The following items, from the Durham Light Infantry objects collection, relate to The 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry during its time in Egypt and Sudan in 1885 – 1886, when it was fighting the Dervishes. Jimmy Durham’s father was an officer with the Dervish army.
The jibbah was the basic uniform worn by soldiers of the Dervish army in Egypt and Sudan in 1885 – 1886. It is a simple, cotton smock, with coloured patches.
This jibbah (left) was brought home as a souvenir by an unidentified Durham Light Infantry officer, after the Battle of Ginnis. We don’t know what happened to its original owner; perhaps he was killed in the battle.
Many Dervish soldiers were only armed with spears and swords. In battle, these heavy swords were used to hack off the hands of the enemy. This sword and dagger (right) were picked up after the Battle of Ginnis.
This weapon (below), picked up after the Battle of Ginnis, was made from an old flintlock musket (dated 1812), later converted in North Africa to fire percussion caps. The Dervishes had few modern rifles in 1885.
This rolling block rifle (below), a single-shot, breech loading rifle, calibre .43″, was made for the Egyptian Army by the American arms manufacturer, Remington.
In 1883, the Dervish army destroyed an Egyptian force in the Sudan, near Khartoum, and captured several hundred of these rifles.
The rifles were then used at the Battle of Ginnis, though not very effectively. We don’t know, however, if this rifle was picked up after the battle.
2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry objects
This khaki tunic was worn by 582 Private Kinghorne in January 1885, when the 2nd Battalion was sent to Egypt. We know this because inside is a label, DLI 582 1 85, giving the soldier’s number and the date the tunic was issued.
The tunic was later, and for an unknown reason, re-issued to Lance Corporal Roach, which is why there is a lance-corporal’s chevron on the right arm. The chevron on the left arm is for long service. The tunic has replacement ‘King’s Crown’ brass buttons, rather than the original Victorian ‘Queen’s Crown’ buttons.
This undress Glengarry cap was worn by 1019 Lance Corporal Roach, who not only served in Egypt with 2DLI, but also in the Boer War with the 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry.