Sultanate of Egypt Period 15th Soudanese Infantry Side Drum, 1914
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Height: 38cm (15in)
Painted hoops, rope tensioning system, brass cylinder emblazoned with the crown and flags of the Sultanate of 1914-1922, and battle honours for Atbara, Sudan 1899, Nyima, Khartoum, Nyam Nyam. The cylinder stamped with the maker’s name ‘Hawkes & Sons / London’.
The 15th Soudanese was raised as the 15th Egyptian Infantry in 1896 to bolster the Anglo-Egyptian army prior to the Re-Conquest of the Sudan (1896-98). The Egyptians served with some distinction under El Bimbashi T.E. Hickman (Worcestershire Regiment) at Battle of Atbara on 8 April 1898, when the battalion was detached with some Friendlies (Jaalin Arab levies) in three gunboats and and took Emir Mahmud’s base at Shendi unsupported. On 30 September 1898 they were present as part of the 3rd Brigade, Egyptian Division at the Battle of Omdurman, where the Khalifa and the Mahdists were decisively beaten.
The following year news of British reverses at the hands of the Boers in the South African War caused some Egyptian officers in the 11th and 14th Soudanese to stir up trouble. It was consequently decided to reduce the number of Egyptians in the army with the result that the 15th Egyptian battalion became the 15th Soudanese. This accords with the thinking of certain British officers at the time that the Egyptian fellahin were ‘Excellent soldiers, but not heroes’ - and the Sudanese were the flower of the army. At Berber in 1902, despite the complete change of personnel, Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, congratulated the battalion on its performance in the recent campaign and presented the it with new colours which were duly consecrated by the Ulemar. In January 1905 the 15th Soudanese, commanded by El Kaimakam G.J. Ryan (Royal Munster Fusiliers), took part in the Zande expedition against King Yambio of the supposed cannibal Nyam-Nyam tribe. In 1908 the 15th Soudanese gained the final battle honour on the present drum, Nyima, for participation in a punitive expedition against tribes in the Nyima Hills area of the Nubia Mountains. The expedition was led by the Governor of Kordofan Province, El Kaimakam Lloyd (Cameronians) with El Kaimakam Lempiere (Lancashire Fusiliers) in command of the troops. Of the known commanding officers of the XV Soudanese, Hickman became the M.P. for Wolverhampton, and Ryan was killed in action on the Western Front.