1800-1859 | Executions | Pakistan



Suspect mutineers executed at Peshawar on 10 June 1857.
 The Illustrated London News, 3 October 1857, p. 333.
Suspect mutineers executed at Peshawar on 10 June 1857.
The Illustrated London News, 3 October 1857, p. 333.

[ 10 June 1857 ]

On 10 June 1857, Herbert Edwardes, the British political officer at Peshawar, ordered forty captured Indian mutineers to be blown from guns, a method of execution in which the victim was tied to the mouth of a cannon which was then fired. As the body parts were scattered over a wide area, it prevented Hindu and Muslim soldiers from the right of a proper funeral, so effectively extending the punishment beyond death.1

According to a British correspondent, ‘all met their fate with firmness,’ except for ‘two who would not be tied up; so to save them, they were dropped to the ground and their brains blown out by musketry.’ The remaining executions were then carried out ‘in the presence of the whole force, a fearful but necessary example which had struck terror into their souls;’ the reporter adding ‘such a scene I hope never again to witness, human trunks, heads, legs, arms etc flying about in all directions.’2

Twelve marginally more fortunate Indian prisoners, who had been found guilty at a summary general court martial for offences ranging from mutiny to desertion, were spared the fate of cannonading and instead hung from a long row of twelve gallows, erected for the entertainment of what a lieutenant in the Horse Artillery described as ‘a General Parade of the Peshawar Troops… consisting of about 3,000 Europeans and 8,000 natives.’ 3


[ 10 June 1893 ]

Tora prison, on the southern edge of Cairo, is notorious for housing thousands of Egyptian political prisoners in dire conditions. It had a similar reputation under British rule.


[ 10 June 1940 ]

On this evening of 1940, just hours after the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and Italy, anti-Italian mobs attacked shops, restaurants and other businesses owned by families of Italian origin in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast, Newcastle, Manchester and other cities.


  1. Saul David, Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire, Penguin Books, London, 2007, p. 322.
  2.  ‘The Lesson at Peshawar,’ 15 August 1857, The Western Times, 15 August 1857, p. 2 and ‘Execution of Rebels,’ The West Middlesex Herald, 8 August 1857, p. 3.
  3. Lieutenant G. R. Brown in ‘The Mutiny at Peshawar,’ The Illustrated London News, 3 October 1857, p. 333.

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