Formed in April 1926 as a para-military border guard to defend the northern and southern borders of the Transjordan, this unit was also an Imperial Service regiment. It drew its cadre from the Arab Legion, and replaced the disbanded British Gendarmerie, which itself had been founded following World War I to protect Transjordan. The unit was led by British officers, who typically donned sun helmets or visor caps – while the locally raised troops wore the Ottoman-styled kalpak, a type of headdress that was also worn by the Palestine Police Force and Arab Legion. Continue reading →
The traditional Arab headdress is often – and quite erroneously – called a “turban.” While it may have a shared origin with the Indo-Pakistani turban, including the fact that both are made of cloth, and were originally worn to provide protection from the sun, these are two distinct types of headdress.
The Arabian head scarf is known as the ghutrah, shemagh, but most commonly is referred to as the keffiyeh. It is commonly worn in arid regions; usually is made of cotton and features a distinctive woven check pattern that is believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia. Continue reading →
A black cloth covered cork helmet, as used by the Jordanian Army in the 1950s and 1960s. (Author’s collection)
While numerous colonial powers used sun helmets in their respective desert colonies, as well as in post World War I mandates and protectorates, a unique form of sun helmet was used by the local forces in Transjordan – later the Kingdom of Jordan. This respective helmet has no actual name, other than being referred to as the helmet of the Arab Legion, and later the Jordanian National Guard. Continue reading →