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Kitchener’s boat needs you to get her back in shape

Kitchener’s boat needs you to get her back in shape

She led the British flotilla at the Battle of Omdurman, and she’s been a haven for expatriate gin drinkers. Now the rusting Melik has become an unlikely symbol of Anglo-Sudanese co-operation.

The mighty gunboat deployed by General Kitchener at the Battle of Omdurman may soon sail again, more than a century after it blasted its way up the Nile to crush rebellion in Sudan.

For the past 20 years, the 145ft Melik has been slowly rusting on the muddy bank of the Blue Nile at Khartoum. But after years of being lobbied for its preservation the Sudanese authorities have now agreed in principle to the establishment of a joint Anglo- Sudanese charity whose task will be to restore the ancient battleship.

“We are hopeful in the next month that we will be able to get this show on the road,” says Anthony Harvey, secretary of the Melik Society…

Ben Macintyre reports from Khartoum, The Times, November 25, 2006.