Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Melik Society - Historical Preservation


The Nile steamer Bordein circa 1885

Whilst working on my 54mm Sudan Project, I was doing some research on the river boats that were used during the attempted rescue of General Gordon in Khartoum (and also researching Kitchener's fleet of Nile Rive gunboats in 1895-96) and found this interesting web site.

Melik Society

The purpose of the Melik Society is to advance awareness of Anglo-Sudanese history in the period 1883-1956 through the restoration and preservation of the river gunboat Melik and the paddle steamer Bordein.

The Melik during the filming of The Four Feathers in 1938.

The Melik in 1938.

The Melik

The present day Melik

The Melik served in the campaign to capture Omdurman and Khartoum by Kitchener in 1896 and it continued on active service up to 1926, when the boat was retired and leased by the Blue Nile Sailing Club as its club house up through the 1980s. The gunboat was also used in the 1938 film, The Four Feathers, directed by Alexander Korda.

The present day Bordein.

I encourage anyone with an interest in the 19th Century Sudan campaigns to click on the link to the Melik Society and scroll through the available information and pictures. It is well worth your time.

I do not know whether the preservation efforts for Melik and Bordein have gathered any steam of late and it would be interesting to find out if the projects have made any progress.


  1. Great stuff there about the Melik. As it happens we just watched the 1939 version of The Four Feathers last night on dvd and now, thànks to your posting above, my wife wants to watch it again. Will miracles never cease!

    Thanks, John

    1. I watched the movie this evening and I have to say that that the 1939 version is the best of all the ones that I’ve seen.

  2. The work of preservation groups such as this one are marvellous. Big tasks, so I'm not surprised if progress is a bit slow.
    Regards, James

  3. "THe FOur Feathers"... "the mark of the the Sengali !"