Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

1750 TILL 1908 OTTOMAN MILITARY SCHOOL UNIFORMS; AND WW1 OTTOMAN BOY SCOUTS UNIFORMS 

Janissary Court Pages

Left - Illustration extracted from the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasha ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’, shows a Janissary Court Page (Icoglands).

  • This instituition had largely ended in 1826
  • Ir was re-established in 1914 - which is the specific reference made in the British 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army, that the Ottoman Scout Movement did not cease operation but became a Military organisation/school headquartered in the Imperial Court, under an Imperial Army Colonel. See Sylvia Ducharme. Slaves of the Sultan: the Janissaries. Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (May 2001), for a description of the Janissary Court Page (Icoglands).

1841 Military Acadamy

The Military Academy was formed in 1834, and its first officers graduated in 1841.

  • Following, this school, established in 1848, the Military College (Military Staff College or Army War College), was a two year military staff college of the Ottoman Empire.
  • These new schools replaced the Janissary Corps des Pages, at the Imperial Court's Palace School (school for pages training; as well as traditionally the education of 'white eunuchs'), that was located in the Topkapı Palace, in Constantinople (which was itself re-established in 1914 when the Ottoman Boy Scouts were used as the basis for this organisation - this is discussed below).

Right -  Illustration extracted from the book by Mahmud Sevket Pasha ‘L'Organisation et les Uniformes de l'Armee Ottomanne (1907)’, shows a uniform for a student at the Military Academy (1834-1861).

  • This figure is shown wearing a medal on a ribbon, however it is not entirely clear as to what award with would be used in this period.
  • The likely medal, is a Order of Iftihar, which were made in several versions by the Imperial Mint (and returned on the recipients' death). It was "awarded for accomplishments" [1]. The only ribbon likely in this period is red with green stripes.

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[1] Metin Erüretin. (2001) Osmanli Madalyalari ve Nisanlari. [Ottoman medals and orders: documented history]. DMC: 169.

1832 till 1861 Military School

General Staff Collage

1876 till 1908 Medical School

Post-1909 Medical School Students

  • Medical Student Officers

Right - Medical School WW1-wartime collar year insignia, with three white bars.

  • These collars are Black velvet cloth collars with silver bars, for years 1-5.
  • The Turkish Army Handbook states that Medical School graduates "entered the Army with the rank of Captain" (p119).
  • The Apothecaries, and Surgeons after graduation entered the Army as Lieutenants.
  • It appears that the Medical School graduates at year three graduated as Apothecaries, and Surgeons.
  • The best students went on for another two years (four and five), to finally graduate as Doctors.

A Medical School Student with five-cuff chevrons (pre-1908) /collar bars,indicating a fifth-year student.

Veterinary & Pharmaceutical Schools

Right -

Engineering School

Artillery School

Right - Military Artillery School (pre-1908), this studuent nominally rated the same rank level as the ‘Bascavus Muavini’, and appears to be wearing an 1876 pattern sword knot, in red/brown leather - identical to the cavalry soldier's sword knot.

Music School

Navy Academy

  • Navy Cadet Officers (Midshipmen)

Right - Illustration extracted from 

Military Secondary Schools

Right - Extracted from a US Library of Congress photograph of two students (a first-year, and a second year-student, as indicated by the cuff chevrons in 1900), at the "Imperial High School Sam-i Serif Mekteb-i İdadi-yi, Damascus". However, more correctly these are students at the Military Secondary Schools. Education at the Military Secondary Schools, prepares the students for entry into the Imperial Army, graduating to go onto the Military School, to be trained as officers.

Right - From WW1, the white armband suggests one of these military secondary school students has been employed with the Ottoman Red Crescent Society; photographed in the Australian War Memorial picture B02833, taken in "Syria: Damascus 1918"). The keffiyeh was widely worn throughout the Ottoman empire.

WW1 Ottoman Boy Scouts Uniforms (1914-1918 Corps des Pages)

The start of Scouting in Turkey is attributed to the brothers Ahmet and Abdurrahman Robenson. They were sports teachers at the Galatasaray, and Kabatas high schools in Istanbul in 1909; and Nafi Arif Kansuand Ethem Nejat.

  • The first units were organized at Darussafaka, Galatasaray, and İstanbul high schools, during the late Ottoman period [1].
  • During this same period, Scouting was created independently in outlying areas of the Ottoman Empire, most notably Lebanon and Syria.
  • In 1915, an Austro-Hungarian Scout unit in Constantinople was founded and served up to 1918. This unit was a member of the Österreichischer Pfadfinderbund. This Scout Association supported the foundation of Scout groups in Damascus, Beirut and Aleppo.

The official history states, that "Scouting efforts were put to a halt during the Balkan Wars and World War I" [2].

  • According to the '1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army', which describes the WW1 role of the Ottoman Boy Scouts movement, and its development/re-establishment of the Corps des Pages [3].

Right - A photograph of the Ottoman prince Mehmed Orhan Efendi (b.1909), and taken in 1916-18 (when he was likely 7 or 9 years old). He is wearing a hight quality complete post-1916 Ottoman army officers' uniform. It is likely the case, he was in the Corps des Pages as these boys wore standard imperial army uniforms.

In WW1, the Ottoman Boy Scouts were used as the basis for a re-established Corps des Pages, at the Imperial Court's Palace School (school for pages training; as well as traditionally the education of 'white eunuchs').

  • This was located in the Topkapı Palace, in Constantinople.

Right - Extracted from the photograph collection of Charles Chusseau-Flaviens, a French independent photojournalist includes a series taken of the Ottoman Boy Scouts around the period of 1910 (but more likely from 1914, as the picture series were catalogued in 1919) [3]. These show uniformed groups wearing:

  • Post-1913 Turkish Army Soldier’s Kabalak (who appear to be teenage boys); and,
  • Post-1909 Imperial Army uniforms (of the WW1-period), which suggests a later date around 1914 - which would be the scouts when they were the Corps des Pages.

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[1] Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey

[2] Ibid.

[3] Illustrating the connection with the Ministry of War, most of Charles Chusseau-Flaviens photographs of the Ottoman Boy Scouts/Corps des Pages were taken in the grounds of the Ministry of War buildings, and prominently show the Beyazıt Fire Tower at the Gate of the Ministry of War.

[4] 1916 Handbook of the Turkish Army', which describes the WW1 role of the Ottoman Boy Scouts movement, and its development/re-establishment of the Corps des Pages:

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