1882 Egypt Medal with Tel El Kebir clasp with Khedives Star. 1Bn Scots Guards. Kewell. Chichester.

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Correctly named 3652 Pte F Kewell 1/Scots Gds   (a rub on Gds)

Khedives Star unnamed

Born in 1856 in Chichester, to Rueben and Fanny Kewell, Frederick grew up to be an agricultural labour.

We find him in the 1871 Census work as a farm labourer and living with his parents.

He attested to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards in 1876. He was time served in May 1882 and transferred to the 1st Army Reserve. He re-joined the colours in the following July 1882 and he served in Egypt from 30th July 1882 until 10th November 1883.

Prior to going overseas, Frederick married Mary Ann Beech in 1879.

After his return, we find Frederick living at 27 Sullington Lane, Sussex and working as a groom (1891)

1901 sees him living now at 24 Arundel Road, Sussex and is now listed as being a shepherd.

In 1911, we see his postal address is Yarmer Poling, Arundel. He is still working as a shepherd.

Frederick died in the district of Westhamptnett, Sussex in 1933 aged 77.

 

Urabi had redeployed to defend Cairo against Wolseley. His main force dug in at Tel El Kebir, north of the railway and the Sweetwater Canal, both of which linked Cairo to Ismailia on the canal. The defences were hastily prepared, but included trenches and redoubts. Urabi’s forces possessed 60 pieces of artillery and breech loading rifles. Wolseley made several personal reconnaissances, and determined that the Egyptians did not man outposts in front of their main defences at night, which made it possible for an attacking force to approach the defences under cover of darkness. Rather than make an outflanking movement around Urabi’s entrenchments, which would involve a long march through waterless desert, or undertake formal bombardment and assault, Wolseley planned to approach the position by night and attack frontally at dawn, hoping to achieve surprise.

Wolseley began his advance from Ismailia on the night of 12 September, with two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade. A brigade of Indian troops covered the flank on the southern bank of the Sweetwater Canal. The approach march of the main forces was made easier because the desert west of Kassassin was almost flat and unobstructed, making it look like a gigantic parade ground. Even though there were repeated halts to maintain dressing and alignment, the British troops reached the Egyptian position at the time Wolseley intended.

Tell El Kebir

At 5.45 a.m. Wolseley’s troops were six hundred yards from the entrenchments and dawn was just breaking, when Egyptian sentries saw them and fired. The first shots were followed by multiple volleys from the entrenchments and by the artillery.  British troops, led by the Highland Brigade on the left flank, and the 2nd Brigade on the right flank with the Guards Brigade (commanded by Queen Victoria’s third son, Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn) in support, charged with the bayonet.

The British advance was shielded from view by the smoke from the Egyptian artillery and rifles. Arriving in the trenches at the same time, all along the line, the resulting battle was over within an hour. Most of the Egyptian soldiers were tired from having stood on the alert all night. Because of the haste with which Urabi’s forces had prepared their defences, there were no obstacles in front of them to disrupt the attackers. Several groups stood and fought, mainly the Sudanese troops in the front of the Highland Brigade, but those not overwhelmed in the first rush were forced to retreat. In the end, it was a crushing defeat for the Egyptians. Official British figures gave a total of 57 British troops killed. Approximately two thousand Egyptians died. The British army had more casualties due to heatstroke than enemy action.

British cavalry pursued the broken enemy towards Cairo, which was undefended. Power was then restored to the khedive, the war was at an end and the majority of the British Army went to Alexandria and took ship for home, leaving from November, just an army of occupation.

Lieutenant William Mordaunt Marsh Edwards was awarded a Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the battle.

 

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