Sudanese Battalion Uniforms

For all discussions relating to the Egyptian and Sudanese campaigns fought between 1882 and 1898.

Sudanese Battalion Uniforms

Postby DaveyJ947 » 03 Dec 2015 22:27

Can anyone please point me towards some sources for details of early uniforms worn by the IXth Sudanese Battalion.

Many thanks

Dave
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Re: Sudanese Battalion Uniforms

Postby Mark A. Reid » 04 Dec 2015 05:01

Hello Dave;

Perhaps the best illustrated and most accessible source is the Osprey booklet on Egypt and The Sudan, 1882-98. I seem to recall that it has a couple of illustrations of Sudanese infantry. There are references to their appearance scattered throughout the memoirs of Brigadier Mitford and Lt. Col. Andrew Haggard too. Perhaps I could provide a brief overview?

- When initially formed in 1884 the battalion was the " Cinderella " of the Egyptian Army ( EA ) and, according to young Mitford, there were no more than 27 pair of boots within the whole bn. a year later and these were exchanged with whatever soldiers were providing the guard that day! At this stage their uniform consisted of a red tarboush with black tassel, a blue woollen pullover, white trousers and blue puttees. Enough raw leather was provided so that each man could produce and decorate his cartridge belt, etc. as he saw fit and many different tribal styles were on display. This individualism was slowly phased out however and each man eventually presented a uniform appearance.

- By late 1886 the battalion's white breeches had gradually disappeared and had been replaced with khaki ones.

- In the summer of 1890 both the IXth and Xth Sudanese Battalions received a new winter uniform modelled on the familiar Zouave pattern; a short, open, light blue jacket & breeches, trimmed with yellow piping, red cummerbund and white spats.

- Khaki service dress was also introduced and worn for garrison duties but the blue pullover, khaki breeches and puttees were retained for operational work.

- Various covers were worn over and/or around the tarboush but their description would require far more time than I have before " Lights Out " so suffice to say that by the mid-1890's a khaki cover enveloped the headdress. Please note the following ...

None of the Sudanese infantry battalions EVER wore Roman numerals on their headdress during the 19th century, no matter what you might see portrayed on toy soldiers or in modern artwork. By an Egyptian Army Order of about 1890, I seem to recall, the brass Indo-Persian numbers worn on the shoulder straps were transferred to the coloured flash worn on the right side of the tarboush cover. Roman numerals were eventually used on the battalion drums and one side of the battalion colour, but this practice came later, after 1900.

If you have any specific questions then please feel free to contact me and I will try and assist. there are plenty of uniform experts on this Forum and I have no doubt they will be able and willing to help too. I attach two images, one depicting the Xth Bn. on the march in their campaign dress and the other showing a Sudanese Nafar in khaki service dress.

Cheers,

Mark
Attachments
Xth Sudanese Bn. on the march - Copy.jpg
Xth Sudanese Bn. on the march - Copy.jpg (99.69 KiB) Viewed 475 times
VWF - Sudanese Nafar.jpg
VWF - Sudanese Nafar.jpg (62 KiB) Viewed 475 times
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Re: Sudanese Battalion Uniforms

Postby DaveyJ947 » 06 Dec 2015 23:00

Mark,

I am very grateful for the information provided. It is just what I am after.

Regards

Dave
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Re: Sudanese Battalion Uniforms

Postby privatejones » 19 Dec 2015 03:02

Mark,

Thanks for posting on the Sudanese Infantry. Many useful things here I was able to use. Much Appreciated.
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