28/2/1916 Egypt: Britain routs the Senussi, reasserts dominance

Britain’s veiled protectorate over Egypt has been challenged by the Senussi, a Muslim religious order based in Libya. The Senussi launched an invasion of Egypt from the west, hoping to trigger a revolt that would chase out the Britishand bring Egypt back into the Ottoman Empire. This would have been a disaster for Britain, as the Suez Canal is a vital link in its communications with its possessions in India.

However, after some early successes the Senussi campaign has petered out. Now the British are chasing them out of Egypt. Two days ago the British (with the assistance of their South African friends) smashed the main Senussi force in a battle like that from another era, fought by men on horseback hacking at each other with swords. Following this success the British reoccupy Sidi Barrani, scene of an early success by the Senussi. They make ready to press on towards the Libyan border post of Sollum and to secure the various oases that Senussi fighters have occupied.

The Senussi invasion did not trigger an Egyptian revolt against the British. There has however been some pro-Senussi unrest, particularly in Alexandria. Now, though, with the Senussi star clearly in the descendant British prestige has been restored. For now the Egyptians are chastened, recognising that their British masters are not about to be dislodged.

image source:

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, 26th February 1916, by Elizabeth Butler (Dorset County Museum)

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