On the other hand, Sir H. Kitchener required every soldier the
Egyptian army could muster to carry out the operations on the Nile. It was
therefore determined to send Indian troops to Suakin to garrison the town
and forts, and thus release the Xth Soudanese and the Egyptian battalions
for the Dongola Expedition. Accordingly early in the month of May the
Indian Army authorities were ordered to prepare a brigade of all arms
for service in Egypt.
The troops selected were as follow: 26th Bengal Infantry, 35th Sikhs,
1st Bombay Lancers, 5th Bombay Mountain Battery, two Maxim guns, one
section Queen's Own (Madras) Sappers and Miners - in all about 4,000 men.
The command was entrusted to Colonel Egerton, of the Corps of Guides.
On the 30th of May the dreary town of Suakin was enlivened by the arrival
of the first detachments, and during the following week the whole force
disembarked at the rotten piers and assumed the duties of the defence.
It is mournful to tell how this gallant brigade, which landed so full of
high hope and warlike enthusiasm, and which was certainly during the
summer the most efficient force in the Soudan, was reduced in seven months
to the sullen band who returned to India wasted by disease, embittered by
disappointment, and inflamed by feelings of resentment and envy.