Today in Postal History


Wales to Egypt
February 26, 1885

This cover was sent from Abergele on the Irish Sea about 40 km west of Liverpool.
The addressee was a Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Artillery in Egypt.

However,  things were not going well in the Sudan and
the Lieutenant's unit had been moved to Suakin.
Suakin is an island on the Red Sea coast of Sudan south of Port Sudan.

This was in the midst of the Mahdist uprising which included the Siege of Khartoum.
General George "Chinese" Gordon was slain there
when Khartoum fell without relief on February 26.

Troops were subsequently sent to Suakin.
The force was led by General Graham whose mission
was to overthrow the Mahdi and avenge the slaughter at Khartoum.
They arrived at Suakin on March 8.

The military post office was not in operation until April
so this cover was handled by the civilian post office who added
the arrival SOUAKIN CDS on the back dated 14 MAR 85 TI
Stagg, a student of these marks, identified this one as type 4.

After limited military activity the troops moved on after about
60 days as the mission was abandoned for political reasons.
The Sudanese campaigns of this era were alarmingly similar to current conflicts.

The cover is franked with one 1880 d deep green
Victoria (SG 164) and two 1d lilac Victorias (probably SG 172).
There are two Abergele duplex CDS with numeral 18.


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