The Allan and Janet Woodliffe Collection of Medals Relating to the Reconquest and Pacification of the Sudan (18 May 2011)

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Date of Auction: 18th May 2011

Sold for £3,000

Estimate: £2,800 - £3,200

Three: Captain and Bimbashi H. E. Haymes, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was one of the original explorers of the Bahr-el-Ghazal region, receiving one of the seven commemorative cigarette cases, and who later died of wounds received in a Nyam Nyam ambush during the punitive expedition to avenge Scott-Barbour

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Serving Brother’s breast badge, silver and enamels, the reverse engraved (Lieutenant Henry Evered Haymes, R.A.M.C. 1901); Order of the Medjidie, 4th Class breast badge, silver, gold and enamels; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 1 clasp, Bahr-el-Ghazal 1900-02, unnamed, clasp loose on ribbon; together with presentation silver cigarette case inscribed ‘Bahr-el-Ghazal Expedition 1900-1902’, hallmarked Birmingham 1902, the reverse of the case engraved with five facsimile signatures of the officers and also the names of two N.C.Os. who took part, enamels lacking from crossed flags of the United Kingdom and Turkey on this, otherwise very fine (4) £2800-3200


Also sold with the recipient’s military ‘Fez’ head-dress in its original leather carrying case.

Admitted to the Order of St John as Serving Brother, 26 February 1901, for his work with the wounded in the Sudan.

Order of the Medjidie London Gazette 8 August 1902: Probably awarded for his work during the cholera epidemic in Cairo.

Henry Evered Haymes, was born on 17 March 1872, the third son of the Rev. Robert Evered Haymes, of Great Glenn, Leicestershire, and Rector of Holdgate, Shropshire. He was educated at Bedford Modern School and Oxford Military College. He entered St Thomas’s in 1891 and qualified M.R.C.S. & L.R.C.P. in 1896. Subsequently he was appointed House Physician at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and also Resident Medical Officer at the Eastern Counties Asylum Colchester.

On 28 January 1899, as a Surgeon on probation, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and his first experience of military surgery came to him at Netley, where he was stationed for some time during the South African War, in charge of the returned wounded troops. After his application was favourably received, he was selected for service with the Egyptian Army, which he joined on 27 September 1899, at Khartoum. He went south in time to attend the wounded from the fighting in the Upper Sudan, probably the battle of Umm Debaycarat (Gedid), fought on 22 November, for which he received the Sudan Medal without clasp.

Late in 1900 he volunteered to accompany an exploration party into the virtually unknown Bahr-el-Ghazal region under Miralai Sparkes Bey, and was appointed senior medical officer to the expedition. The party consisted of five British officers and two British sergeants, 11 Egyptian officers, an interpreter, a clerk, 84 regulars, 266 irregulars and 216 wives and children. They also took 100 men and women rescued from slavery in Omdurman to be returned to their native tribes. The expedition left Khartoum on 29 November 1900 heading south on the White Nile, boarded on three steamers (
Zafir, Hafir and Tawfikieh).

Lieutenant Fell, R.N., joined the expedition south of Fashoda, where they left the Zafir and Hafir, taking the steamers Taliah and Kheibar. After crossing Lake No, the expedition entered the Bahr-el-Ghazal river, which was spread out in a vast area of virtually impassable swamps covered by tall papyrus and thick vegetation, swarming with crocodile and hippopotami. The party pushed on down the river to Mashra-el-Rek, where Sparkes took Haymes and a detachment of soldiers to the Tueng river, about 120 miles, and an eight day hike away. The riverain village of Gor Ghattas was reached on the last day of 1900, and the British and Egyptian flags raise to the tune of the ‘Khedival March’.

The next year was spent traversing the region, visiting and bringing the government’s tenuous authority to the Dinka, Shulluk, Jur and lesser tribes, interspaced with voyages down the river to towns and villages to the far south bordering on the Belgian Congo. Haymes shot a lioness near to Waw, on the Jur river, taking the skin back as a trophy. By this time others had begun to follow the expedition, clearing river routes and doing their best to open up the country to trade, as well as bringing the government’s authority to prevent slave trading and cattle rustling and to generally impose peace to the warring tribes.

