The inscriptions read:
On the terminal: nasr wa fath min Allah (Victory and triumph from God)
On one of the rings: Muhammad al-Mahdi khalifa rasul Allah (Muhammad al-Mahdi successor of the Prophet of God)
At the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898 an Anglo Egyptian force led by the future Field Marshal Lord Kitchener of Khartoum destroyed the army of the Khalifa Abdullahi and with it the Mahdist state which had ruled Sudan since the death of Gordon fourteen years earlier, opening the way to British rule in Sudan. Abdullahi was the successor to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmed (1844-1885) who had proclaimed Jihad in 1881. The battle was marked by the courage of the Mahdist forces in the face of superior weapons, and by the last cavalry charge by the British army, in which the young Winston Churchill participated.