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 £24,000

Estimate: £20,000 - £25,000

The magnificent G.C.B., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.St.J., Sudan D.S.O. group of twenty-four awarded to General Sir Henry Macleod Leslie Rundle, Royal Artillery, who was recommended for the Victoria Cross at the defence of Potchefstroom during the 1st Boer War, awarded the D.S.O. for the action at Sarras, and was Kitchener’s Chief of Staff during the reconquest of the Sudan - before going on to successfully command the 8th Division during the South African War

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, G.C.B. (Military) Knight Grand Cross set of insignia, comprising sash badge, silver-gilt and enamels, and breast star in silver with gold and enamel appliqué centre; The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, G.C.M.G., Knight Grand Cross set of insignia, comprising collar chain, silver-gilt and enamels, sash badge, large type, 123x87mm, silver-gilt and enamels, and breast star, silver-gilt and enamels; The Royal Victorian Order, G.C.V.O., Knight Grand Cross set of insignia, comprising sash badge and breast star, silver, silver-gilt and enamels, both pieces officially numbered ‘361’; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight of Grace, neck badge and breast star, silver and enamel, enamel chips to both pieces; Distinguished Service Order, V.R., gold and enamels, minor chipping to reverse wreath; South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1879 (Lieut. L. Rundle, 5th Bde. R.A.); Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, 3 clasps, Tel-El-Kebir, The Nile 1884-85, Toski 1889 (Lieut. H. M. L. Rundle, 1/2 Bde. R.A.); Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Maj: Genl. H. M. Leslie Rundle, Ch: of Stf: E.A.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Transvaal, Wittebergen (Lt: Genl: Sir H. M. Leslie Rundle, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., R.A.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Maj: Gen: Sir H. M. Leslie Rundle, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O.); Jubilee 1897 (Major General Leslie Rundle); Coronation 1911 (General Sir Henry Macleod Leslie Rundle, R.A., G.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O.); French Reconnaissance Medal, silver with enamelled star on ribbon; Khedive’s Star 1882, with Tokar clasp, small fitment to lower reverse point to facilitate ‘cavalry’ style mounting; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 5 clasps, Firket, Hafir, Sudan 1897, Khartoum, Gedaref (Major General Leslie Rundle); Order of the Medjidie, 2nd Class set of insignia, comprising neck badge and breast star, silver, gold and enamel, the reverse of the star inscribed ‘Cap: & Brev: Lt. Col: H. M. L. Rundle, R.A. 1893’, several chips to red enamel; Order of the Medjidie, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, silver-gilt, gold and enamel, the reverse fitted with brooch pin and inscribed ‘Captain & Brevet Major H. M. L. Rundle Roy: Art: 1885’; Order of Osmanieh, 3rd Class neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, badly damaged, the reverse fitted with brooch pin, inscribed on the reverse of the crescent suspension ‘Brev: Maj: H. Rundle’, the backstraps of all clasps reduced to facilitate mounting, unless otherwise described nearly extremely fine (24) £20000-25000


D.S.O. London Gazette 12 August 1887: ‘For action at Sarras, in the Soudan’. One of two such awards for this action.

C.M.G. London Gazette 2 June 1896: Egyptian Military Intelligence Division.

K.C.B. London Gazette 15 November 1898: For services in Egypt and the Soudan, including battles of Atbara and Khartoum.

K.C.M.G. London Gazette 19 April 1901: For services in connection with the campaign in South Africa 1899-1900.

G.C.B. London Gazette 16 June 1911: Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta.

G.C.V.O. London Gazette 13 February 1912: Governor of Malta.

G.C.M.G. London Gazette 22 June 1914: Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Malta.

Order of the Medjidie, 3rd Class London Gazette 23 March 1886: Suakin operations.

Order of Osmanieh, 3rd Class London Gazette 4 October 1887: Action at Sarras.

Order of Medjidie, 2nd Class London Gazette 21 November 1893: Adjutant-General, Egyptian Army.

M.I.D. London Gazette 21 August 1879: Ulundi - ‘The Gatling guns under Major Owen, Royal Artillery, and Lieutenant Rundle, Royal Artillery, came into action a little in advance of the front face of the square. Combined with the fire of the infantry they effectually checked the daring attempt of the enemy to come to close quarters.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 25 August 1885: Sudan Frontier Force operations near Suakim.

