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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 240

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, undated reverse, 2 clasps, Suakin 1885, Tofrek (1531. Corp: H. M. Stickmey. 20th Husrs.), good very fine

One of 89 Tofrek bars to the Regiment.

Henry Moses Stickney was born at Priory Street, Colchester, on 25 December 1859, the son of Gustavus and Hanna Stickney. Enlisting under the false name of Charles Locke on 28 May 1878 in London he served for three years before declaring the deception in 1881. Advanced Corporal in May 1884 it was in that same year that he was posted to Egypt, and from there Sudan, arriving at Suakin on 14 March 1885.

Two Squadrons of the Regiment where present there with General Graham's army and they took part in the reconnaissance of Hashin on 20 March 1885, losing 1 man dead and another wounded. Having secured this position, the British prepared to advance on Tamaai where Osman Digna's main army was located. 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. The formation arrived on 22 March and began the construction of a fortified zeriba fence.

The cavalry were 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. The Battle was won by the staunch defence of the Berkshire Regiment and the Royal Marines who held their ground at close quarters and hammered the Mahdist's with volley fire. It is possible that Stickney was part of the force led by Major Graves which engaged a force of Dervishes attacking a refugee column (see lot: 227).

He remained on the frontier after the Battle as British Forces withdrew to Egypt General Grenfell remained on the Nile Frontier to secure the region. Meanwhile the Mahdist armies advanced northwards, eventually clashing with the Anglo-Egyptian army at Ginnis. Notably this was the last action in which the British troops wore red coats, the 20th meanwhile attacked the broken Dervishes as they fled into the desert.

Posted to Assuan the next month Stickney remained in service until June 1886 when he transferred to the Army Reserve. Retiring to Essex and later Lewisham, he died there and was buried in Colchester, where he had been born; sold together with copied research including birth and census data, medal rolls and service papers.

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