French Colonial Police

View previous topic View next topic Go down

French Colonial Police

Post  Sean on Thu 30 Apr 2009, 9:09 pm

Where is Biskrap?
Attached photo purports to show a policeman from this town in 1929.

http://i62.servimg.com/u/f62/12/22/09/10/29_bis10.jpg
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]


Last edited by Sean on Fri 08 May 2009, 1:17 pm; edited 2 times in total

Sean

Posts : 1129
Join date : 2008-04-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: French Colonial Police

Post  T1 on Fri 01 May 2009, 3:29 am

Possibly BISKRA P[rovince] in Algeria?

T1

Posts : 18
Join date : 2008-05-19

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: French Colonial Police

Post  buistR on Fri 01 May 2009, 7:14 pm

Certainly the style of the uniform is very characteristic of French North African native military/police dress between the wars - wide Zouave style trousers, low fez, pointed cuff chevrons, collar patches etc. The long cudgel is a "canne-gourdin" - Algerian/Tunisian equivalent of the bamboo lathe carried by Indian police under the Raj and since.

buistR

Posts : 343
Join date : 2008-05-21

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Algeris

Post  wfrad on Fri 01 May 2009, 7:34 pm

There's a town called Biskra in Algeria about 60k from the coast. I believe also spelled with an 'i' Biskri.
This would go along with the French style colonial uniform.
Regards
WF

wfrad

Posts : 1069
Join date : 2008-04-16
Location : Durham UK

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Biskra Police Algeria

Post  Les-Art on Sat 02 May 2009, 9:12 am

Thanks for the replies very helpful.
So now we know it is Algeria, does anyone have any ideas of what colour the uniform would be ?

French colonial uniforms seems to come in both Blue and Khaki variations, but with the black and white photo it is difficult to tell which it might be.

Any educated guesses would be a start.

Thanks,
Les

Les-Art

Posts : 261
Join date : 2009-05-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: French Colonial Police

Post  buistR on Sat 02 May 2009, 1:14 pm

Khaki for North African service Les-Art. Blue (of various shades) plus white uniforms were still worn for dress occasions after 1914 but the Arab agent de police shown looks very much on ordinary duty. The wide-cut seroual trousers appear to be in summer light khaki drill while the tunic is the darker mustard-khaki universally adopted by the French overseas forces during the 1920s. This mixing of warm and cold weather clothing may seem a bit rough and ready but even the regulars of the French Armee d' Afrique had a varigated appearance during this period as the huge stocks of World War I clothing were used up. It is unlikely that locally recruited police were much smarter.

The collar patches could be the dark blue (almost black) of the gendarmerie with similarly silver insignia but this is just a guess. For what it is worth gendarmerie NCOs wore silver inverted chevrons on their cuffs, just like the figure shown. The fez would be red.

Hope this helps.

buistR

Posts : 343
Join date : 2008-05-21

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Artwork from Les

Post  Sean on Tue 05 May 2009, 4:11 pm


Sean

Posts : 1129
Join date : 2008-04-03

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Biskra Police

Post  Les-Art on Tue 05 May 2009, 10:10 pm

Hi BuistR,
I got Sean to post this for me.
It's my colour visualistaion of what I think that this French Colonial Policeman looked like in real life, based on the information you kindy supplied.
This is just a basic colouring , still to be refined and finished off, and think the Khaki-Mustard colour could be a little darker, but with the available colour pallet on the computer it is difficult to reproduce Khakis to an exact shade. It's my first effort of using old photos. What do you think ?
So, the next question would be , do you think the leather work would be BLACK as issued to the Metropoitan Police and Gendarmerie in France or left over WW1 Brown Leather stocks isued to the Colonial troops. The Brown doesn't look out of place with the rest of the outfit.
The collar patches appear to have a round insignia on them which I think may be the bomb part of the Gendarmerie Grenade, so may put them in more defined.
Once I have finalised all the details as accurately as possible I will do an artwork version, so any extra help is appreciated.
Best REgards,
Les

Les-Art

Posts : 261
Join date : 2009-05-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: French Colonial Police

Post  buistR on Wed 06 May 2009, 8:34 pm

Hi again Les - that's really good! The mustard colouring for the tunic seems close to colour photographs of actual garments that I have seen. In the Osprey Men-at-Amy book "French Foreign Legion 1914-1945" Marin Windrow describes moutarde as "drab mid-brown" and khaki claire as "pale sandy shades". I would say that you got both right.

