23 May 1916 – Slessor Saves Sudan

The British advance against the Dervish forces in Western Sudan continues. Yesterday, there was a pitched battle at Beringiya, in which the Sultanof Darfur’s forces were defeated.

This morning, the Western Frontier Force advanced on El Fasher. As part of the advance, 2nd Lieutentant John Cotesworth Slessor of 17 Squadron RFC flew a patrol in his BE2c () over the area. He came accross an enemy rearguard of Baggara horsemen and attacked them with his Lewis gun. He then encountered the remnants of the Dervish army in El Fasherm and bombed them. This caused the enemy to disperse in panic, and the Western Frontier Force entered El Fasher unopposed.

Ali Dinar, the force commander had a narrow escape as one of the bombs killed his camel just as he was getting ready to mount, and also killed two of his servants.

Second Lieutenant Slessor was himself wounded in the thigh, but was able to return.

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One thought on “23 May 1916 – Slessor Saves Sudan

  1. sethspeirs Post author

    The impact of this attack was described as follows in the official history (Volume 5, p176):

    “The morale of the enemy troops was destroyed by this unexpected form of assault and they broke into small parties, and later reports showed that many died of thirst in the desert because they could not bring themselves to return to El Fasher, where they might again be attacked from the air.”

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