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Remembered Today:

Any possibility of an ID?


asdarley
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fredshelpers.jpg

The caption reads "Fred's little friends" Fred being a Captain in the Indian Armies 104th Wellesley Rifles...but these chaps don't look as though they are from India! The knives look Arabian to me.

Any thoughts as to where they might br from?

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The knives, Jambiya, could really be from anywhere in the middle east, but the designs do vary and someone may be able to pinpoint exactly where from. But be wary of specific answers because lots of tribesman were nomadic.

Mick

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Possibly somehwere on the Gulf? Oman?

All three have Martini rifles of various types. It is difficult to tell, but the left hand one looks like a .303 Martini-Enfield, the centre a cut down .303 and the right hand man has a .577/.450 Martini-Henry. The middle man though has a bandoleers of .577/.450 rounds.

I have based the calibres on barrel thickness, but it is hard to tell scale from the picture and they may all be local made rifles in any case!

Regards

TonyE

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Tony,

I am no rifle expert - but are not the right and left rifles the same model? The picture is on the skew, but I think they are the same length and pattern?

I think even the barrels of all three are the same diameter? Optical illusions perhaps suggesting otherwise....

Ian

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104 WELLESLEY'S Rifles were part of 16th Indian Infantry Brigade in the advance party of IEF D to Mesopotamia in 1914 and were involved in the capture of Basra from the Turks.

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Thanks for the input, I did think the centre rifle may be a Martini Henry. Fred was killed during the Battle of Shiaba but these guys look as though they might be from around say Aden? Could he have taken them with him to Mespot?

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As I said, it is difficult to tell, but I have straightened the picture and compared the left and right hand rifles, and one can see the difference. I was looking at the barrel diameters.

In any case it is a bit academic, they are definitely Martinis of one sort or another

Regards

TonyE

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The style of the dishdashi says somewhere in the vicinity of Kuwait. Certainly top (North East) of the Gulf. I have seen very similar knives (based on the hilts) from the same area (I used to work with a guy who collected them). If 'Fred' was involved in the capture of Basra this would make sense.

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Thinking of some other threatres, e.g., Vietnam, I know of examples of men hiring men specifically of a ethnic identity different than the locals as bodyguards, as they would be outside of the local alliances, etc. and would be more trustworthy. I have heard of Green Beret officers in Vietnam hiring a few Chinese mercenaries to watch their backs.

Bob Lembke

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The dishdashi looks Aden-Oman region, never seen a short one up the Gulf, but I am no expert. The shemagh's are almost certainly Omani going by the multi colours and the way they are wrapped.

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edorc

Everything I see - curve of Khunja (knife), dress, rifles, facial features - reminds me of "Wali's Askars" in Oman.

Each Wali, or local administrator, had his own armed men. This photo could have been taken anywhere from Salalah, Muscat, through the Straits of Hormuz to Gwadur, an enclave that the Sultan of Oman used to own on what is now the Pakistani coast.

The Royal Navy and Indian Army units and officers were active in Oman and its waters throughout the Great War (see Official History: Operations in Persia 1914-1919.)

Harry

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My first raction from the dress, headgear and Khanjar knives was Omani as well. Though which bit I don't know.

Cheers

Dominic.

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I tend to go with the Aden idea, Indian Army garrison reasonable ammount of action and the natives reminds me of the pictures my Dad brought back from his tour of Aden in 1967. Another of my assumptions was My Great Uncle was a Capt in the 11th Sikhs based on Perrin Island and in Crater Aden in 1924-26.

Rob

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  • 11 months later...

I know this thread is quite old, but I am a new member. These are definitely 100% Omani, the Kunjars are quite definitive. The shape of the hilt and the scabbard mounts with the multiple rings are unmistakable.

Eddie

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