Trans-Jordan Frontier Force

The Trans-Jordan Frontier Force was created on 1 April 1926, to replace the disbanded Palestine Gendarmerie. It was a creation of the British High Commissioner for Palestine whose intention was that the Force should defend Trans-Jordan's northern and southern borders. The High Commissioner had been impressed with work done by The Arab Legion but local commanders thought it unnecessary to create an additional force when expansion of The Arab Legion might have been a better course of action. The Arab Legion immediately incurred a loss of more than half of its forces when they were transferred as cadre for the Frontier Force.

In addition to the drop in personnel, The Arab Legion was also stripped of its machine guns, artillery, and communications troops. Unlike the Arab Legion, the TJFF was responsible to the British High Commissioner in Jerusalem rather than to Amir Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. The Force officially came under British Imperial Troops and appeared in British orders of battle.

On creation at Sarafand on 1st April, 1926, with Lieutenant-Colonel FW Bewsher, DSO, OBE, MC, in command, the TJFF was organised into three cavalry squadrons (of 120 men each) and one camel company, together with six reserve troops (around 190 men). The first recruits to the TJFF were largely from the disbanded Palestine Gendarmerie. Arab peasants (fellahin) from Palestinian villages made up around 70 percent of the other ranks. There were some Sudanese in the camel company before 1930 when the company was replaced by a mechanised company. Jews and town Arabs, being better educated, served in the technical and administrative posts and by 1935 just under 25 percent of the Force were Circassians - a small ethnic, Muslim minority living in Trans-Jordan. The senior commanders were all British however junior officers were Palestinian Arabs, Circassians, Syrian Arabs, Sudanese and a few Jews. The Amir Abdullah was an Honorary Colonel of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force from its inception.

The TJFF commander was a British lieutenant colonel, with Headquarters at Zerqa. Second-in-command was a British major, responsible for administration, workshops, quartermaster's stores and pay. The adjutant, also a British major, was responsible for training and personnel and was aided by an assistant adjutant who was a local Arab officer.

The squadrons and companies were all commanded by British majors, with another British officer as second-in-command. The cavalry squadrons were organised into three rifle troops (36 men) and one machine gun troop (36 rifles and 4 MGs). The normal tactical and reconnaissance unit however, was the half-squadron or half-company and these were commanded by local captains. Each half-squadron or company consisted of two troops, led by local lieutenants and captains. By the end of 1927 there were 39 officers (17 British), 12 warrant officers (all British), three staff sergeants and 676 other ranks. In 1930 there were 17 British officers, two in each of the four squadrons and companies with the remainder at Force HQ. In 1935 there were 24 British officers - the CO, seven majors and sixteen captains. Lieut-Col Bewsher relinquished command of the TJFF in 1928 and rejoined his Regiment in the Regular Army. Command of the Force passed to Major (local Lt-Col) CA Shute, CBE, Indian Army, previously second-in-command.

The TJFF spent its first six months training in Palestine, first at Sarafand then, from October 1926, at Shunet Nimrin in the Jordan Valley. Shortly after the HQ moved to Zerqa, Trans-Jordan, east of the Jordan River. The cavalry squadrons were based at Zerqa and the camel company at Ma'an. In 1929, the TJFF was called upon to help deal with Arab unrest in Palestine. The camel company moved to Jericho and a cavalry squadron went to Jisr el Majamie. In early 1930 a second cavalry squadron was dispatched from Trans-Jordan as reinforcement.

In 1930, a mechanised company was formed and later that year the camel company disbanded. The addition of motorised troops extended the range of TJFF troops for it had been discovered that the horsed cavalry was unable to travel far into the desert. The new mechanised company was based at Ma'an. During the year the strength of the TJFF was 980 men, including 28 Jews.