11 July 1882 – At 7 am a British fleet of eight warships began the bombardment of Alexandria, after Egypt’s government refused to accept Britain’s supposed right to oversee and manage the country’s budget, which included huge payments in debt to the Suez Canal Company, in which British prime minister Gladstone himself held shares.  The bombardment lasted for some ten hours, inflicting approximately two thousand casualties in the city, and reducing many streets to rubble.

One naval officer, who formed part of a subsequent landing party, observed that “our gunnery during the bombardment had not been very good, and the town appeared to me to have suffered more from the misses than the hits.”(1)


(1) Quoted in Sir P. Scott (1919), “Fifty Years in the Royal Navy,” London, p47-48.

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