Personal info

  • Name: Thomas EDWARDS
  • D.O.B: 19th Apr, 1863
  • D.O.A: 13th Mar, 1884
  • D.O.D: 27th Mar, 1952
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), attached to the Naval Brigade
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Tamaai, Sudan 13 March 1884

13 March 1884

More details about:
EGYPT and SUDAN 1882-85 

The victory at El-Teb had failed to inflict a crushing defeat on Osman Digna and on his return to Suakin, Major General Sir Gerald Graham set out to attack the position Osman had taken up at Tamaai, just under ten miles south-west of the port on the route to Sinkat. On 13 March 1884 he launched his assault. The British were formed up in two squares and the Black Watch who were in the first were ordered to charge and the York and Lancasters followed them. This opened up a gap in the square, which the enemy, many of whom had been hiding in a ravine just ahead, exploited. The square had no alternative but to retreat in some disorder. The Naval Brigade which had been sent to the fore suffered heavy casualties and temporarily abandoned their Gatling guns. It was in these desperate circumstances that Private T Edwards distinguished himself. At this point the second square, commanded by Brigadier General Redvers Buller, began to advance. The Mahdists were defeated and Osman Digna’s camp captured. However, it was at a heavy cost following a near disaster, and Osman Digna still remained at large. Graham had wished to reopen the road to Berber on the Nile which was the key to the successful evacuation of Gordon and the Egyptian forces in the Sudan, but in the event his force was withdrawn having achieved little of lasting value.


 For the conspicuous bravery displayed by him in the defence of one of the guns of the Naval Brigade, at the battle of Tamai, on 13th March, 1884. This man (who was attached to the Naval Brigade as Mule Driver) was beside the gun with Lieutenant Almack, R.N., and a blue jacket. Both the latter were killed, and Edwards, after bayonetting two Arabs, and himself receiving a wound with a spear, rejoined the ranks with his mules, and subsequently did good service in remaining by his gun throughout the action. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 20 May 1884. 21 May 1884, Numb. 25356, p. 2278

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