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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 252

An exciting Battle of Tamaai casualty's Egypt and Sudan Medal awarded to Private J. Reid, 1st Battalion, Yorkshire and Lancaster Regiment, who was wounded by a spear during the vicious hand-to-hand fighting in the broken square

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, undated reverse, 1 clasp, El-Teb_Tamaai (2000. Pte. J. Reid. 1/York&Lanc:R.), pitting, light edge bruise, very fine and rare

One of 24 officers and men from the Regiment wounded during the fighting.

James Reid was born at Mabeg, Dunmuury, Antrim in 1848 and enlisted with the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot at Belfast on 22 March 1866. Posted with them to Canada in June 1867 he served there until 1869, missing any action during the Fenian Raids before moving on to the West Indies in January 1869. Reid was transferred from the 47th to the 65th (Yorkshire) Regiment of Foot on 10 January 1871, being present with them there at the amalgamation of that regiment which formed the York and Lancaster Regiment.

Posted to Aden with this unit in 1882 Reid was still there two years later when the Battalion was ordered to join General Graham's Army in Sudan. Arriving at Trinkitat on 28 February they joined Graham at Fort Baker and from their marched on the Mahdist Army at El-Teb. They formed part of the British left and repulsed two Dervish charges before rushing the enemy redoubt and seizing it.

After the Battle, when it became clear that Osman Digna remained uncowed, Graham marched his forces to confront them at Tamaai. Here the British formed two squares rather than one, with the Yorks and Lancs being part of General Davis' formation. The Dervishes again attacked and pressed close to the square and the Battalion halted to open fire, meanwhile the Black Watch continued to advance, launching a bayonet attack against the Dervishes before them.

A gap therefore opened in the square between the two units and the Mahdists poured into this breach. Savage hand to hand fighting erupted as sword and spear armed Dervishes contended with bayonet armed British troops. This precarious situation was solved with the arrival of General Buller's square along with the Cavalry Brigade who hammered the Dervishes with accurate fire, forcing them back long enough for Davis' formation to reform.

The reforming of the British squares effectively brought about the end of the battle and with it the end, for the time being, of British involvement in Sudan. Reid survived the fighting but only after suffering a slight spear wound in the left leg. In this respect he was lucky as, unusually for this kind of action, the Regiment suffered more killed than wounded. The Battalion returned to Britain on 3 June 1884 and was Reid served there until 21 April 1887 when he was discharged at Sheffield; sold together with copied research including casualty rolls and service papers.

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