On this day, 26 January, in 1885 the British commander of Khartoum, General Charles Gordon, was killed during an attack by troops of the Mahdi, following a 10 month siege. The failure to relieve Gordon lay heavily upon the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, so otherwise popular he served in the position four separate times. Following a telegram of rebuke from Queen Victoria, which found its way to
the press, he resigned - his party ruined.
Gordon died on the steps of a stairway in the northwestern corner of the palace. His corpse was decapitated and his head later
transfixed between the branches of a tree - at the command of
Muhammad Ahmad, the self-proclaimed Mahdi. His body desecrated and thrown down a well, after the reconquest of the Sudan, in 1898, attempts were made to locate Gordon’s remains, but in vain.