I think this framed collection of 17 medals is a potent reminder of the worldwide spread and power of the British Empire at its zenith.
It was bought by my maternal grandfather, Herbert Potter, in the Sudan 1901-1911. General Potter (as he later became) was on duty at Queen Victoria's funeral, and also fought in the Boer War. To earn enough money to marry his sweetheart, he signed up for ten years' service in the Sudan, where he was in charge of road building.
He learnt Arabic and had the power of life and death over his muslim soldiers. He wrote home weekly without fail and we have all his letters.
He said he bought these medals from his men because they were short of funds; family folklore has it that the dullest medal is the most valuable because it was made out of gunmetal during the siege of Khartoum.
Twelve of the medals have Queen Victoria's head on one side and an Arabic design/inscription on the other. Those with bars all have the placename inscribed in both Arabic and English. The other five medals bear the star and crescent symbol, three of them also say 'Egypt' in English. The most ornate medal is inscribed in Arabic alone. I would love to have an expert's analysis.