both apparently from Libya. The first has a ribbon of the colours of the Kingdom of Libya Red, Green & Black. The badge consist of a central depiction of ruins superimposed upon a flaming torch (Royal Army Education Corps?) and crossed swords (Army Physical training Corps?). Whilst Benghazi is in Libya I have not been able to ascertain the significance of Sharaan.

Obverse - 'RAOB / Sharaan Pride of Benghazi / 8368'

Reverse - no image available

The second medal would appear to be of the same Lodge with the badge but without the circular background however the Lodge number has changed from 8368 to 9197 - perhaps it lapsed and was reconstituted?

Obverse - 'RAOB / Arabic script (Sharaan) /  Sharaan / Lodge 9197'

Reverse - ECP (Parry) Birmingham silver mark - letter 'R' for 1966

Regards,

Owain

raob-jewel-sharaan-pride-benghazi_8368.jpg

RAOB Sharaan Obverse.jpg

RAOB Sharaan Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

This time back to Oman and a RAOB Lodge at Masirah - an island off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. The RAF first used the island in 1933 and a RAF base was established in 1943 - this was handed over to Sultan of Oman's Air Force in 1977. The well made gilt base metal jewel obverse reads 'Masirah / Turtle Lodge / 9384' and bears in relief a turtle - the island is an important hatching ground for loggerhead turtles. The reverse is blank - no makers marks. The suspension is an eagle with outspread wings indicative of the Lodge being a RAF one. I also illustrate the crest of RAF Masirah which bears the blue turtle from which the jewel design is taken.

Kind regards,

Owain

RAOB Masirah Obverse.jpg

RAOB Masirah Reverse.jpg

RAF Masirah Crest.jpg

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Gentlemen,

This jewel may or may not be appropriate to this topic - the internet image is unclear but the disc of the jewel bears a camel and palm trees above a pair of clasped hands. The suspension bars apparently read 'Thomas Binns / Lodge No. 8314'. Around the jewel is the Latin inscription 'Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit' - the RAOB motto translating as, 'No Man Is At All Times Wise'. There was no image of the reverse.

The camel and palm trees suggest a Middle East origin but I have been unable to find further information.

Regards,

Owain

1976-Raob-Lodge-Breast-Jewel-Thomas-Binns 8314.jpg

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Gentlemen,

No pictures this time but I detail below a list of the above and other countries from which I have seen, on the internet, RAOB Lodge specific jewels:

  • Aden
  • Australia (Christmas island / New South Wales)
  • Bahrain
  • Brunei
  • Ceylon
  • China
  • Cyprus
  • Egypt
  • Germany (Berlin / Wickraath)
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong (New Territories)
  • India (Baluchistan)
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Korea
  • Libya
  • Malaya
  • Maldives (Gan)
  • Malta
  • Netherlands (Oude Maastricht)
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates (Sharjah)

No doubt there are more countries and each country may have more than one lodge. The foot print given by the above list reflects the extent of British RAF (& other military) bases which allowed the spread of RAOB Lodges.

Kind regards,

Owain

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gentlemen,

A last post for 2020. Just arrived a RAOB El Firdan Lodge jewel. I believe this RAOB Lodge was originally constituted in Egypt and later moved to Cyprus.

Obverse "Egypt (top suspension) / Cyprus (ribbon bar) / RAOB (ribbon device) / El Firdan Lodge 8677"

Reverse "Bro. / John Train, C.P. / 1966" 

Suspension brooch marked 'Silver' and base of badge marked with London silver marks with date letter 't' for 1974" and 'L. Simpson (London) Ltd.'

Happy new year one and all.

Owain

 

RAOB Firdan Obverse.jpg

RAOB Firdan Reverse.jpg

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Gentlemen,

Three further images forwarded to me by a friend:

"Bitter Lake Egypt Cyprus Lodge 8418" - as with the El Firdan Lodge above it would appear that this lodge moved from Egypt to Cyprus.

"Member 1927 Canal Zone Sub Certifying Council" - this jewel recognises a specific role within the region.

"Overseas Buffalo Association" - with clasp/bar "Egypt & Cyprus Branch No. 6.0.B.A."

Sadly no reverse images.

Regards,

Owain

RAOB Bitter Lake Egypt & Cyprus Obverse.jpg

RAOB Egypt Canal Zone Obverse.jpg

RAOB Overseas Egypt Cyprus Obverse.jpg

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