1920-1939 | Bombing villages | Pakistan | RAF crimes

14 MAY


Wapiti biplanes c. 1930.
Photo in the public domain via Wikimedia.

[ 14 May 1930 ]

The British suspected that several villages in North Waziristan on India’s remote North West Frontier (near today’s border of Pakistan with Afghanistan) were providing food and shelter to the lashkars. These were groups of armed rebels operating in the mountain valleys. Accordingly, the RAF authorised a punitive operation, which it was hoped would terrorise the villagers into terminating their hospitality. . 

On 14 May 1930, 24 RAF biplane bombers, composed of nineteen Wapitis and five DH9As, dropped a total of ten tons of bombs and incendiaries on several villages in the neighbourhood of Datta Khel. No one seems to have reported the estimated number of casualties, but it was discovered shortly afterwards that, as often happened in an area which was poorly mapped, one of the villages bombed was actually deemed to be ‘friendly,’ but the ‘mistake’ was dismissed by a British official as an ‘error… of little consequence.’1


[ 14 May 1938 ]

It was the most infamous occasion of English sporting deference to the Nazi regime. On 14 May 1938, the England football team gave the Nazi salute in front of a crowd of over one hundred thousand in the German Olympic Stadium.  The most shocking aspect however was not the event, but the press reaction to it. 


  1. Barry Renfrew, Wings of Empire: The Forgotten Wars of the Royal Air Force, 1919-1939, The History Press, Stroud, 2019, p. 207 and ‘All Quiet in Peshawar,’ The Western Daily Press, 16 May 1930, p. 12.

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