UA-29106117-1

Sudan Battle of Atbara April 1898 Distinguished Conduct Medal, Boer War, Jubaland and Somaliland 1901 operations

The outstanding and unique combination Sudan Battle of Atbara April 1898 Distinguished Conduct Medal, Boer War, Jubaland and Somaliland 1901 operations, and Great War group awarded to Wing Commander one time Brevet Major and also Sergeant G. Hilton, Royal Air Force, late King's Own Scottish Borderers, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry and Scots Guards, who won his D.C.M. in Atbara on 8th April 1898 whilst attached to the 12th Battalion, Sudanese Infantry with the Egyptian Army.   

Group of 8: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victoria issue; (SERGT. G. HILTON. SCO: GDS: 8TH APRIL 1898); Queen's Sudan Medal 1896-1898; (9539 SGT: G. HILTON. 12/BN: SUD: R.); Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902, 4 Clasps: Belmont, Modder River, Driefontein, Johannesburg; (LIEUT: G. HILTON, D OF C. L.I.); Africa General Service Medal 1899-1956, EVII 2nd type bust, 2 Clasps: Jubaland, Somaliland 1901; (2/LIEUT: G. HILTON. D OF C. L.I.); 1914-1915 Star; (CAPT. G. HILTON. D.C.M. K.O.SCO.BORD.); British War Medal and Victory Medal with Mentioned in Despatches Oakleaf; (MAJOR. G. HILTON.); Khedive's Sudan Medal 1898-1908, 2 Clasps: The Atbara, Khartoum, unnamed as issued.

Condition: Good Very Fine.

Together with matching group of miniature medals as once worn by the recipient, they are all on original ribbons, however are now no longer mounted together.

George Hilton saw service as a Sergeant (No.9539) with the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards during the Sudan Campaign of 1897 to 1898, being for some time attached as a European non commissioned officer to the 12th Battalion, Sudanese Infantry. The Sudanese Infantry Battalions of the Egyptian Army consisted of 6 companies of 150 men each, with the men being recruited from the Blacks of the Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, with the Sudanese troops being considered the pride of the Egyptian Army, they being known for their agressive stance in battle, and were often as not placed in the firing line first, with the Egyptian troops ususually being required to support them. Hilton is confirmed as having been present duing operations in the Sudan in 1897, and then the Atbara camapaign and the expedition to Khartoum in 1898.  

It was for his gallantry in action on 8th April 1898 at the battle of the Atbara during the reconquest of the Sudan, that Sergeant Hilton was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the London Gazette for 15th November 1898, which entry was then ammended in the gazette of 28th April 1899, he being one of only two men from the Scots Guards so honoured in this gazette, the other being Sergeant A. Russell.

By 1898, the combined British and Egyptian army was advancing down the Nile river into Sudan. The Sudanese Mahdist leader, the Khalifa Addallahi ibn Muhammed ordered the Emir Mahmud Ahmad and his 10,000 strong army of western Sudan northward towards the junction of the Nile and Atbara rivers to engage the British and Egyptian army led by General Herbert Kitchener. Encamping on the banks of the Atbara river by March 20, Mahmud, with Owman Digna's group of Dervish warriors were within 20 miles (32 km) of the British camp outpost at Fort Atbara at the confluence of the Atbara with the Nile. On April 4, after seeing that the Mahdists were unwilling to attack, Kitchener quietly advanced with the British and Egyptian army towards the Mahdist fortified camp just outside the town of Nakheila.
The British attack began at 06:20 on April 8, 1898; two brigades, the British Brigade led by William Gatacre, and the Egyptian Brigade led by Archibald Hunter, led the attack. After a brief artillery bombardment of the Mahdist camp, the combined British and Egyptian brigades attacked. Soon, the British and Egyptian troops were in the Mahdist camp, often fighting hand-to-hand with the Mahdist warriors. After 45 minutes, the battle was over as Osman Digna led a few thousand warriors on a retreat to the south, while most of the remainder were killed or captured, including Mahmud who was captured by loyal Sudanese troops of the Egyptian Brigade.
Hilton was then present at the battle of Omdurman on 2nd September 1898, when the 12th Sudanese Infantry formed part of the Egyptian troops alotted to the 2nd British Brigade and saw some of the sharpest fighting, and at the entry into Khartoum on the followed day.  

Hilton transferred back to the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, and received his Queen's Sudan Medal named to him with the 12th Sudanese Infantry when serving at Chelsea Barracks on 14th March 1899, as well as the Khedive's Sudan Medal 1898-1908, with clasps for The Atbara and Khartoum, this being unnamed as issued to him due to the fact he gained it via the Egyptian Army and not via his own regiment. With the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa, Hilton was then present on operations with the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards and in the action at Belmont on 23rd November 1899, at Modder River on 28th November 1899, at Driefontein on 10th March 1900, and on his being granted a commission in the field on 23rd May 1900,was then posted as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, and then present in action at Johannesburg on 31st May 1900.

Having been posted home, Hilton, as an officer who had been commissioned from the ranks, would have found it financially draining to have kept up with his fellow officers, and as such he almost undoubtedly volunteered for further operational service, being then seconded to the Colonial Office for service in Africa, being seconded for service under the Foreign Office on 17th January 1901, together with one other officer from his regiment, Lieutenant F.A. Dickinson, and was then present on operations in Jubaland, almost certainly serving with the East African Rifles, this was a campaign against the Ogaden Somalis, which lasted from 16th November 1900 through to 30th April 1902, with Hilton appearing to have come in towards the end of the operations, he then went on to see service in the Somaliland 1901 operations, which covered the first expedition against Muhammed bin Abdullah, the Mad Mullah, and lasted from 22nd May to 30th July 1901, services for which Hilton received a regimentally rare, and possibly regimentally unique, Africa General Service Medal 1899-1956, with two clasps for Jubaland, and Somaliland 1901, of which approximately only 1600 of each clasp were awarded, the latter clasp being award to only 22 British officers, and it would appear that in the latter campaign he would have seen service with the Somali Levies.

Initially he had joined the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry as a Supernumary 2nd Lieutenant, however he was then confirmed in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 2nd October 1901, and then he was seconded for service as an Adjutant with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Volunteer Force on 9th June 1906, being posted in this position to the 2nd Volunteer Force Battalion, he then transferred and fulfilled a similar role with the 5th Battalion from 1st April 1908, this being on account of the reorganisation of the Volunteer Force and the creation of the Territorial Force in 1908. With a vacancy for a Captain appearing within the King's Own Scottish Borderers, Hilton was then promoted to Supernumary Captain and transferred into that unit on 17th April 1909, being then confirmed as a Captain on 1st January 1910.

With the outbreak of the Great War in August 1914, Hilton, who saw service as a Captain with the 2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borders in France and Flanders on the Western Front from December 1914, and was awarded a Mention in Despatches for gallant and distinguished service in the London Gazette for 22nd June 1915, and was promoted to Brevet Major and then appointed as a General Staff Officer 3rd Grade on 22nd September 1915, and then transferred into the Royal Flying Corps as an administrative officer, and further continued this role on the formation of the Royal Air Force in April 1918. Shortly after the cessation of hostilities, Hilton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel as of 1st January 1919, and then on the formation of the R.A.F. ranking system, changed his rank to Wing Commander, and then relinquished his commission on retirement from the Army on 7th September 1921. Hilton claimed his Great War medals on 14th February 1921, and when he finally received them in 1922 after one failed delivery, his address was then given as Chetnole, nr Sherborne, Dorset.     

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