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.