Initially the 10th Hussars and subsequently the 20th Hussars were involved in the campaign by British forces in Egypt and the Sudan during the period from 1884 to 1889.

Egypt had asked Britain for help to defeat a rebellion by Sudanese nationalists. This threatened the route to India through the Suez Canal which had opened in 1869. The Battle of Tel el Kebir in 1882 had won Great Britain control of Egypt and the Suez Canal. The Prime Minister, Gladstone, made the decision to evacuate all Egyptian forces from Sudan and make a static line of defences on the Sudan-Egypt border. General Gordon was sent to Khartoum to negotiate the evacuation. He was blockaded in Khartoum by forces loyal to the Mahdi, the religious leader of the Sudanese, and killed there in January 1885.