The Battle of Suakin

Date: 20 December 1888

(also known as the Battle of Gemaizah)

This conflict occurred on 20 December 1888 when Francis Grenfell defeated the Mahdi forces near Suakin a chief port of Sudan. After one and a half hours of fighting, the casualties were 12 on the side of the British and Egyptians, and 1,000 on the side of the Arabs. In this battle, three of the swords of the 20th Hussars broke short, an incident which later caused debate in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

The headstones of four 20th Hussars cavalry men killed at Battle of Gemaizah in 1888 whose remains were re-interred in the Khartoum Cemetery of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (This image shows the headstones close together, they are actually further apart)

From Suakin, a sortie was launched against Osman Digna and his Dervish forces, who were attempting to capture the Water Forts. The Dervishes advanced on Suakin with an intention to invest it. In the ensuing fighting, Osman Digna lost his arm. These four soldiers (in the photograph) were killed at the battle of Gemaizah on 20th December 1888 during a charge made under the command of Major M.J. Irving. 

*Looking for further information, the historical facts are somewhat muddled.*



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