The Queen's Sudan Medal 1896 - 1898
The Queen's Sudan medal commemorates
the forced expansion of the de facto British protectorate of
Egypt to the south, into what at the time was a wholly
independent Sudan. The previous attempt by British and
Egyptian forces to subdue and control these territories failed
after the successful Dervish revolt led by Muhammad Ahmad
("The Mahdi"), the climax of which was the defeat of General
Gordon at the fall of Khartoum.
Several situations contributed to the decision to
initiate this new period of military action, which can be
summarised as follows:
1). The Italians, desiring colonial expansion, had decided
to take over Abyssinia - unfortunately the locals had other
ideas and the Italians
faced unexpected ferocious fighting from the Abyssinians who had
resisted the occupation. The Italians were routed at the battle
of Adowa - this defeat weakened Italy and would have had
ramifications within the delicate balance of power in Europe.
Italy appealed for British help to divert the "Kalifa" ( Abdallahi ibn Muhammad "successor" to the Mahdi) from assisting
Abyssinians, by launching a British campaign in the Sudan.
2). Germany, France, Italy and Belgium had been expanding their
African colonies with the possibility of further expansion of at least
some of them into the Sudan. The British desired that Egypt
should be in control of the Sudan territories.
4). The British public had expressed simmering resentment
for many years that the death of General Gordon had not been
5). The Kalifa had been portrayed as oppressive and
cruel tyrant of Sudan and his displacement would certainly
improve the lot of the average Sudanese.
The campaign (often described as "The
Reconquest of the Sudan") began on the 7th June 1896, initially
mainly with Egyptian troops, but later reinforced with two
British brigades - one of which was present at "The Atbara" and
then both at Omdurman ( Khedive's Sudan medal "Khartoum" clasp)
The 21st Lancers maiden charge was the particularly notable
event of the Battle of Omdurman - The Lancers, spotting a group
of several hundred Dervishes on an apparently open plain began a
charge - unfortunately a concealed ravine containing about four
thousand of the enemy suddenly came into view - unable to pull
up or turn in time the Lancers galloped and tumbled into the
ravine, many managing to keep going at the gallop straight through
and out the other side, inflicting as much damages as they could
with sword and lance en passant. It is also noted the
chargers included a Lieutenant Winston Churchill who allegedly
"shot his way through the enemy". There are a few other famous
names that crop up in the campaign such as Captain D. Haig 7th
Hussars, which can be found in the despatches.
Description : Produced in
silver and bronze 36.5mm diameter. Obverse; the crowned and veiled bust of Queen
Victoria holding a sceptre, with the legend VICTORIA REGINA ET
IMPERATRIX. Reverse; a plinth inscribed SUDAN supported by Nile
lilies, upon which is seated Victory, holding a laurel wreath in
her left hand, and a palm branch in her right. British and
Egyptian flags are present in the background.
Clasps ; no clasps were issued with this medal.
Ribbon: Half yellow (left) and black, with a thin red dividing
centre stripe. This is allegedly symbolic of the desert
(yellow), black (the Dervish Army) and the thin red line the
engraved in square upright or sloping serif capitals.
(see below) Indian issues in
Queen's South Africa impressed
or engraved in running script
India Medal 1895
style. Medals to
Egyptian troops can be encountered engraved in Arabic script.