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Report on the bombardment of Alexandria

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No. 655.

"Helicon," at Alexandria, July 19, 1882.


I HAVE the honour to report, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that, having received a declaration from Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien (copy attached), that guns were being mounted in Fort Silsili, I sent a communication (copy attached) to the Military Commandant of Alexandria, to the effect that I would open fire on the forts at sunrise on the 11th, unless, previous to that hour, the batteries on the Isthmus of Ras-el-Teen, and on the southern shore of Alexandria, were temporarily surrendered to me for the purpose of dismantling, thereby carrying out their Lordships' instructions, which had reached me on the 10th instant.

2. Early on the morning of the 11th, the "Helicon" was observed making for the "Invincible," at anchor in Boghaz Pass, and on board which ship my flag was flying. At 6.30 a.m. she reported by signal that Egyptian officers were on board and wished to communicate with me. These officers, one an Aide-de-Camp of Dervisch Pasha's, and two Egyptians, came on board and delivered a letter from His Excellency Ragheb Pasha, President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs, which is also attached, that he was willing to dismount three guns. I informed them that I could not possibly entertain such a proposal, and I therefore sent a reply couched in those terms to His Excellency (copy herewith).

3. On ascertaining that the officers had landed safely, I opened fire on the forts, which was soon briskly returned from the Meiks lines and batteries within the Reefs, also from Ras-el-Teen and Forts Ada and Pharos on the offshore squadron. Having succeeded in silencing the forts at 5.30 p.m. I made a signal to cease firing.


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