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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 239

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, undated reverse, 2 clasps, Suakin 1885, Tofrek (2448 Pte. F Butler. 5th Lancers), good very fine

One of 102 Tofrek bars to the Regiment.

Francis Edward Butler was born at Bethnal Green in 1863 and enlisted at London on 25 October 1882, seeing home service for a little over two years. Posted to Egypt on 20 February 1885 he joined the Second British expedition under General Graham to Suakin.

The British forces captured Hashin and prepared to move south against Osman Digna's army at Tamaai. In order to do this, they needed to establish a supply base and a column under Sir John McNeill was dispatched to Tofrek to see it done. This force included a single Squadron of the 5th Lancers to act as scouts alongside a single squadron of mounted infantry. The formation arrived on 22 March and began the construction of a fortified zeriba fence.

The 5th was strung out around the camp in four-man Cossack posts to intercept attackers. Unfortunately they were too few in number and the warning of the Dervish attack, when it came, was minimal. A picket rode in shouting warnings with the Dervishes on their heels and the rest of the unit was so scattered that their role in the battle was not cohesive, they suffered 1 killed and 5 wounded. The Battle was won by the staunch defence of the Berkshire Regiment and the Royal Marines who held their ground at close quarters, hammering the Mahdists with volley fire.

Butler was posted back to Britain in June 1885 and served for another year before being discharged as medically unfit on 18 May 1886. He listed his intended address as that of his brother, 2 St. Ann's Road, Stamford Hill, London; sold together with copied research including medal rolls and service papers.

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