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I recall reading that there was a taunt among certain regiments, "Broken Square." Any idea who this was aimed at, or by whom?

Does this have anything to do with the Battle of Abu Klea? I know the square broke, but it was still a British victory. The square was re-established, and the battle was brief.

Am I thinking of something else?

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I have read that it was a favorite taunt of certain Welch regiments directed at the members of the 42nd Foot. ;)

That sounds right. Any reason why? What was the battle with the 42nd?

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What I recall is that the square of the Black Watch was broken by the assault of what the troops referred to as fuzzy wuzzies. I don't recall which native tribe they represented.

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Thanks Bob. Once you told me the units, I was able to find the source.

I have it in Byron Farwell's "Queen Victoria's Little Wars." It was an engagement at Tamai, against the Dervishes. Welsh and Highland troops were fighting and the Welsh soldiers do call out "Broken Square" to pick a fight.

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...with a Welsh accent is comes out more like "BRUK SQARE". ;) I have that little book and found it to be a useful reference.

Edited by Bob Hunter

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The Egypt Medal awarded to 1300 Pte. Donald McFARLANE, 1st Royal Highlanders, killed in action at Tamaai, 13 March 1884.

On pay from 3 July 1882. Attested at Perth. Enlisted by J. G. Simpson. To 2nd Battalion, 8 August 1882. To 1st Battalion, 23 May 1883.

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Rudyard Kipling has a poem about the "Fuzzy-Wuzzy", written in a tone of admiration and in the voice of a "Tommy".

"So 'ere's to you, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, at your 'ome in the Soudan;

You're a poor benighted 'eathen but a first class fightin' man;

We gives you your certificate, an' if you want it signed

We'll come and 'ave a romp with you whenever you're inclined."

"..But give an' takes the gospel, an' we'll call the bargain fair,

For if you 'ave lost more than us, you crumpled up the square!'

Peter

Edited by peter monahan

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