Generals Gordon & Kitchener in Sudan.

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Generals Gordon & Kitchener in Sudan.

These spent bullets and cartridge cases come from an isolated desert battlefield in Northern Sudan where in 1898 the Mahdist Sudanese forces engaged with Gen. Kitchener's column before the battle of Omdurman.

These small pieces of brass and copper tell the story of the British Army's more memorable battles against indigenous African tribesmen; not all of which they won.

On the right are cases from Martini-Henry rifles taken by the Mahdist forces after the massacre of Gen. Gordon's Khartoum garrison, or perhaps the rout inflicted on Hicks at EL Obeid in "The Square that Broke" by the Hadendoa tribesman; made famous in Henry Newbolt's poem Vitai Lampada, with the famous lines "Play up, play up and play the game"

The same weapon, although with a rolled brass cartridge was used by British troops during the Zulu war at Isandlwana and Rourkes Drift.

On the left are cases from the then new Lee-Metford (later developed into the lee-Enfield) with which Kitchener's forces were equipped and which was used by the British army until the 1950s. Many of the senior British commanders from WWI, including Churchill were present at this battle as young officers. Did he fire any of these?

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