Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Seeing a camel surrounded by the fresh green foliage of Spring is an unlikely juxtaposition.  Just noticeable is that all the seats are fully occupied behind it along the path through Victoria Embankment Gardens, for this is a little oasis of fresh air and calm for London's office workers at lunchtime.  The camel and rider sit atop a monument to the Imperial Camel Corp which lists on the sides the Australian, British, Indian and New Zealand members who in the First World War died in action, of wounds or disease. The Camel Corp was formed in 1916 to fight the Senussi, an Islamist movement on the Libyan/Egyptian border but would go on to be involved in conflicts in the Sinai and Palestine, eventually being disbanded in 1919.

The first camels used by the Imperial Camel Corp were shipped in from Rajasthan in Northern India.
and here is a postcard of an Indian camel and rider in Jaipur.  Not the only thing on the camel, there is also a mounted swivel gun
An example of a Zamburak from South Asia.

a zamburak or zumbooruk.  The name may be derived from the Arabic for hornet (zambūr) which refers back to the early Egyptian origin of a giant crossbow swivel mounted on a camel and the sound and effect made by this early method of war.  It would later develop into a small cannon or falconet and was adopted by Mughal India and the Arab countries but was especially used by the Persian army in the 19th Century, accompanied by huge camel mounted drums played to intimidate the enemy as they advanced. As can be seen below in the second half of the 19th Century sometimes a Gatling gun would be used. 
From Histoire Islamique
 In order to fire the gun or cannon the camel would be put on its knees, the operators of this weapon of war were called zumboorukee or zamburakchi.

The Imperial Camel Corp soon changed their riding camels to the lighter Egyptian camel  
Here is one about to move off although I am not sure of the nationality of this duo.  The tarboosh on his head may indicate the Egyptian Camel Corp and their uniforms were similar although khaki rather than white. No other information was given on the "Camel hub on the web" which is Camel Photos and the go to place for anything camel related, try not to be diverted by the fluffy white baby camels.

The full story and photographs of the camels and The Imperial Camel Corp can be found  in The Field.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at Z here



Roger Owen Green said...

smart animals!


Amit Agarwal said...

Very interesting and informative! Thank you:)

Melody Steenkamp said...

very educative... another word I did not know before ;-0

Thank you

Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)

Trubes said...

I enjoyed reading this meme about the Camel Corps,
Hubby and I once had a camel ride, in the Sahara
Desert, just as the sun was setting,
It was quite an experience, particularly when we
dismounted from the camels,
We both walked like we had bow legs.
The little oasis in London would be a lovely place
to sit and watch the world go by and eat your lunch.
It's amazing how the simple things in life please
us most!
Best wishes,
ABCW team.

Hildred said...

What an interesting and educational post. Whatever would they have done without the camel in desert sites....

carol l mckenna said...

Informative post for z and great shots ~

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year ~ ^_^

Leslie: said...

Wow! Fantastic post! Historical and informative! Thanks for this, Joy. and hope your new year has started off well.

abcw team

Lea said...

A very interesting bit of history!

Klara S said...

I used to live in London. I loved such a small oasis in the center of the city. I didn't know about this one, but London is huge. The story was really interesting.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

A very interesting post, thank you. The camels must not be nervous creatures to be willing to bend so that their humans can shoot the weapons.

Gattina said...

Interesting post ! Well done for Z !

Anonymous said...

Saw your comment at another blog - hope the New Year is treating you well! Love so see camels! Wish that the reason for the statue is not there anymore, but they haven't learned much from history!