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A Model NCO

A superb study of a senior NCO of the King's African Rifles (KAR) taken in East Africa sometime around 1905.

He wears four campaign medals. The first is the Central Africa Medal with the "Central Africa 1894-98" bar earned as a member of the CAR. Next, is the 1887-1900 East & West Africa Medal which was only issued without a bar for the M'wele campaign of 1895-96. This is followed by the 1900 Ashanti Medal with the bar for "Kumassi". (Both battalions of the CAR were represented at the capture of Kumassi) and the Africa General Service Medal 1902-56 with an unidentified bar.

Even at this late date, the KAR were armed with converted Martini-Enfield rifles.

A special thanks to Mr. Mark Reid, formerly of the Canadian Military Museum for his help in sorting out the likely medals seen in this photograph.


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James Thompson Hague

Medical Officer to the

Sultan of Zanzibar

c. 1880


Gold Coast Haussas

c. 1890s

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Richard Francis Burton

c. 1875

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Edric Gifford, VC

24th Regiment of Foot


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John Crum Grahame

Highland Light Infantry

(In Turkish Service)

c. 1904

Bimbashi Grahame

Originally unidentified, I now believe this officer in Egyptian service to be Captain John Crum Grahame, DSO of the Highland Light Infantry while attached to the
Egyptian Army/Sudan Civil Administration c. 1904.

Although holding the rank of Captain in the British Army when this photograph was taken, Grahame seems to have been temporarily appointed to the Egyptian rank of Bimbashi which was the equivalent to the British rank of Major.

John Crum Grahame was born at Auldhouse, Renfrewshire, 2 February 1870, son of James Grahame and Agnes Crum. He was educated at Cargilfield and Harrow.

After leaving school in 1887, he joined the 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant on 9 April 1892 having already seen service with the Militia. Promoted Lieutenant on 22 November 1894 he saw extensive service with his battalion on India's
North-West Frontier in 1897-98 while attached to the Malakand and Buner Field Forces. He was presented the 1895 India General Service Medal with the clasp "Punjab Frontier, 1897-98".

Attached to the 1st battalion of the West African Frontier Force, he participated in the Ashanti Campaign of 1900 under Colonel Sir James Willcocks. Seeing action at Kokofu, Kumassi, Danassi, and Obassi.
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Veterinary Lieutenant
Alfred Joseph Haslam
Army Veterinary Corps
Uganda Railway Service
April 1888

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Henry Morton Stanley
New York Herald

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William Hyder Abdel Malek
Uganda Civil Service
Uganda/British East Africa
c. 1899

Son of the Sheik

Putting all hyperbole aside, William Hyder Abdel Malek of the Uganda Civil Service was indeed the son of a sheik - at least according to his father’s 1870 marriage certificate.  
William was born about 1871 in Beruit to Abdelghani Hyder Abdelmalek a Levantine subject of the Ottoman Empire and the
former Miss Eliza Agnes Morgan.

William’s parents had been married in London on 27 May 1870 and had returned to Syria for a short time where he was born.
The family came back to Caernarvonshire and the elder Abdelmalek* applied for and was granted British citizenship on 4 March 1875. Although the precise social standing within the Ottoman Empire that Abdelghani held is uncertain it was without doubt of the higher echelons since he is listed variously with the Turkish honorifics of “bey” and “effendi” as well as the aforementioned “sheik”.  Abdelghani served in Egypt during
the 1884-85 Nile Campaign and was granted the right by the Queen to wear the 4th Class Order of Osmanieh “in recognition of his eminent services during the late operations in Egypt.”

Having served at an interpreter with the garrison at Korosko he was also entitled to the Egypt Medal with the clasp “The Nile – 1884-85”. Although I have not found the appropriate
medal roll entry, he was in all likelihood also entitled to the bronze Khedive’s Star.

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