For decades, the keffiyeh has been issued to British soldiers who refer to them, almost exclusively, as shemaghs. Their use by some units of the military, and by a number of police forces of countries that were former members of the British Empire, dates back to before the Second World War.
Because of their utility, shemaghs have also been adopted by the Palestine Police Force, the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force, the Sudan Defence Force, the Arab Legion, the Libyan Arab Force, the Long Range Desert Group, the Special Air Service and Popski’s Private Army, who wore them during operations in North Africa. After WW II, their use by the army continued with the shemagh being worn in both desert and temperate environments in theatres such as Dhofar.
Australian Army forces have also used the shemagh since the Vietnam War. Since the beginning of the Global War on Terror in 2002, the shemagh has been adopted by US, Canadian and other allied troops. Their practicality in an arid environment, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, explains their enduring popularity with soldiers. Soldiers often wear the shemagh folded in half into a triangle and wrapped around the face, with the halfway point being placed over the mouth and nose, sometimes coupled with goggles, to keep sand and dust out of the face.
This is also commonly done by armoured, mechanized and other vehicle-borne troops who use it as a scarf in temperate climates to ward off wind chill caused by being in moving vehicles.We sell shemaghs that measure 42” x 42” and they are 100% cotton.
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