19 JUNE

BRITISH TROOPS USE PRICELESS ANTIQUE BOOKS AS TOILET PAPER

Shanghai from the Huangpu River c. 1850 –
Vallejo Gallery via Wikimedia.

[ 19 June 1842 ]

Today in 1842, a British army of 10,000 men, under the command of Major General Hugh Gough, seized Shanghai. His Redcoats looted shops, destroyed all the public buildings and used the books from Shanghai’s libraries variously as toilet paper or as fuel for their cooking fires.1  When reports of this city’s capture reached Britain, there was jubilation that the great port could now, as several newspapers explained, ‘be thrown open to British merchants’ and the people ‘free’ once more to buy British opium.2

IRISH VILLAGE ALMOST TOTALLY DESTROYED BY CROWN FORCES

[ 19 June 1920 ]

In the early hours of 19 June 1920, British ‘Black and Tans,’ a paramilitary force comprised mainly of former soldiers, set fire to the village of Knockcroghery in Country Roscommon in central Ireland. It was a calculated act of collective punishment, as British intelligence wrongly believed that some of the villagers were linked with the assassination of Brigadier General Thomas Lambert two days earlier.

BRITISH INTRODUCE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN MALAYA – THOUSANDS DETAINED

Sir Edward Gent in 1948 –
 The National Archives UK via Flickr
.

[ 19 June 1948 ]

On 19 June 1948, Sir Edward Gent, the High Commissioner for Malaya, introduced a state of emergency across the country to crush protests and a growing insurgency against continued British rule. Within days, over six hundred individuals had been thrown in jail including many communists, socialists and trade union leaders. The number of those detained without trial continued to rise, and by 1957, when Malaysia finally attained its independence, 34,000 people had been incarcerated despite not being convicted of any crime.3

FOOTNOTES

  1. Robert Bickers, The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914, Penguin Books, London, 2012, p83 and ‘China,’ The London Evening Standard, 7 November 1842, p. 4
  2. ‘Submission of China – Glorious Successes,’ Bell’s Weekly Messenger, 28 November 1942, p382, ‘China,’ The Globe, 22 November 1842 p2, ‘Peace with China,’ The Yorkshire Gazette, 26 November 1842, p2 and Editorial, The Hampshire Advertiser, 26 November 1842, p. 2
  3. John Newsinger, British Counterinsurgency, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2015, pp. 42-43 and 47.

Please feel welcome to post comments below.  If you have any questions please email alisdare@gmail.com

© 2020 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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