German East African Schutztruppe NCO



Photo Peter Klein


This is a photograph of an unknown Feldwebel of the German East African Schutztruppe taken in Africa sometime between 1896 and 1914.

He wears the 1896 white tropical uniform of the Schutztruppe piped in blue. The shoulder straps for non-commissioned officers were made of cords in the imperial colours. A group of four chevrons (in white metallic lace edged in blue- see NCO Rank Insignia Page) denoting him as a Sergeant Major ("Feldwebel") can been seen on his left arm.

In his second buttonhole is the ribbon of a medal. It appears to be black and white, so would presumably be for a Prussian decoration such as the Military Honour Award or the Warriors Merit Medal. It seems unlikely to have been an Iron Cross, as very few were ever distributed in East Africa and even then only after a delivery in 1916 by the blockade running ship, Marie. The white uniform and sword were not commonly worn after the outbreak of the First World War.

He wears a grey peaked field cap with hatband and piping in white (for East Africa) and a small imperial cockade on the front. Trousers and shoes are matching white.

He wears an NCOs brown leather belt and buckle. As a senior NCO he is entitled to carry a sword, probably the 1889 Prussian Officers sword with an officers sword knot ("Portepee") in white metallic lace with black and red threads.


Please respect the generosity of Peter Klein in sharing this photograph with us by not reproducing it without prior permission. 

Please contact me here if you have other photographs of the German colonies or the soldiers and sailors that served there. I am especially keen to hear from people with family photograph collections and am always happy to try to assist in identifying uniforms, units, places and dates for family history research.

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