Bar of an East African Askari with Egyptian and British Medals

Photo Private Collection

The medals on this bar in order of seniority from left to right are-
German Warriors Merit Medal
, second class in gold
German Warriors Merit Medal
, second class in silver
Prussian Crown Order Medal
Egyptian Khedival Star
British Egypt Campaign Medal
with clasp for "SUAKIN 1885"

The original owner of this medal bar was Mohamed Hussein el Zeini, a very well decorated Sudanese askari in the German East African Schutztruppe with prior experience in the Anglo-Egyptian army.

The German (as differentiated from the Prussian) Warriors Merit Medal was exclusively awarded to African soldiers of the Schutztruppe and Polizeitruppe. Unlike some awards, the Warriors Merit Medal could be worn in different classes at the same time as seen here, with both the Gold (in fact bronze) and silver (in fact polished steel) medals worn side by side.

The Prussian Crown Order Medal was usually only awarded to NCOs and other ranks. So this recipient was presumably not an officer (an African "Effendi") at least at the time of this award. Yet with these three impressive German awards he would surely have been a senior NCO at least, possibly a Sergeant Major ("Sol" in Sudanese or "Feldwebel" in German). From his records el Zeini was never promoted beyond private soldier during his time in the Egyptian army.

The Egyptian Khedival Star was awarded by Khedive Tewfik, the ruler of Egypt to those soldiers, sailors and civilians who fought in his service between 1882-91. As such it was awarded to many Sudanese askaris who later served in the Wissmanntruppe and Schutztruppe of German East Africa. This Khedival Star has the 1884-86 type centre medallion.

The British Egypt Medal was awarded by the British government to soldiers serving in Egypt in 1882 and in the Sudan in 1884-89. As such it was also awarded to many Sudanese askaris who later served in the Wissmanntruppe and Schutztruppe. The clasp refers to the Battle of Suakin (sometimes known as the Battle of Tofrek), successfully fought by the Anglo-Egyptian army against the Mahdists in eastern Sudan on 22nd March 1885.  This British Egypt Medal is engraved "5th Bn. INFry. No233" on the rim for the Egyptian 5th Infantry Battalion. That battalion was garrisoned at Suakin from 1884 until 1887.  From the 1888-89 medal roll for the 5th Infantry Battalion it can be found that recipient number 233 was named Mohamed Hussein el Zeini.

Note that neither of the Egyptian and British medals have their original ribbons (which would have been pale blue and blue/white/blue/white/blue vertical stripes respectively) but instead have replacement Prussian ribbon. The Egyptian and British medals as foreign medals are worn at the back of the bar's order of seniority. The British medal is last as this was always a foreign award and was therefore worn behind the Egyptian medal when he was in Egyptian service.

Thanks to Mark Reid, Rick Research, Ed Haynes , Ulsterman, Michael Johnson, and Harry Fecitt at the Gentlemen's Military Interest Club for identifying this very interesting bar.


Please contact me here if you have more information on this topic or if you have a medal bar you would like to share. 

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