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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 234

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, undated reverse, 2 clasps, Suakin 1885, Tofrek (A. Bowen. Bombr. R.M.A.), suspension slack, heavy pitting, light edge bruising, nearly very fine and rare

One of only 8 Tofrek clasps to the Royal Marine Artillery.

Alfred Bowen was born at St. Ishmael, Milfords, Pembroke in October 1855 and enlisted with the Royal Marine Light Infantry at Bristol in 1875 before being transferred to the Royal Marine Artillery as a Gunner with the 7th Company in September 1875. Embarking for Egypt with this formation Bowen arrived there on 10 February 1884 but was not there for long before he was invalided to Ramleh Hospital. Returning to his unit he was advanced Bombardier, with the 2nd Company in December 1884.

Transferred to 'B' Company Bowen joined them in the Sudan where a detachment under Lieutenant Herbert Slessor worked alongside ratings of the Royal Navy to set up the 4 Gardner guns at Tofrek on 22 March 1885. They were with the Royal Marine Battalion in the redoubt to the North East of the British zariba and saw action when the Mahdists launched a sudden attack which broke a Regiment of Sikhs and stampeded the baggage animals. The Dervishes penetrated the zariba along with the rush and around 60 of the Mahdists managed to penetrate the redoubt and there was a period of bloody hand to hand fighting in which 7 Marines were killed and 16 wounded, including Burder.

After the Battle the British withdrew to Egypt and Bowen was stationed at the Royal Marine Artillery Headquarters on 8 July 1885 and was promoted Corporal in February 1886. Receiving a Royal Navy L.S. & G.C. in August 1890 he was advanced Sergeant in October that same year with 'H' Company. Listed at 6 Agincourt Terrace, Portsmouth, upon the 1891 census Bowen was promoted Colour Sergeant on 1 January 1896. He joined the Royal Fleet Reserve in 1901 but was discharged in 1905; sold together with copied research including a photograph, census data and service papers.

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