In 1882 the British Army was involved in fighting in Egypt to secure control of the Suez Canal, with the British facing off against the Egyptians and Sudanese. The final outcome was to see Britain gain political control of the country and the canal at the expense of the French, Egyptians and Ottomans. At the Sweet Water Canal, on August 28, 1882 the British force was attacked by the Egyptians, led by Amed Urabi Pasha. They needed to carve a passage through Ismailia and the cultivated Delta. Both attacks were repulsed. The Household Cavalry under the command of General Drury Drury-Lowe led the “Moonlight Charge”, consisting of the Royal Horse Guards and 7th Dragoon Guards galloping at full tilt into enemy rifle fire. Their ranks were whittled down from the saddle, but still they charged headlong, ever forward. Sir Baker Russell commanded 7th on the right; whereas the Household was led by Colonel Ewart, c/o of the Life Guards. They captured 11 Egyptian guns.
In honour of this event the Bandmaster of the 2nd Life Guards composed a piece of music called the Kassassin Galop which was published in the same year, complete with a wonderful late Victorian illustration on the cover- note the moonlight over the scene and the revolver flying through the sky:
Having shown my mother (who reads music) the piece, it is apparently quite a complex piece of music. The Wright and Round’s Brass Band News in February 1883 described it as:
In honour of the brilliant and successful Grand Charge of the British Cavalry at the Battle of Kassassin, Egypt. Splendid passage for basses. Showy but not difficult.