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Camel Day

"To the Glorious and Immortal
Memory of the Officers, N.C.O.s and Men
of the Imperial Camel Corps – British,
Australian, New Zealand, Indian – who fell in action or died of wounds
and disease in Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine, 1916, 1917, 1918."

~ Imperial Camel Corps Memorial, London, established July 22, 1921


Though not related directly to the camel or dromedary, this camel-coloured variation on Royal Stewart utilizes the the sandy beige hue which became fashionable in 1916, popularly recognized as "camel" during the same time as the well-chronicled deeds of The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade (ICCB), a British camel-mounted infantry brigade raised in 1916 during the First World War for service in the Middle East. Consisting of a four battalions from Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia, the Camel Corps had a mountain artillery battery, a machine gun squadron, Royal Engineers, a field ambulance, and an administrative train! Though not in wide use in active military service today, these "ships of the desert" are making strides in new areas of commerce. Apart from the fashionable camel hair coat (the glamour garment of 1930's polo players who donned these in between chuckkers), today, it is camel milk, which is making strides into the global food market with a nutritional profile exceeding that of cow milk - more potassium, more iron, lower in lactose, and three times as much vitamin C! And some specialty creameries even offer camel milk ice cream for that perfect desert dessert! "Yalla, yalla, camels!" 🐫 🍦🐪


This fashion tartan was designed by Locharron, one of many tartans with variants in the shade of "camel" a colour which became popular after 1916. 


The cantankerous and quirky camel, when walking, moves both legs on one side and the both legs on the other, rocking side-to-side. This is why camels are nicknamed "The ships of the desert." Camel legs are incredibly strong, which allows them to carry up to 1000 pounds. They also can walk 100 miles per day and sprint at 12 miles per hour.


Because of their special adaptations to arid lands and overall hardiness, camels have been used as transportation, food, and even in camel cavalries (camelries) for centuries.   Camels provided a mobile element better suited in the arid and waterless environment than the horses of a conventional cavalry. 



In warfare, though mostly used for general transportation and pack animals, some warriors or soldiers also fought from camel-back with spears, bows or rifles though they would more often dismount for battle.


The smell of the camel, according to Herodotus, alarmed and disoriented horses, making camels an effective anti-cavalry weapon when employed by the Achaemenid Persians in the Battle of Thymbra in 547 BC.


In Modern times, Napoleon employed a camel corps for his French campaign in Egypt and Syria. During the late 19th and much of the 20th centuries, camel troops were used for desert policing and patrol work in the British, French, German, Spanish and Italian colonial armies.


Even the United States experimented with the use of camels in the military.  The United States Camel Corps was a mid-19th-century experiment by the United States Army in using camels as pack animals in the Southwestern United States. While the camels proved to be hardy and well suited to travel through the region, the Army declined to adopt them for military use. The Civil War interfered with the experiment and it was eventually abandoned; the animals were sold at auction.


For more on the Imperial Camel Corp, click the painting.