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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 251

A Tofrek casualty's Khedive's Star awarded to Private T. Veal, Berkshire Regiment

Khedive's Star 1884 (1 Bks 1399 TV), good very fine

Note one of 26 other ranks from the Regiment wounded at Tofrek.

Thomas Veal was born at North Street, Bedminster, Somerset on 21 August 1859, the son of Thomas Veal, a Merchant Mariner. Enlisting at Bristol with the 41st Brigade he was posted to the 49th Foot on 5 November 1878 and joined them in India on 7 March 1878.


The next month he joined the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, and was part of the 2 Company detachment which took part in the Kabul to Kandahar March under General Roberts (Medal and Star). This makes him one of only 150 men of the Regiment to earn the Kabul to Kandahar Star and prevented him from suffering through the British defeat at Maiwand.

Egypt and Sudan

Posted to Britain in 1881 he was stationed on the Isle of Wight before being ordered to Gibraltar to join the 1st Battalion of the renamed Berkshire Regiment. The Battalion joined General Graham's forces in Egypt after Osman Digna's Mahdists again threatened Suakin. Intending to advance on Tamaai Graham sent a column under General McNeill to establish a supply base at Tofrek, there they came under attack by a strong Devish Army.

The British began to construct a zariba fence, and half of the Battalion was ordered to occupy the south-western section. The rest were further north and east of the zariba outside the defences when suddenly a patrol of lancers came in reporting a large enemy force on their heels.

On cue a large Dervish force attacked from the desert and stampeded the transport animals grazing outside the zariba. In the confusion a number of them managed to overwhelm the defenders of the south-western redoubt, slaughtering the sailors manning the Gardner guns. The men of the Berkshires made the wall of the redoubt and opened fire, throwing the attackers back in confusion. To the East the other half of the Battalion formed a square and opened fire, halting their enemy as they attempted to push north. Unable to exploit their advantage the Dervishes were forced to withdraw.

The Battalion was lauded for their efforts, earning the name the Royal Berkshire Regiment. They suffered losses of 1 officer and 24 other ranks killed and 26 wounded. Veal, who was stationed with 'A' company in the south western redoubt, suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. His injury prevented him from participating in the Battle of Ginnis later in the year; the last action in which British troops wore the famous red coat. He was returned to England on 1 April 1885 and discharged that September due to his wound. Veal listed his intended place of residence as Whitchurch, Bristol; sold together with copied research comprising pension records, casualty lists and a birth certificate as well as census data and a discharge roll.

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