22 October 2013

Egypt Medal awarded in 1885

The sending of a contingent by the NSW colony to Sudan in 1885 is considered as Australia's first military commitment. The need to send troops to Sudan was in response to the death of General Gordon, however, the NSW Infantry Contingent arrived to late to participate in any major action. The contingent was awarded the Egypt Medal with the clasp Suakin 1885 and the Khedive's Star. Considering that the medals were awarded 128 years ago I never thought that one would come my way.
Several weeks ago I received the Sudan 1885 pair awarded to 18 Private Frederick Long. Even though the medal in engraved with NSW infantry, Long was a member of the Ambulance Corps. I was able to confirm Long's service through several sources but there was no information available about him. For close to a week I was stuck so I started putting all sorts of search options in to Trove. One string of word was 'Long Sudan Contingent' and to my surprise I got a hit. I then found the following Return Thanks notice.

The notice thanks the members of the Sudan Contingent for their sympathies of Fred Long. I had my man but not the name of his wife. I then went back through the previous weeks funeral notices and found Long's funeral notice.
Finally I had Long's wife's name - Elizabeth. The other bit of key information was that Long's full name was Joseph Frederick.. Using this information I was able to confirm their marriage and that Fred and Elizabeth didn't have children.
The marriage records provided Elizabeth's maiden name and parents names. Using this new information I found that she had 9 siblings. Several, like her twin sister died as an infant and others didn't marry.
Elizabeth's youngest brother, Charles, married Matilda Hall. From Charles death notice I found his children s names including that of Linda Pavey. I was stuck there for a bit until I workout that Linda was Belinda Ingram. From there, thanks to the electoral rolls it didn't take long to track down the current generation and I have now spoken to Fred's great nephew, Warren, and great niece, Annette. I'll be returning the medals to Annette in the near future.
I showed the medals to a real expert of this particular era and he pointed out the the medal is missing the Suakin clasp and that the Kedhive's Star is not an original. The good news is that the Egypt medal is 100% correct. Thank you very much to Lee and Fiona M who sent the medals to me. The returned medal tally is now 1340.

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