Winston Churchill Is Transferred To Egypt

The 21st Lancers were then ordered to cut the Dervish line of retreat into the city.

As the Regiment advanced, they came under rifle fire from what appeared to be a few hundred skirmishers, and the order was given to charge. Too late, it was discovered that this frail line of Dervishes stood in front of a dry riverbed packed with several thousand of the enemy. Private Wade Rix wrote: 'As my horse leapt in among them, my lance entered the left eye of a white-robed figure who had raised his sword to strike. The impact shattered the lance and I quickly drew my sword as another man pointed his flintlock. I struck him down and blood splattered his robe.' The Regiment fought its way through the packed enemy and moved away, dismounted and opened a withering fire from their carbines, forcing the Dervishes to withdraw. During this action the 21st Lancers lost twenty-one men killed and fifty wounded. Three Victoria Crosses were awarded, each of them for rescuing a wounded comrade from the midst of the enemy. Lieutenant Winston Churchill, attached to the Regiment from the 4th Hussars, commanded a troop in the charge.

Churchill was transferred to Egypt in 1898 where he visited Luxor before joining an attachment of the 21st Lancers serving in the Sudan under the command of General Herbert Kitchener. During his time he encountered two future military officers, with whom he would later work, during the First World War: Douglas Haig, then a captain and John Jellicoe, then a gunboat lieutenant. While in the Sudan, he participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. He also worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post.