The Trucial Oman Scouts (TOS) was a security force established in 1951 to defend the seven emirates of Trucial Oman and keep the peace.
TOS soldiers with falcon
TOS Signal Squadron
Camel patrol

Trucial Oman Scouts Project

The Trucial Oman Scouts was a security force established in 1951 (initially as the Trucial Oman Levies) to defend the seven emirates of Trucial Oman and keep the peace. TOS officers later established the Dubai Police (1956–), the TOS Cadet School (1964–71), the Abu Dhabi Defence Force (1965–76), the Ras al-Khaimah Mobile Force (1969–96), the Dubai Defence Force (1971–96), and the Sharjah National Guard (1972–76). Upon independence, when the emirates merged to become the United Arab Emirates, the TOS was renamed the Union Defence Force. In 1976, the UDF, ADDF, DDF, and RAKMF were unified to form the UAE Armed Forces, and the SNG merged with the UAE Federal Police.

The TOS had an impeccable record over the course of its twenty-year existence: it defended the emirates against hostile forces, peacefully settled tribal and territorial disputes, policed the land, served as a stabilizing influence, and provided an honourable career and valuable training for thousands of Emiratis. It was modeled on Jordan’s Arab Legion –– as a joint partnership between Arabs and Britons, and a combined Arab and British leadership –– with the Arab Legion providing the force’s first commanding officer and NCOs.

In 2011, the TOS celebrates its 60th anniversary and the UAE its 40th. The TOS was the first truly federal, Emirati institution in which men from all seven emirates worked together, shoulder to shoulder, as fellow citizens of what would become the UAE. It was a cornerstone of the Union. The success of the TOS has contributed to the excellent relations between the UAE and Britain to this very day.

The TOS Project seeks to preserve and celebrate the memory and accomplishments of the soldiers and policemen who served the UAE before independence and in the early years after independence: the veterans of the TOS and its offshoots. It seeks to do this by recording the oral testimonies of these veterans; creating a digital archival collection of photographs, films, recordings, and documents; creating a museum collection for display in the UAE; supporting reunions and related events; and publishing material on these forces (such as histories, documentaries, interviews, photographs, and official records).

View more photographs of the TOS here:
TOS Flickr siteHugh Nicklin's websiteTOS website   

The Project enjoys the full support of the TOS Officers’ Association and TOS All Ranks Association, as well as the founders of the Dubai Police, RAK Mobile Force, and Sharjah National Guard.

If you served in the TOS, UDF, ADDF, DDF, RAKMF, SNG, or any of the police forces, or attended the TOS Cadet School, we would be grateful if you would fill in this TOS questionnaire (205 kb Word document) and return it to Dr James Onley below.

Contact us

For more information about the TOS Project please contact:

Dr James Onley
Centre for Gulf Studies
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
University of Exeter
Exeter EX4 4ND
United Kingdom
Email: J.Onley@exeter.ac.uk


Eric Langham
Barker Langham (Museum Consultants)
202 Spitfire Studios
63-71 Collier St
London N1 9BE
United Kingdom
Email: Eric@barkerlangham.co.uk
Barker Langham's TOS Project webpage