M.I.D. London Gazette 21 June 1887: Action at Sarras - ‘I attach Rundle Bey's Report; his energy, ability, and soldier like qualities are well known to you, Sir. The dash and decision of his advance on Sarras, and tenure of the station and fortified heights, and post to the east and north of it under short range rifle fire, gave time to the Infantry and guns to arrive, and, combined with his subsequent handling of his guns and Cavalry, furnished that co-operation of arms indispensable to the success achieved.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 6 September 1889: Toski - ‘Major H. M. L. Rundle, D.S.O., Royal Artillery, ably commanded the Artillery. His two guns, Horse Battery, did excellent service, first at long range, and later at close quarters, firing case. His guns, both Horse and Field Battery were always in the right place.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 3 November 1896: Dongola - ‘In Colonel Rundle, C.M.G., D.S.O. (Royal Artillery), I had a thoroughly efficient Chief of the Staff; his previous experience as Adjutant-General of the Egyptian Army rendered him specially fitted for the post, the duties of which he has performed with great ability. The peculiar nature of the campaign rendered his task an arduous one, and the numerous difficulties as they occurred were met by him with that same care and forethought which characterised his work throughout the campaign.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 25 January 1898: ‘The presence of a considerable force of Dervishes at Metemma necessitates the maintenance of a strong garrison at Merowe under the command of Major-General H. M. L. Rundle, C.M.G., D.S.O. (Royal Artillery), to safeguard the Dongola District, but it is satisfactory to note that the tribes inhabiting the Bayuda Desert are almost without exception loyal to the Egyptian Government.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 24 May 1898: ‘The long line of communications extending from Assouan south was placed under the command of Major-General Rundle, and it was due to the energy displayed by his staff and the officers commanding stations that the troops were kept amply supplied.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 30 September 1898: Omdurman - ‘It would be impossible for any commander to have been more ably seconded than I was by the General Officers serving under me. Major-Generals Hunter, Rundle, and Gatacre have displayed the highest qualities as daring and skilful leaders, as well as being endowed with administrative capabilities of a high order.’

M.I.D. London Gazette 16 April 1901 and 29 July 1902: South Africa.

Henry Macleod Leslie Rundle, the second son of Captain Joseph Sparkehall Rundle RN., was born at Newton Abbot, Devon, on 6 January 1856. His mother was the daughter of Commander Walter Wemyss Leslie RN. In spite of these naval traditions Rundle chose the Army, and was gazetted from the Royal Military Academy to the Royal Artillery on 14 August 1876. Active, and of smart appearance, he had all the makings of a successful regimental officer, and won a name for keenness and efficiency. Three years later he was specially selected to join a battery on active service in the Zulu War of 1879, with Sir Evelyn Wood's flying column, where he was present at the battle of Ulundi on 4 July and mentioned in despatches. He remained in South Africa with another battery, and was engaged in the Boer war of 1881, being slightly wounded on the right side of the head on 4 March during the defence of Potchefstroom. Sir Evelyn Wood recommended Rundle for the Victoria Cross but it was turned down by the Duke of Cambridge.

When, in 1882, an Expeditionary Force was sent to Egypt he was serving at home, and was selected to join I Battery, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, commanded by Sir Edward Hamley, and was present at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir. Shortly after, when the reorganisation of the Egyptian Army was taken in hand by Sir Evelyn Wood, he volunteered for this service, which he entered in January 1893, and remained in it for 15 years.

At the beginning of 1884 Rundle was serving under Major (later Lord) Kitchener in guarding the Nubian Desert with a force of Abadeh Arabs. In the 1884-5 campaign he was employed on lines of communication and received a brevet majority a month after reaching the rank of Captain in March 1885. More important still, he had formed a lasting friendship with Kitchener. From 1885 to 1887 he was with the Sudan Frontier Force engaged in occasional skirmishes. He was present at the action at Sarras in command of some mounted troops, and while with that unit he was awarded the D.S.O. (1887) and the Osmanieh (third class).

In 1886 he was placed at the head of the Egyptian Artillery, then consisting of a few batteries of light guns. In 1889 fresh fighting took place, with a decisive engagement at Toski, where Rundle commanded the artillery. He was mentioned in despatches, and awarded the 2nd class Medijidieh, and on 17 August he received a brevet Lieutenant-Colonelcy. Next, in 1891, he was again engaged in the active operations that culminated in the recapture of Tokar in that same autumn - he was then acting as A.A.G. and in 1892 he became Adjutant-General of the Egyptian Army and spent nearly five years in Cairo, during which time the plans were elaborated for the reconquest of the Sudan. He received his brevet colonelcy in January 1894.

