Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


Right - General Mehmed Pasha, Commander of the Imperial Ironclad Fleet. He is pictured with a ships landing party four-barrel Nordenfelt Gun (field carriage variation). The Ironclads were also armed with two mounted four-barrel Nordenfelt Guns as well, in addition to the main armaments.

Right - Ottoman Imperial Navy crest (1862-1903), consisting of three six (or five) -pointed stars with an anchor.

  • These stars represented the three seas that the Ottoman Empire had traditional claim over – Black Sea, Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas.

The 1860 Ottoman Navy version of the crest also continued in use, in the 1876-1908 Ottoman Imperial Navy, this retained two stars, and crescent over an anchor.

Right - An Ottoman navy officer's buckle with an identical insignia to the sword guard (Above); however, note the absence of the crescent badge (seen in the buckle design - Below.

Right - The 1876-1908 Ottoman navy officer's buckle.

1876-1908 Ottoman Imperial Navy Insignia: Anchor Over Crescent Version (From 1889)

Right - An 1876-1908 Sailor's belt buckle, that was recovered from the ship wreak of the frigate Ertugrul that sunk in 1889, in the sea of Japan [1][2].


[1] Turkish Airlines: Skylife. 2010/2014 AN OTTOMAN SHIP IN JAPAN THE FRIGATE ERTUGRUL. (September).

[2] The 1876-1908 Ottoman Imperial Navy's anchor over crescent buckle version is often cunfused with modern Turkish Navy insignia, as the same combination is still used. The later T.C.B buckle has an identical construction to earlier imperial versions execpt that the 'anchor over crescent' badge is smaller and lower down on the buckle face, and the large block letters have been added.

1876-1908 Imperial Ottoman Navy Ranks

Above - Imperial Ottoman Navy steamship ranks above the Navy ONBASI (Corporal), CAVUS (Sergeant), BASCAVUS (Sergeant-Major):

A: Company Adjutant (Master Chief Petty Officer).

B: Master Gunner.

C: SERDUMEN (Quarter-Master)

D: 1st Stoker.

E: 2nd Stoker.

Navy ranks such as the ONBASI (Corporal), CAVUS (Sergeant), BASCAVUS (Sergeant-Major), wore red chevrons. Whereas, the Imperial Army junior officers wore red chevrons, with gold/yellow tips.

1876 Imperial Ottoman Navy Infantry Battalion

The Navy Infantry Battalion, were sailors trained as infantry for land duties.

  • These were not the former Ottoman Imperial Navy Galeonjees (Marine Corps), which were largely an Imperial Army regiment used at sea.

The Navy Infantry Battalion had its own regimental staff, band, as well as a special 'award' sultan's standard:

  • This had attached to it, the Order of Mejidie, which was the 2nd Degree breast star award, with green and red ribbon sash and accompaning collar order).

The Sanjakdar (standard bearer) had the rank, directly under a Navy Binbasi (a Lieutenant Commander, with three gold cuff-rings).

  • The Sanjakdar jacket cuff displayed one silver top ring and knot, and two more gold cuff-rings.
  • He wore a red velvet cross-belt. This was edged in gold displaying the following badges: gold star and crescent, anchor, Ottoman shield and flags, and a second anchor.

Right - According the photograph captions contained in the Abdul-Hamid II collection, at the US Library of Congress both the Naval Fire Brigade and Navy Battalion of Fusiliers (or Infantry), were brigaded together. The Naval Infantry were a battalion strength unit, formed from sailors separate from the Ironclad Fleet Division.

1876 Navy Medical Officers

Right - Gabriel pasha Sevian (1822-1900) military doctor of Ottoman Imperial Navy. He is wearing the 1876 full dress uniform of the Doctor-General (the overall commander of medical services in the Navy). The original 1876 rank system for Imperial Army as well as Navy medical officers, had only three ranks in addition to the 'Doctor-General', who was a Imperial Navy Liva (Major-General), and these were:

  • Doctor, who was an Imperial Navy Kaimakam (Lieutenant-Colonel).
  • Pharmacist, who was an Imperial Navy Bimbashi (Major).
  • Surgeon, who was an Imperial Navy Yuzbashi (Captain).

Rank was shown with shoulder boards only. However, the Doctor-General had navy -styled cuff rings. He was the only officer to not have a ring-knot in the top cuff ring (unlike other Imperial Navy officers who had the ring-knot in the top cuff ring).

The Naval Fire Brigade

Right - Navy Fire Brigade Officer. He wears navy insignia, however these are mounted on a special tight fitting button less short jacket, identical to the Constantinople Firemen Regiment service jacket.

Right - The Abdul-Hamid II Collection (Library of Congress), identifies these sailors as part of 'The Naval Fire Brigade'. These were the Imperial Navy Sailors who protected the Docks against fires, and like the Imperial Guard's Firemen Regiment also provided base security to the dock areas. They wore navy uniforms with the red firemen helmet, however this had an anchor badge rather than the Order of Orta (Crescent) Badge.

Ottoman Imperial Navy Clerics

1876 till 1908 Ottoman Imperial Navy Sailors' Wet Weather Gear

Right - 1876-1908 Ottoman Navy wet weather gear:

  • These sailors are wearing a long skirted grey canvas pull-over (windcheaters) with hoods.
  • Waterproof leggings (that fully enclose the feet). These fully enclosed leggings, which they pull up, and attached to a belt strap around their waist.
  • As well, as an early safety vest. 

Pre-WW1 & Post WW1 Turkish Navy Buttons

Right - ONNIK & CIE BRODEURS DE LA COUR illustrates a typical Onnik made pre-WW1 Ottoman Imperial Navy button. Founded in 1870, by Onnik Lazian in Constantinople became the main French owned court jewellers in Constantinople, at the turn of the century. Onnik made items such as court swords, display company engraving emphasises that Onnik was in fact one of the Imperial Court jewellers by appointment, usually stating “Brodeurs de la Cour Imperiale Constantinople", translating as ‘Embroiderers to the Imperial Court Constantinople’.

Above/Right - The back of a 1908 Ottoman Imperial Navy button with Ottoman script, indicats pre-WW1 manufacture. 

Righ - The 1908 pattern of button has stayed in use till currently. The pre-1950s version are identical manufacture in gilt brass, to the pre-WW1 before the introduction of modern post-WW2 materials like 'stay bright'. The back mark: A.K.-JSTANNBUL with the capital 'A' is a typical pre-1950s Turkish maker.

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