BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

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BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby fantomark » 27 Apr 2013 15:56

HI, all!
On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th March here in Cisliano we had our annual "STORITALIA" , Italy's best known multi-era re-enacting event .

As usual , I was the only British Victorian re-enactor!
This year I decided to turn up in the uniform of a BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879.

I quite like the combination of the blue patrol jacket and the Egyptian Tarboosh.

I am aware that some of this forum's members have questioned the possibility that a British officer would have mixed and matched any British and Egyptian items of uniforms, but this really appears to have been the case!

No less than Gordon himself wrote to his sister from the Soudan saying : " I am wearing Engineer undress, with fez. It is very fine in its effect!"

However, I find the Foreign Service Helmet a definitely more practical (and stable!) headwear, and I replaced my fez with it early in the day!

My patrol jacket is still definitely in urgent need for some campaign medals ribbons: but a friend of mine and very active VW forum member is now busy getting me some! :wink:
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Last edited by fantomark on 27 Apr 2013 16:43, edited 6 times in total.
"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi
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Re: BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby fantomark » 27 Apr 2013 16:01

For obvious reasons the most numerous and popular "Victorian Era" re-enactors were Italian Garibaldini Red Shirts from Italy's Wars of Independence..
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"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi
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Re: BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby fantomark » 27 Apr 2013 16:03

Italian infantry and Bersaglieri (of all ages!) , however, were also well represented!
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Last edited by fantomark on 27 Apr 2013 16:18, edited 1 time in total.
"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi
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Re: BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby fantomark » 27 Apr 2013 16:11

The American Civil war is always a very popualr period with re-enactors here in Italy.

Attached are 3 pics showing a detachment of Rebels and a Zouave, while my wife's US Cavalry costume was inspired by John Ford's epic movie "She wore a yellow ribbon" :D

Marco
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Last edited by fantomark on 27 Apr 2013 16:39, edited 1 time in total.
"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi
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Re: BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby fantomark » 27 Apr 2013 16:13

Finally: I wish we had one of these in Khartoum in 1884 !!!!

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Marco
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"What a pity you are not an Englishman!".
Gordon's remark to his Italian lieutenant, Romolo Gessi
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Re: BRITISH OFFICER IN KHEDIVIAL SERVICE, c. 1879

Postby Mark A. Reid » 27 Apr 2013 18:58

Ciao Marco;

Thanks for sharing the pictures of what must have been a most colourful event. I couldn't help but notice that one of the Bersaglieri has slipped a woollen cap under his hat so it must have been cold. As a Canadian, I invariably presume that it it's always sunny and hot in Italy but, obviously, I'm mistaken.

Absolutely nothing wrong with a mix of British and Egyptian uniform items, although this became less acceptable as the Egyptian Army ( EA ) established itself in the mid-1880's. The first generation of British officers, on contract from the British Army through the Foreign Office, tended to retain items of British kit when they first arrived in Egypt. In 1884, however, H.H. the Khedive ordered that all officers adopt the tarboush for daily wear and this practice appears to have been followed. The only deviation from this appears to have been the three British officers of the EA who fought at El Teb in early 1884. They seem to have worn their white Egyptian uniforms but with a red puggaree to diffrentiate themselves from their " English " peers. By the time that the Egyptian garrison arrived at Suakin in April 1884, however, everyone appears to have reverted to the tarboush. Hardly as practical a sun-shade as the helmet perhaps, but, as you know, various arrangements were added to the tarboush to make it more practical, the most common being the cloth keffiyeh wrapped around and falling at the rear over the collar.

Another indication of this gradual return to its Ottoman roots is that, when first re-established in 1883, the EA adopted British ranks. In 1886, however, the old Turkish ranks ( Onbashi, Mulazim Awal, Bimbashi, etc. ) officially returned and were used thenceforth in all official correspondence.

One of the photographs held by the Sudan Archives depicts Colonel Kitchener with the English Officers, E.A. Suakin,1888. Out of the 25 officers depicted, only two individuals wear something other than the tarboush; one in a Foreign Service helmet ( white with curb chain and spike ) and t'other in a blue Field Service Cap ( not a Torrin. ) I suspect that by this time any British officer serving with the EA would have been indistinguishable from his Egyptian peers. It is interesting to note that by the 1898 campaign this trend had begun to reverse and many of these individuals had adopted helmets. Room for another discussion here, perhaps?

By the way, sorry that I can't show the Sudan Archives photo but copyright issues and my own technologically-challenged skills prevent it!

Cheers,

Mark
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