The Allan and Janet Woodliffe Collection of Medals relating to the Reconquest and Pacification of The Sudan 1896-1956

Date of Auction: 18th May 2011

Sold for £4,800

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

The rare Sudan D.S.O. group of eight awarded to El Lewa (Major-General) W. H. Drage, Commissariat and Transport Corps, an old frontier hand who was awarded the Turkish Medjidie for Toski and who became responsible for keeping Kitchener’s army supplied - winning one of only two D.S.O’s for operations around Abu Hamed in 1897

Distinguished Service Order, V.R., silver-gilt and enamels; Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, 2 clasps, The Nile 1884-85, Toski 1889 (Condr. W. H. Drage, C & T. Staff); Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Qr. Mr. & Hon: Maj. W. H. Drage, D.S.O. Dept. of Supls.); Khedive’s Star 1884-6; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 3 clasps, Sudan 1897, Khartoum, Sudan 1899, unnamed as issued; Order of the Medjidie, 2nd Class set of insignia comprising neck badge and breast star, silver, gold and enamel; Order of the Osmanieh, 3rd Class neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, the first five mounted as worn, the centres of both Turkish badges loose, the Osmanieh with several enamel chips, otherwise generally good very fine (8) £4000-5000


D.S.O. London Gazette 11 March 1898: ‘For services during the recent operations in the Sudan’. Capture of Abu Hamed and occupation of Berber.

Order of the Medjidie, 4th class London Gazette 17 January 1890: Action at Toski.

Order of the Medjidie, 2nd class London Gazette 19 July 1904: Controller of Stores, Sudan Government.

Order of the Osmanieh, 3rd class London Gazette 17 July 1900: Services during 1899.

M.I.D. London Gazette 6 September 1899 (Toski; special promotion to Hon. Captain and Quartermaster); 3 November 1896 (Dongola; special promotion to Hon. Major); 25 January 1898 (Sudan 1897); 30 September 1898 (Omdurman; special promotion to Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel).

William Henry Drage was born at Wandsworth, London, on 3 November 1852, and educated privately. He joined the army in the ranks in 1872 and became a warrant officer in 1882. He served in the Nile expedition of 1884-85 and then entered the Commissariat and Transport Department. He was commissioned in the Commissariat and Supply Department in June 1885, and was attached to the Frontier Field Force, 1885-86, seeing action at the battle of Ginnis on 30 December 1885. He was promoted Quartermaster, C & T Corps, 15 June 1885, after the Nile expedition. His attachment to the Egyptian army in December 1886, was the prelude to quick advancement. For his conduct at the battle of Tushki (Toski) on 3 August 1889, as Commissariat Officer of Force, he was mentioned in despatches, promoted to honorary Captain and Quartermaster, and awarded the 4th class Medijidie.

He served in the Dongola expedition in 1896, as D.A.A.G. Headquarters Staff, was again mentioned in despatches and promoted to rank of Major. He served in the Nile Expedition of 1897, in the same capacity, and was present at the capture of Abu Hamed and the subsequent occupation of Berber, being once more mentioned in despatches and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. In the Nile expedition in 1898 he was present at the battle of Khartoum, was again mentioned in despatches and granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Finally, for the Nile Expedition of 1899, he received the 3rd class Osmanieh.

A Pasha of Egypt, Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Drage retired from the Army Service Corps on the 22 October 1904, with the Egyptian rank of Lewa (Major General) and 2nd class Medijidieh. He died on 3 November 1915. Wallis Budge says in The Egyptian Sudan, Its History and Monuments: ‘In one corner of this space was the tent of Major W. H. Drage (now Colonel Drage Pasha), the chief of the Army Service Corps at Merawi. This officer controlled all the supplies of every sort and kind which were required by an army often of twelve thousand men, and it was popularly believed that, if called upon to do so, he could at any time of the day or night tell the Sirdar the exact position of every stern-wheeler on the river, what stores she was carrying, how long they would last, and also the number of boxes, and bags, and logs of wood which were to be found with each section of the Army at every place in the Sudan! He spent most of the day in writing orders, and giving directions to a legion of subordinate officials, and in seeing that his commands were carried out promptly, and a good deal of the night he devoted to official "paper work." His practical, shrewd common sense and great experience enabled him to attend to half a dozen things at a time, and to grasp the details of each in a surprising manner; nothing escaped his notice, nothing disturbed him, and he was just as sagacious in discussing with the General the number of times which a soldier's boots ought to be soled, as the preparations necessary for the despatch of a company of Camel Corps to Berber or elsewhere.’

Sold with original Royal License to Accept and Wear the 3rd class Order of the Osmanieh and further comprehensive research.