With Sparkes virtually confined to his bed from fever at Waw, it was decided to return to Khartoum by steamer, a journey which took 46 days. For these services Haymes was awarded the clasp ‘Bahr-el-Ghazal 1900-1902’ for his Khedives Medal. Moreover, Sparkes Bey had seven silver cigarette cases made to commemorate the first Europeans to explore the Bahr-el-Ghazal region of the southern Sudan. These famous “Bahr-el-Ghazal cigarette cases” bear the facsimile signatures of the seven explorers. The recipients were:

Bimbashi W. A. Boulnois, R.A. Died of fever, Bahr-el-Ghazal, 29 May 1905 (whereabouts unknown);
Lieutenant H. L. H. Fell, R.N. Died of fever, Bahr-el-Ghazal,15 June 1905 (whereabouts unknown);
Bimbashi H. E. Haymes, R.A.M.C. Died of wounds, Tonj, 15 March 1904 (private collection);
Bimbashi A. M. Pirie, D.S.O., 21st Lancers. Killed in action, Palestine, 21 November 1917 (case with family);
Miralai W. S. Sparkes, Welsh Regiment. Died of fever, Bahr-el-Ghazal, 4 July 1906 (D.N.W. June 2009, private collection);
Sergeant F. Boardman, D.C.M., Liverpool Regiment. Died of fever (National Army Museum);
Sergeant F. J. Sears, D.C.M. & Bar, Royal Marine Artillery (Royal Marines Museum, Eastney).

Note: Lieutenant H. L. H. Fell was not involved in the subsequent military expeditions against the Agar Dinka, so was not entitled to the “Bahr-el-Ghazal 1900-02” clasp, whereas all the other cigarette case recipients were. Another case was sold by D.N.W. in July 2001 which must have belonged to either Boulnois or Fell.

Haymes’ promotion to Captain was announced in the London Gazette of 23 January 1902. Later in 1902 Haymes went to Alexandria to help fight the cholera pandemic, in which 35,000 people died, and did important sanitary medical work. This was the first attempt to fight a pandemic using modern thinking and techniques and shortly afterwards the outbreak was contained.

Haymes returned to the Sudan where he was selected by the Sirdar (Wingate) for the appointment of Inspector of the Bahr-el-Ghazal Province. Here he spent a year doing valuable work in surveying and boundary delimitation, at the same time becoming a successful Big Game Hunter, sending home many trophies of lion and elephant, as well as specimens of rarer animals, which he forwarded to the British Museum.

In February 1904, Haymes joined a patrol of 100 men, with two Maxim machine guns, under Captain Wood (Royal Irish Fusiliers) as Principal Medical Officer and Staff Officer. The patrol was sent in an attempt to reopen negotiations with Chief Yambio. As the patrol approached Rikta’s village gunfire was suddenly opened up on them at a few yards range and almost simultaneously a number of spear and bowmen lying concealed in the Khor, charged the government troops. The result was hand-to-hand melee, from which the Nyam Nyam rapidly withdrew into the high grass with which the surrounding country was covered. The Maxims were quickly brought into action, and cleared the enemy from the high grass which was as soon as possible burnt. Bimbashi Haymes had received a dangerous gunshot wound in the head and one man of the XV Sudanese had been killed, whilst nine others were wounded, mostly by spears and arrows. The Nyam Nyam, who are said to have numbered about 50, left behind six dead.

A suitable site was then selected to build a zeriba where the patrol remained for the next three days, collecting grain and burning the surrounding villages, with the patrol leaving to return to Tonj. Haymes was carried by improvised stretcher the 142 miles back to Tonj, which was reached after ten days march, on 25 February. There he was attended to by his old colleague and friend, Captain Brakenbridge, R.A.M.C. However, the long and trying journey and the hardships involved in it had very serious consequences, and Haymes died of pericarditis and pulmonary abscess attributable to the effects of his head wound on 15 March, just two days before his 32nd Birthday.

With a folder containing copied research.