A Collection of Egypt and Sudan Medals for the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir

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Date of Auction: 18th June 2020

Sold for £320

Estimate: £240 - £280

Egypt and Sudan 1882-89, dated reverse, 1 clasp, Tel-El-Kebir (12549 Gunr. F. Keene, N/2 Bde. R.A.) number and last part of unit faint from contact marks and pitting, otherwise nearly very fine £240-£280

Footnote

Provenance: Jack Webb Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, December 2008.

“N” Battery, 2 Brigade, Royal Artillery, was later awarded the Honour Title “The Broken Wheel” for an incident during the battle of Tel-El-Kebir. It having decided to attack at dawn after an approach march by night, the latter difficult operation was carried out by the two infantry and one cavalry divisions moving in line, in an echelon from the left with all the seven field batteries, also in line, in an interval between the two infantry divisions. The left hand infantry division arrived first at the enemy's entrenchments in the half light and was met by a blaze of fire. Their attack was not at first completely successful but with the aid of their supports they and the other division forced their way into the entrenchments where hand to hand fighting continued.

Meanwhile, the guns had been halted until there was enough light to see what was going on; but, as dawn broke, they were ordered forward to come into action inside the entrenchments in positions from which they could engage the defences in enfilade. N/2 galloped forward with the rest and, in the words of an officer of the battery, writing just after the battle:
All of a sudden the smoke lifted like a curtain and we found ourselves close to a long line of entrenchments. We at once went on and Major Branker found an angle in the line just in front where the ditch was not so deep, so the right gun galloped straight at it. It went with a bump into the ditch, and stuck fast on the face of the parapet, with most of the horses over; but a lot of 42nd [Highlanders] rushed to our help, and we lifted and shoved the gun over; but found one of the wheels smashed to pieces.’

Though one of its guns had thus come to grief, N/2 brought its remaining guns into action inside the entrenchments and engaged the rearward parts of the defences with effective shrapnel fire in enfilade at 1,000 yards range. The enemy, facing destructive fire from both their front and flank were soon broken up and, with victory secured, N/2 gained their prized Honour Title.