Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms


1909 Till 1916 Officers' Rank Insignia

Ottoman Imperial Navy uniforms had changed very little from the 1876 to 1908 period. By 1909, the Navy Infantry had been abolished, and Navy officers had adopted a new rank board system, to wear alongside the traditional cuff insignia that was based on five new service branch colours (illustrated on the Plate below), these were:

  • Dark Blue (Combat Branch).
  • Red (Engineering).
  • White (Administration).
  • Light Blue (Construction and Mechanical Engineering).
  • Blood Red Velvet (Medical).

This system lasted till 1916, when the Imperial Navy adopted the same shoulder boards as used by the Army.

Ottoman Imperial Navy Buckles and Dress Belts

Right - Ottoman imperial navy officer's belts and buckles:

Top: Senior officers dress brocade belt, with post-1908 buckle [1] [2].

Middle: Officer's deck belt with pre-1908 buckle.

Bottom: Officer's deck belt with post-1908 buckle [1] [2].


[1] The 'anchor over the crescent' design, likely dates back till 1889.

[2] The French colonial service (Armee du North Arfrica) used the same emblem, till 1953.

Right - A typical post 1909 Ottoman imperial navy officer's buckle.

1909 till 1916 Ottoman Imperial Navy Sailors Blue Dress

1909 till 1916 Ottoman Imperial Navy Sailors White Dress

1909 till 1916 Ottoman Imperial Navy Junior Officer Rank Insignia

Below - Imperial Ottoman Navy steamship ranks above the Navy ONBASI (Corporal), CAVUS (Sergeant), BASCAVUS (Sergeant-Major) [1], underwent a major change in the 1908-1914 period with an update to the junior officer gades rank insignia [2]:

A: Company Adjutant (Master Chief Petty Officer).

B: Master Gunner.

C: SERDUMEN (Quarter-Master)

D: 1st Stoker.

E: 2nd Stoker.

These indicate that in 1908/1908 (as this is when these illustrations were first made), that the rank insignia for the Company Adjutant, Master Gunner, and SERDUMEN (Quarter-Master), appear to have been updated with a new group of insignia. These new insignia, used gold chevrons, an anchor topped with a star (possibly a star and crescent), reflecting these as Petty Officer(s), and a Cheif Petty Officer [3].


[1] Navy ranks such as the ONBASI (Corporal), CAVUS (Sergeant), BASCAVUS (Sergeant-Major), wore red chevrons.

[2] Extracted/redrawn from illustrations contained in Askeri Müze ve Kültür Sitesti Komutanligi. (1986) Osmanli askeri teskilat ve kiyafetleri: 1876-1908 [Ottoman military organization and uniforms] Yayinlari: 74.

[3] Transition in nany ranks from the steam ship period:

Petty Officer(s)

Ottoman Imperial Navy Cold Weather Uniforms

The 1876 till 1908 Ottoman imperial navy sailors' wet weather gear, was still in use:

  • Sailors wear 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.

Right - Extracted from a pre-WW1 colour post card of an Ottoman rowing team shows red wool caps being worn.

Ottoman Marines: Ordinary Sailors Use as Land Infantry

WW1 British references refer to, "Ottoman Marines" [1][2]. These are ordinary sailors trained for land duty as infantry soldiers to protect navy port facilities [3], and for navy landing parties.

ABOVE: Imperial War Museum Collection photograph Q 50360, caption: "Unit of Turkish Marines on the march".

The WW1 land-service uniform consisted on the standard ship's uniform with black boots (sailors were bare foot on ships); white version of the post-1913 kabalak [Enveriye], that had been adopted by the army; and, 1876 infantry equipment.


[1] Sir Douglas Austin Gamble's report. This states, "there was around 9000 Marines around 1906/07, but was reduced to around 4000 by 1918."

[2] Imperial War Museum Collection photograph Q 50360, caption: "Unit of Turkish Marines on the march".

[3] See 1876 Imperial Ottoman Navy Infantry Battalion.

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