FORTY INDIAN MUTINEERS BLOWN FROM GUNS
[ 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
39 EGYPTIAN CONVICTS SHOT DEAD
[ 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.
PROPAGANDA AND RELIGIOUS HATRED PROVOKE ANTI-ITALIAN RIOTS
[ 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.
- Saul David, Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire, Penguin Books, London, 2007, p. 322.
- ‘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.
- Lieutenant G. R. Brown in ‘The Mutiny at Peshawar,’ The Illustrated London News, 3 October 1857, p. 333.
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