The Gordons

Private Timothy Earle

This framed tribute to Private Earle, 1st Gordon Highlanders, was auctioned by Bosleys in December 2005 with a price of 300 to 400 Pounds. It displays a photo of Tim Earle with his medals for Egypt 1884-5, his cap badge, his issue knife and fork, and a letter. The Egypt medal has a blue and white striped ribbon and two clasps EL-TEB-TAMAAI and THE NILE 1884-85. The letter reads:

1392 Pte. T Earle.
I/ Gordon Highlanders

Grave News of Gordon's Death:

The man who gave the first news of General Gordon's death to the outside world, Mr Timothy Earle of 7 Artillery Terrace, Guildford, died January 1940, aged 79.

Born in 1861 at Kingsley, Hampshire, Mr. Earle joined the Gordon Highlanders as a young man. He was a telegraphist and was engaged on the Nile expedition sent to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum in 1884 and was in three battles. It was as a telegraphist that, keeping in contact with the besieged garrison, he was the first man outside the town to hear of Gordon's death and to transmit it to the world. He received the Egyptian medal with two bars, and the Khedive's Star.

Khartoum had fallen on Sunday, January 25th 1885, and General Charles Gordon had been murdered a little before sunrise on the 26th. His head was cut off and taken to the Mahdi, but his body was left in the garden for the whole day and many Dervishes came and plunged their spears into it. Later the head was thrown into a well.

The Mahdi attacked Khartoum, entered the town and in a few days 50,000 Dervishes looted the town and destroyed 10,000 men, women and children. The Relief Force arrived two days later.

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by Stephen Luscombe