FORTY INDIAN MUTINEERS BLOWN FROM GUNS
[ 10 June 1857 ]
On this day in 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 even from the right of a proper funeral, so effectively extending the punishment beyond death.
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.”
- Saul David, (2007), “Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire,” Penguin Books, London p322.
- “The Lesson at Peshawar,” 15 August 1857, The Western Times, 15 August 1857, p2 and “”Execution of Rebels,” The West Middlesex Herald, 8 August 1857, p3