Suakin Sudan Campaign of 1885

Suakin, 1885 by E Gambier Parry,
Suakim, ’85 by Norman Robert Stewart
The 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers during the Nile Expedition, 1884-85 by Walter Temple Willcox
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This book is a combination book that contains three accounts of the battles of the Suakin (Sudan) Campaign of 1885 fought against the Mahdist forces of Osman Digna.
The first is a personal account of the British Army special service officer who, notwithstanding he was attached to the Transport and Commissariat, was well known for throwing himself into the heart of the conflict, which he concisely describes. Of particular note is detail concerning the Australian contingent which fought in these battles. Perry fought during the Battle of Hasheen and at Tofrek (also known as McNeill’s Zariba) where he was seriously wounded.
The second account is another personal account by an officer of the Indian Army and so focuses on the activities of the Indian Contingent which formed a significant portion of Graham’s force. Stewart’s account (excerpted from an account of his total military career) is also full of battlefield detail.
The final piece in this special Leonaur edition is an extract from the history of the Fifth (Royal Irish) Lancers and has been included because this regiment had served in the Sudan for some time and so their service gives context to the entire campaign. Whilst the lancers served in Suakin in their conventional role as light cavalry, numbers of the regiment had been seconded for service with the Camel Corps which remains fascinating to students of military history.
The book contains maps, photographs and illustrations which did not accompany the original texts.

None of the above are purely Australian accounts but they do provide a Life and Times background to the battle.

Click here to see the Australian Accounts on the Sudan Campaign.

The New South Wales Contingent served in Sudan with British forces as part of the Suakin Expedition in 1885. Consisting of an infantry battalion, an artillery battery, and a small field ambulance detachment, it departed from Sydney on 3 March 1885. Arriving at Suakin on 29 March it ultimately saw little action, being involved in a minor action at Tamai on 3 April, and another at Takdul on 6 May. However, with the British deciding to abandon the campaign it re-embarked on 17 May and returned to Sydney on 19 June 1885, where it was disbanded. The New South Wales Contingent was the first military contingent to be raised and deployed overseas by an Australian colony. Approximately 770 Australians served in Sudan; nine subsequently died of disease during the return journey while three had been wounded during the campaign. The New South Wales Contingent was the first military contingent to be raised and deployed overseas by an Australian colony.

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