EGYPT AND SUDAN 1882-9 ‘37(85) SERGT T. MURRAY, SCOT(S GDS)’ ABU KLEA, THE NILE 1884-5, VICTORIA LONG SERVICE GOOD CONDUCT ‘3785 Q.M.SGT T MURRAY SCOTS GDS’KHEDIVE'S STAR 1884-6, IMPRESSED ‘2SG 3785’.
Thomas Murray, aged 21 from Cawdor, Nairn, enlisted into the Scots Guards at Inverness on 25th November 1876. Promoted Lance Corporal on 25th May 1878, Corporal on 15th Oct 1878, Lance Sergeant 1st April 1882, Sergeant 19th July 1882, Color Sergeant 18th July 1885 and Quatermaster Sergeant on 5th November 1890. He was finally discharged from the regiment on 24th April 1897.
Six officers and 78 other ranks of the 1st and 2nd Battalion Scots Guards served with number 3 company, the Guards Camel Regiment at Abu Klea. Murray and three other Sergeants were the senior NCO’s. Murray was 2nd Battalion.
While on its way to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum, the cross-country detachment of the British Desert Column, under the command of Sir Herbert Stewart (1843-1885), was attacked by the Sudanese followers of Mohammed Ahmed, self-proclaimed 'Mahdi' (guide, or redeemer, of Islam). The British square broke and was closed only after desperate hand-to-hand fighting. Stewart's men were victorious, suffering 168 casualties to the Mahdists 1,100. The battle was described by Winston Churchill as 'the most savage and bloody action ever fought in the Sudan by British troops’. This was certainly true, the battle lasting barely fifteen minutes from start to finish!
Condition GF/VF, some pitting from Star, edges on Egypt most effected with naming weak or lost at ‘85’ and ‘S Gds’.