Original Royal West African Frontier Force Fez Dated 1935

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. A near unissued Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) other ranks Fez with brass palm tree cap badge to front. The interior is marked with a WD stamp and D& H maker marking and showing a very faint 1935 date beneath the maker stamp. Size appears to be a 6 1/2. Complete with black tassel. Offered in virtually unissued condition.

The Royal West African Frontier Force was a multi-battalion field force, which was formed by the British Colonial Office in 1900 to help garrison the West African colonies of Nigeria, Gold Coast, Sierra Leone and Gambia. It was originally designated the West African Frontier Force, and in 1928 received the royal patronage – becoming the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF).

On formation it comprised the Gold Coast Regiment, Northern Nigeria Regiment, Southern Nigeria Regiment, the Sierra Leone Battalion and the Gambia Company. The parade uniform of the RWAFF was a distinctive one and consisted of khaki drill shorts with red fezzes, along with scarlet zouave style jackets edged in yellow and red cummerbunds. Artillery units wore a blue jacket with yellow braid, while engineers wore red jackets with blue braid. British officers originally wore sun helmets, and later a bush or slouch hat.

By World War II almost all troopers in the RWAFF in the field wore the bush hat, but the fez remained part of the parade dress. The badge on the fez and slouch hats was a palm tree with the letters RWAFF in a scroll at the base.

The unit saw action in Africa during the First World War, and in 1939 the RWAFF was transferred from the Colonial Office to the War Office. During the Second World War units of the RWAFF saw action in Italian Somaliland, Abyssinia and Burma. It reverted to Colonial Office control in 1947.

In 1957 the British colony of The Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana, and the Gold Coast Regiment was withdrawn from the RWAFF – becoming the Ghana Regiment of Infantry. The RWAFF was finally disbanded in 1960 as the British colonies of Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia moved towards independence. The former RWAFF units formed the basis of the new national armies of their respective states.

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