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10 JUNE

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.[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]

FOOTNOTES

  1. Saul David, (2007), “Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire,” Penguin Books, London p322.
  2.  “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

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