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 £3,100

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,500

Five: El Kaimakam James Sillem Bey, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Welsh Regiment who, on attachment to the Egyptian Army, commanded the 3rd Egyptian Infantry throughout the reconquest

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, 1 clasp, Gemaizah 1888 (El Kaiwakam Sillem Bey. Capt: Welch R. 3 Bn. E.A.); Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Kaimakam Sillem Bey. 3/Bn. E.A.); Khedive’s Star, undated; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 6 clasps, Firket, Hafir, Abu Hamed, Sudan 1897, The Atbara, Khartoum (Lt. Col. J. Sillem. Welch Regt.); Order of the Medjidie, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, gold and enamel; together with two officer’s hemet plates, one for the 41st Foot and the other for the Welsh Regiment, the first four medals mounted as worn, extremely fine and a rare group (7) £1200-1500


Order of the Medjidie, 3rd class
London Gazette 17 January 1890: Action at Gemaizah.

M.I.D. London Gazette 11 January 1889 (Gemaizah); 3 November 1896 (Capture of Dongola and Battle of Hafir); 25 January 1898 (Capture of Abu Hamed); 24 May 1898 (Battle of Atbara); 30 September 1898 (Battle of Omdurman).

James Sillem was born on 24 December 1859, and was appointed Ensign in the 69th Foot on 11 May 1878, becoming Lieutenant in July 1879, and Captain in June 1884. He was appointed Kaimakam (governor of a provincial district) in the Sudan in October 1888. He served with the Sudan Field Force in 1887, including the engagement at Sarras, and later at Gemaizah following operations around Suakin. He was in command of the 3rd Egyptian Battalion throughout the operations of the Nile Frontier Field Force in 1889, and with the Dongola expeditionary force under Kitchener in 1896, and then the Khartoum campaign. He was specially promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the Egyptian Army in December 1896, in recognition of his services during the recent operations in the Sudan. He was made Brevet Colonel in November 1898. An officer held in very high regard, his years of dedicated service went strangely unrewarded. He retired in February 1899 and died at Inverness on 28 October 1914.

Sold with research, including photocopies of three letters by Selim recounting his experiences in the Sudan (originals retained by the family) and a good original sepia photograph of Sillem and his officers, taken circa 1889.