Not sure about the collar insignia - the exploding bomb of the Gendarmerie was quite large and is usually clear in photographs. The North African Gendarmerie brigades did have attached Muslim personnel but in the only photograph I have seen of them they are described as auxillaries indigenes and wear zouave style uniforms. Our drab but functional officer looks more like a civilian village or small town policeman - and who knows what sort of insignia they wore.

As you note, in the 1920s the Gendarmerie wore polished black leather equipment and the French African Army natural brown leather. The dividing line seems to have been whether the rest of the uniform was "coloured" (e.g. the blue coats and red trousers of pre-1914 line infantry and the dark/light blue of the Gendarmerie until the present day) or khaki (e.g. French overseas troops from 1916 on). Black leather for the first category; brown leather for the second. Judging by the photograph our Biskran policeman is definitely wearing brown leather belt, strap and holster.

The photo is a particularly interesting one because "native" police were not nearly as much in evidence in the French North African territories as would have been the case in (say) British controlled Egypt or Italian Cyrenaica. The reason seems to have been a political one - there was a large European settler (pied-noir) element in the population and government positions such as postmen, rural guards and town policemen were largely reserved for them. There had to be some Arab/Berber police of course but you seldom see pictures of them.

Best regards

buistR

Posts : 343
Join date : 2008-05-21

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Colonial Police

Post  Les-Art on Fri 08 May 2009, 1:28 am

Hi BuistR,
More good info, thanks.

Here's some additonal info I found.
In the huge tome of a book on the Histroy of the Gendarmeries Nationale I found a reference to a regulation of 1917. Although my french is pretty basic I translate it as follows;
For Gendarmerie of Corsica and North Africa a jacket of khaki with lower collar, 7 buttons, chest pockets and collar patches with double lines of white decoration.
Apart for the collar patches which would be gendarmerie with the grenade, the jacket appears to correspond with the photo. Left over Gendarmerie stocks perhaps ?

In the 'Police Uniforms of the World' book by Blakeslee, on the Algerian Police he states that lower ranks would have a personal number on the collar patch. Now studying the photo again the round appearance of the insignia could easily be the botton portion of a '6' or '8' which would have been roman style. This would make sense as these local forces could not have had many men. It falls in line with the way in which the French Army used numbers on collar patches for regimental numbers. So I think I would be inclined to go with the numbers idea, I tried a 6 on the collar in the photo and it looks right. What do you think ?

I'll check my Osprey books on the colour of the brown leather and take the most commonly used in their illustrations, in the Gendarmerie Nationale book the colour varies depending on the artist.

Should have a finalised version shortly.

Best Regards,
Les

Les-Art

Posts : 261
Join date : 2009-05-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

finished illustration

Post  Les-Art on Sun 19 Sep 2010, 4:17 am

Hi Guys,
Here is the finished illustration, well as finished as I want to go with it.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
http://i28.servimg.com/u/f28/13/98/25/75/biskra11.jpg
I put him on a white background to highlight the uniform more than the location.
Still working on the optimum way of colourising photos to be more realistic.

This came out pretty big on the forum, it is better veiwed in a smaller format, I'll have to check the size, it looks O.K. on my screen. Maybe I should clean my glasses more often, as it looks a little blurred.

Anyway I have lots of good clear Black & White photos to work on so IO'll just work away and post them when I finish them.

Best Regards,
Les


Last edited by Les-Art on Sun 19 Sep 2010, 4:30 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : change photo for smaller format)

Les-Art

Posts : 261
Join date : 2009-05-02

View user profile

Back to top Go down

photo's

Post  wfrad on Sun 19 Sep 2010, 6:31 am

Les
If you do find an easy way to do it, let me know, I'm far from finding one.
WF

wfrad

Posts : 1069
Join date : 2008-04-16
Location : Durham UK

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: French Colonial Police

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum