HL Deb 26 March 1889 vol 334 cc826-7

My Lords, I have to ask the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War whether any decorations of the Orders of the Medjidié and of the Osmanié were offered by the Egyptian Government to the officers of the British Army who served in the Nile and Desert Columns in the years 1884–5; and whether such offer had been accepted or declined by the military authorities at home? I believe that there is a feeling existing among the officers who composed the Nile and the Desert Columns in Egypt in 1884–5 that the Egyptian and Turkish Orders of the Medjidié and of the Osmanié, which had been granted to those who had fought in the Campaign of 1882–4, were, through some unintentional oversight on the part of the authorities at home, withheld from them. Your Lordships will remember that there have been three campaigns in Egypt. In the Campaign of 1882, conducted by Lord Wolseley, including the action of Tel-el-Kebir, the Turkish Orders of the Medjidié and Osmanié were conferred upon British officers. Two years later, in that of 1884, under Sir Gerald Graham, including the battles of Teb and Tamai, the decorations, which had been honourably won, were given to British officers. In 1885 the campaign undertaken for the relief of General Gordon comprised such well-fought actions as Abu Klea, Abu Kru, Metammeh, and Kirbekan; but to those who shared in these dangers and glories I believe the decorations, which had been conferred on their brethren of the Army and Navy for the campaigns previously fought in 1882 and the early part of 1884, were not granted Although in all the elements of danger, hardship, and suffering the Nile and Desert Columns had a heavier strain to bear than those endured in 1882, the decorations had not been received which had been given in the previous campaigns. The services of the officers were not less distinguished than those of the officers in the previous campaigns. The Khedive recognized these facts, and issued the Khedivial bronze star. I have not been able to ascertain the exact number of deaths and casualties that took place in the Nile Column of the Campaign of 1884–5; but when I remind your Lordships that in the Desert Column they amounted to 14 officers killed and 23 wounded, and that the number of men killed was 115, and wounded 243, it will be recognized that all ranks showed the same discipline, gallantry, and endurance which have always characterized British troops; and I feel sure that it was owing to some oversight and mistake that those decorations have not been issued to those gallant officers.


No such decorations appear to have been offered by the Egyptian Government to British officers for this campaign, except those employed with the Egyptian to Army.