1885 The Egyptian Campaign,
15th Ludhiana Sikhs
ln 1885 whilst stationed at Luckrow, orders were given to
proceed to Bombay to join the Egytian Expeditionary Force and
great enthusiam was shown at the thought of active service. The
force collected in camps around Suakin and at first nothing important
occurred except for continual raids by the Arabs. In many cases these
raids were successful and resulted in some casualties and loss of rifles and equipment. To enable the force to reach Osman Digma's stronghold it was decided to build zarebas along the route to Tatmai.
These zarebas were to contain food and water and were to be
garrisoned by detachments for this purpose. Troops were collected
under Sir John McNeill and set out on the 22nd March for Tofrek
where the frrst zareba was to be built. On arriving at Tofrek the
Indian units formed three sidcs of 6 a square or protection. and troop
of cavalry went out in adlvance to recconnoitre. Whilst the Blitish
troops, amorg whom were the Royal Berksirire Regiment, were out
in front collecting bushes for the zareba, the Cavalry suddenly came
dashing back without any warning, closely followed by Arab
spearsmen. The Berkshires just had time to get back to the Sguare
and whilst they were collecting their arms the attack fell on the I5th
Silks. For some time the fate of the whole force depended on them.
but rhe Berkshires were quick in getting back into formation and with
their assistance it was not long before the Arabs were driven off. Our
losses mouted to 610 killed and wounded and those of the enemy.
were estimated at 2000. The result of these heavy enemy losses was
that Osman Digma lost most cf his best troops and there was no great
opposition in reaching Tomai.
March 22rd, the anniversary of this battle, is still celebrated as
a holiday in both the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the
15th Sikhs Regiment.