The first advance, led by Sir H. Kitchener, followed in 1896 and terminated with the recapture of the Dongola Province. From June to October Rundle was Kitchener’s Chief of Staff and was present at the actions of Firket and Hafir. He was promoted Major-General in November, and was made a C.M.G. In the following summer he commanded a small force that advanced to Merowe, and was Chief of Staff during the advance to Berber. In 1898 he was commandant on the lines of communication until the battle of the Atbara, when he resumed his old position as Chief of Staff. After the battle of Omdurman he took Kitchener’s place during the latter’s absence at Fashoda, and then led a column up the Blue Nile to the relief of Gedaref. For his services he was created a K.C.B. and received the thanks of Parliament. He returned home in December 1898, and received the command of the old South-Eastern District.

After the outbreak of the South African War he was, in October, appointed Deputy Adjutant General at the War Office, being transferred in the following January to the command of a Division at Aldershot, but was ordered to South Africa in March 1900. He first commanded the 8th Division in Robert’s march to Pretoria. Later he was placed in charge of the Harrismith District. During this time he conducted the Dewetsdorp operations, and commanded at the action of Biddulphsberg. He was also at Wittebergen. Later he worked with Sir Archibald Hunter in the Barandwater Basin and commanded the troops in the North-Eastern Free State, where he controlled many of the “drives” organised in that region. In these operations he was slightly wounded. He acquired a reputation for much caution and deliberation - he greatly valued the lives of the men under his command, taking few risks and never meeting with a reverse, and acquiring the fond nickname within the Army of “Sir Leisurely Trundle”. He remained in South Africa till the close of the war, and was promoted a K.C.M.G. for his services.

Upon his return to England in 1902, he assumed command of the 5th Division. In November 1903 he was appointed G.O.C. in C. of the Northern Command, and held that position until April 1906, having been promoted Lieutenant-General just one year earlier. For nearly two years Sir Leslie was unemployed, and then, on 10 September 1909, he was promoted General, having been selected in June for the post of Governor and Commander-in-Chief at Malta. He continued in this appointment until after the beginning of the Great War, returning to England in February 1915. On his arrival he was selected to succeed Sir Ian Hamilton as Commander-in-Chief of the Central Force, which then consisted of some 10 Divisions and mounted troops of Territorial Force organised for home defence. From May 1916 he remained unemployed until his retirement in May 1919.

Sir Leslie Rundle had, by his 15 years’ service in Egypt, risen from a subaltern of the Royal Artillery to the rank of Major-General in the British Army and to the dignity of the K.C.B. As a young regimental officer he had earned golden opinions wherever he went. In Egypt, he began by displaying all his natural soldierly qualities to good effect, and he served Lord Kitchener with tact and fidelity which met with its reward. He was promoted to G.C.B. in 1911, and G.C.M.G. in 1914. He had been made a G.C.V.O. in 1912. In 1907 he was appointed a Colonel Commandant of Royal Artillery, and he was Honorary Colonel of 3rd Bn. the Buffs from 1899 to 1907. He was a J.P. and also a County Councillor for Hertfordshire. He was a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem., and his wife, Eleanor Georgina, eldest daughter of Captain Henry Jermyn Montgomery Campbell ,R.A., of Thurmaston Hall, Leicester, whom he married in 1887, a Lady of Grace of the Order. His only sister was married to Sir Reginald Wingate. They had no children.

Rundle was a handsome man of smart appearance. During his long military career he earned a reputation for thoroughness and caution. Although scrupulously fair, he was outwardly somewhat unapproachable, except to children, with whom he had a warm rapport.

General Sir Leslie Rundle died on 20 November 1934, in a nursing home at the age of 78. His funeral service was held at St. George’s, Hannover Square, and he was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery.

With two folders containing extensive research, with photographs and the books:With Rundle’s Eighth Division in South Africa, by Thomas C. Wetton; With the Eighth Division, by E. C. Moffett; A Rain of Lead, The Siege and Surrender of the British at Potchefstroom, by Ian Bennett.