1 August 2009

Queen's Sudan Medal


Awarded to officers and men who took part in the Sudan campaign between 1896 and 1898. Originally mainly an Egyptian affair, two British brigades subsequently joined the campaign (see Other, below).

Description:Silver and bronze 36.5mm diameter. The obverse portrays the bust of Queen Victoria holding a sceptre. Around the perimeter is the legend VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX. The reverse portrays a plinth inscribed with SUDAN, from underneath which Nile lilies sprout. Victory sits on top of the plinth holding a laurel wreath in her left hand and a palm branch in her right. Behind her, to her right, is the British flag, and behind on her left, the Egyptian flag.

A thin red stripe running down the centre divides yellow on the left and black on the right.

A combination of engraved and impressed largely depending on the nationality of the recipient. British awards are engraved in square upright or sloping serif capitals. Awards to Indian troops are impressed or engraved in running script. Medals to Egyptian troops can sometimes be found engraved in Arabic script.

No clasps were awarded for this medal although an unofficial clasp bearing the name DONGOLA is supposed to exist.

The British force comprised the 1st British Brigade which was commanded by Brigadier General (later Major General) Andrew (Andy) Wauchope, and the 2nd British Brigade which was commanded by Brigadier General (later General) Sir Neville Lyttelton.

The 1st British Brigade comprised the 1st Bn Cameron Highlanders, 1st Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt, 1st Bn Seaforth Highlanders and the 1st Bn Lincolnshire Regt.

The 2nd British Brigade comprised the 1st Bn Grenadier Guards, 1st Bn Northumberland Fusiliers, 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade and the 2nd Bn Lancashire Fusiliers.

Additional reinforcements included the 21st Lancers (who would make their maiden charge at Omdurman and who could count Winston Churchill and Douglas Haig amongst their ranks), two field batteries with 5 inch howitzers and 9 pounder Maxim-Nordenfeldt guns, a four gun Maxim battery, and seven gunboats.

Sudan Campaign books from the Naval & Military Press

Egyptian Soudan, its loss and recovery 1896-1898

This book includes a rapid sketch of the history of Sudan, a narrative of the Dongola expedition of 1896, and a full account of the Nile expedition of 1897-1898. The first part describes the early days of the country, its conquest by the Egyptian Khedive, Mahomed Ali, the foundation of Khartoum and its place as the great central slave market. The involvement of the British in suppressing this trade brought Gordon to Khartoum, subsequently the scene of his death in January 1885 when Khartoum was was taken by the Mahdi. A relief force arrived two days too late - and withdrew to Egypt leaving the Mahdi in control. Eventually the decision was taken to reconquer the Sudan and in 1896 Kitchener, the Sirdar of Egypt, was given the task. The account of the two years it took forms the main part of this book, culminating in the battle of Omdurman. There are two very informative appendices, the one provides the organization of the forces of the Dongola and Nile expeditions with a complete nominal roll of all the officers, the other is the roll of honour of British officers, WOs, NCOs and Men who lost their lives in the campaign. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

With Kitchener to Khartum

This account by war correspondent G W Steevens begins with the background to the Sudan campaign - the rise of the Mahdi, Gordon, the state of the Egyptian Army, the construction of the Sudan Military Railway which was to play a highly significant part in Kitchener’s reconquest of the Sudan in 1898. There is a useful chronology of the chief events of the campaign from from the start of the advance in Feb, through the battle of the Atbara, the move on Khartum culminating in the battle of Omdurman on 2 Sep 1898 which brought the campaign to an end. The description of Omdurman itself, the Khalifa’s capital, after it fell to the Anglo-Egyptian force, is hardly an attractive one: "Everything was wretched. And Foul. They dropped their dung where they listed; they drew their water from beside green sewers; they had filled the streets and khors with dead donkeys; they left their brothers to rot and puff up hideously in the sun. The stench of the place was in your nostrils, in your throat in your stomach." CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

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