Egypt Medal 1882-1889 : Private J G Nelson, New South Wales Contingent

Place Africa: Sudan, Suakin
Accession Number REL/03887.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Silver
Maker Pinches, John
Wyon, Leonard Charles
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1886
Conflict Sudan, 1885

Egypt Medal 1882 -1889 with the bar 'SUAKIN 1885'. The recipient's number, rank, name and regiment are engraved on the edge. Obverse: The diademed and veiled head of Queen Victoria with the legend, 'VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX'. Reverse: The Sphinx on a pedestal with the word 'EGYPT' above. The exergue is blank . The medal is fitted with a straight swivel suspender and a single rectangular campaign bar. A piece of 32 mm ribbon which has three bright blue and two white stripes of equal width is attached to the suspender.

History / Summary

This medal was awarded to Private (Pte) 65 Jonas Goode Nelson, originally of Oxford, England. Pte Nelson came to Australia with his parents at the age of three and eventually settled in Goulburn, New South Wales. His father Constable Samuel Nelson, served at Collector, NSW and was shot by Johnny Dunn, one of the bushrangers in Ben Hall's gang, in 1865. A boot maker by trade, Jonas Nelson enlisted in the New South Wales Contingent to the Sudan on 18 February 1885 at the age of 33. He embarked from Sydney aboard SS Iberia on 3 March 1885. The contingent left Sydney to much public fanfare and arrived at Suakin on 29 March. Once there, the New South Welshmen were attached to a Brigade comprised of Scots, Grenadiers and Coldstream Guards. The contingent then marched to the village of Tamai, 30 kilometres inland. On their journey they came across bodies of soldiers from a recent battle. When they reached Tamai, they burnt the village and returned to Suakin. The majority of the contingent then undertook the construction of a railway line to the inland town of Berber. The New South Wales Contingent did not participate in any actual battles and left for Australia on 17 May 1885. The date of Pte Nelson’s return to Australia is not known, however the Nominal Roll indicates that he was left in hospital in Colombo on the return journey. His final rank is listed as corporal. Upon his return Pte Nelson became a police officer, like his father. He also served in the militia with the Goulburn Volunteer Infantry, 2nd New South Wales Infantry Regiment until 1901. Pte Nelson died in May 1924 and was given a military funeral.