Sudan Pair To The Royal Artillery
Queens Sudan Medal 97723 GR J ATTREALL RA Khedives Sudan Medal one bar The Atbara 27723 GUNNER J ATTREALL 16 COY ED RA
James Attreall a 18 year old labourer from Rudmell Lewes Sussex enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery at Lewes in January 1893 , he served for 19 years, finally being discharges in 1912 , the only medals being awarded to the recipient during his service being the Sudan Medals
The Atbara 8th April 1898
Three hundred miles north of Khartoum lies Atbara, at the confluence of the eponymous river and the Nile. Kitchener had established a fort at the junction of the rivers, and the Khalifa ordered one of his generals, Emir Mahmud Ahmed, north to engage the British. However, Mahmud did not engage immediately, pausing instead on March 20th 1898 twenty miles south of Kitchener's fort, and erecting his own fortified camp, with trenches and zarebas, ( a barriers of thorn bushes.)
After preparing for the expected attack Kitchener realised that Mahmud was reluctant to fight, and so he decided to take the initiative. On April 7th he ordered a night march across the gravelly desert which allowed his forces to be in a position to attack at dawn the next day. The British-Egyptian force had about ten and a half thousand troops, against the Mahdists' fifteen thousand, which included five thousand cavalry. However, Kitchener's troops were all armed with modern rifles, while their enemy were mostly (though not all) armed with spears and swords.
At dawn Kitchener's four artillery batteries opened fire on the Mahdist camp. The cannonade lasted for just over an hour, during which the Mahdist cavalry attempted an attack, only to driven back by the British Maxim guns. Once the artillery had ceased the infantry were ordered forward, with Sudanese and Egyptian troops to the right and in the centre, with the British contingent of Seaforth and Cameron Highlanders, supported by the 1st Royal Warwickshire and the 1st Lincolns, to the left.
Protected by the thick zareba the Mahdists poured a torrent of gunfire into the troops advancing up the gravel slope, with the Sudanese in the centre in particular experiencing heavy losses. On the left the Camerons were in front, with the Seaforths behind. Soon the Camerons were close enough to the zareba for some of the troops to begin pulling it down, while others fired through the gaps created. Then through and over those gaps drove the Seaforths. Soon fierce hand-to-hand fighting ensued, with no quarter given; in the trenches that lay behind the zareba more than two thousand Mahdist bodies lay at the close of the fighting. With them lay eighty British casualties.
A very scarce pair of medals to the Royal Artillery, the only British Artillery present during the Battle of Atbara being a Maxim Gun detachment of the 16th Company Eastern Division Royal Garrison Artillery. They received a total of 34 Atbara bars , 5 as single bars and 29 with Khartoum bars also and 27 Atbara bars all with Khartoum also to Egyptian Drivers attached to the battery . The other 4 batteries present during the Battle of Atbara being Egyptian Artillery
Medal mounted on original ribbons with pin mount , with contact marks and in NVF condition