Egyptian Sudanese drummer and buglers

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Egyptian Sudanese drummer and buglers

Post  mconrad on Mon 23 Aug 2010, 7:43 am

This is on auction, advertised as an albumen print dating from 1882, which to me seems much too early. I would say 1898 or later. I can't make out much of the drum decoration except for a star and crescent. Are those battle honors down the sides? I'm not too good with Arab numerals, but this might be 11 or 12 on the fez. Any ideas for the shoulder sleeve insignia?

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Re: Egyptian Sudanese drummer and buglers

Post  buistR on Mon 23 Aug 2010, 8:43 pm

Hello Mconrad - nice clear photo but as you say the date must be incorrect. The uniforms shown are those of the period preceeding World War I. There were six Sudanese battalions then, forming part of the Egyptian Army, numbered 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th. Each Sudanese unit had a British commander and four or five other British officers holding the senior ranks. Nine other infantry battalions were Egyptian and one Arab. A War Office "Military Report on Egypt" dated 1906 states:

"The Sudanese infantry only wear the drill order uniforms, as in the Sudan no (blue) cloth or white clothing is worn, khaki being the universal dress. A khaki band called the "imma" is worn aound the tarboosh.

Each battalion has a distinctive colour. A "flash" of this colour is worn on the "imma" in front by Egyptian battalions and on the right side by Sudanese battalions; the latter also wear a small "hackle" of feathers of the battalion colour over the "flash". The battalion number in brass is worn on the shoulder strap in Egypt and on the "flash" in the Sudan".

There were no regimental bands but each Egyptian and Sudanese battalion had six buglers per company. British Army buglers still wear the badge of a drum in silhouette on their upper arms (they carry both bugles and drums) and your photo appears to show this on the upper sleeves. My guess is that the small insignia above the corporal's stripes is a bugle horn. Double bugle horns (cow horns hanging below stylised cords) were worn over NCO's chevrons in British regiments and the appearance was the same.

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Excellent, thank you

Post  mconrad on Thu 26 Aug 2010, 5:56 am

Thank you very much for the clarifying information, which quite agrees with the photograph.

In the lower right corner is the photographer's labeling, but I can't make it out.

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