LAST MEETING - JOHANNESBURG - 11TH APRIL 1985
The Annual General Meeting held on the above date revealed that the Society
had had another successful year. The membership now stands at 517.
Maj. D.D. Hall was re-elected Chairman and the following members were elected onto the Executive Comittee :
|Dr. Ian Copley||Dr Felix Machanik|
|Mr. Gill[sic] Garr||Mr. Mike Marsh|
|Mr. Maurice Gough-Palmer||Mr. Stewart Stiles|
|Mr. Nick Kinsey||Mr. Ian Uys|
The AGM was followed by the excellent film "Churchill-Champion of Freedom"
100 Years Ago - March to May 1885
After the fall of Khartoum and Gordon's death in January 1885 it was decided to send a force from Suakin on the Red Sea to attempt to seize Berber on the Nile. The force was placed under the command of Major-General Sir G. Graham and consisted of the following troops :
|Guards Brigade||Infantry Brigade||Indian Brigade||Cavalry|
|3rd Grenadiers||2nd East Surreys||9th Bengal Cavalry||5th Lancers|
|1st Coldstream||1st Shropshire L.I.||15th Sikhs||20th Hussars|
|2nd Scots||lst Berkshires||17th Bengal Infantry||Mounted Infantry|
|Marine Battalion||28th Bombay Infantry|
In addition there were three batteries of Royal Artillery and a battery and infantry battalion from New South Wales - the debut of Australian troops in war.
On 19th and 20th March actions took place around Hashin (ten kilometers from Suakin). The infantry attacked a ridge held by Osman Dignas' Hadendoa. There was however no serious opposition. It had been hoped that the tribesmen could be tempted to attack the infantry squares and that they would suffer heavy casualties as a result. The 9th Bengal Cavalry attempted a charge but were ambushed in thick scrub and forced to retire to the Guards' square. The force then retired back on Suakin leaving the East Surreys at a post guarding the right flank.
Graham now determined to move on Tamai, some 22 kilometers from Suokin, where Osman Digna's main force was concentrated. He despatched a force under Major-General J. Mc Neill on 22nd March to Tofrek approximately halfway to Tomai. The force consisted of 1 squadron 5th Lancers, the Berkshires, Marines and the Indian Brigade. The construction of 3 zeribas (thorn forces) was commenced under the protection of covering parties of infantry and 'cossack posts' of 5th Lancers
No enemy had been seen, but the high scrub made observation difficult. When the zeribas were almost complete, and the troops in considerable disarray - some working, and some having their midday meal, a large body of approximately 5,000 Hadandoa rushed the force. The lancers rushed in to raise the alarm, closely pursued by the tribesmen. The 17th Bengal Infantry broke. The brunt of the onslaught fell on the Berkshires who formed rough rallying squares and opened rapid fire at close range. The Sikhs and Marines supported the Bershire and the combined fire repulsed the attack. The battle only lasted 20 minutes, but in that time 117 men were killed and 179 wounded. The Dervish loss was approximately 1500.
The advance on Tamai resumed on 3rd April. Only light opposition was encountered and after destroying Tamai the force returned to Suakin. The final action of the campaign took place in the T'Hakul valley on the 6th May.
The British Government now became seriously concerned about Russian intentions in Afghanistan. The Suakin Field Force was withdrawn on 17th May, leaving a predominantly Indian garrison to hold the post.
The Museum intends organising a one day tour in June (probably 16th) and a long weekend trip from 11th to 13th October. Details to follow.
May, 9th Mr. H.W. Kinsey - "The Brandwater Basin and Golden Gate Surrenders, 1900"
June, 13th Major D. Sheil-Small, M.C. - "Green Shadows (Gurkhas)"
* NOTE* Fast mirror and backup site BOOKMARK FOR REFERENCE Main site * NOTE*