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While on its way to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum, the cross-country detachment of the British Desert Column, under the command of Sir Herbert Stewart (1843–1885), was attacked by the Sudanese followers of Mohammed Ahmed, self-proclaimed ‘Mahdi’ (guide, or redeemer, of Islam). The British square broke and was closed only after desperate hand-to-hand fighting. Stewart’s men were victorious, suffering 168 casualties to the Mahdists’ 1,100.
oil on canvas
H 119 x W 185 cm
gift from 21st Special Air Service (Artists Rifles) TA, 1960