10 AUGUST

OUR MORNING’S SALUTATION – ‘REBELS ! TURN OUT YOUR DEAD !’

[ 10 August 1781 ]

During the American Revolutionary War, the British kept so many captive rebels in New York that it became a virtual city of prisons. Thousands were confined in squalid conditions in makeshift jails converted from sugar houses, hospitals and warehouses. 

PUNITIVE R.A.F. BOMBING RAID AGAINST VILLAGERS IN WAZIRISTAN

A Bristol F2 biplane with bombs under the wings – Ian Dunster – CC License – via Wikimedia.

[ 10 August 1922 ]

On 10 August 1922, three two seat Bristol biplanes dropped ‘heavy bombs’ on the Abdelrahem Khel villages in southern Waziristan on India’s North West Frontier. According to a Reuters report, it was described as a punitive operation which was carried out in ‘retaliation for (an) attack on British soldiers’ near Ladha. Evidently, the RAF considered indiscriminate bombing raids on villages a proportionate response.  The report noted that three villagers were killed and two injured, but it did not give their age or gender.  In addition, several houses were destroyed and ‘a large area of crops damaged and a number of cattle killed.’1

EVEN THE LABOUR LEADER ‘TERRIFIED’ OF IRKING AMERICA OVER VIETNAM

Harold Wilson with U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, in March 1964.
Photo – US Federal Government – via Wikimedia.

[ 10 August 1964 ]

Today in 1964, Tony Benn, then a young back bencher, noted in his diary that he went to see Harold Wilson, leader of the opposition Labour Party, at the House of Commons. During their discussion, Benn discovered that ‘on Vietnam we are terrified of saying anything that might upset the Americans’ despite the public outcry in Britain and particularly among Labour Party members over America’s escalating involvement. Wilson helpfully explained that ‘the British Government needs American support against Sukarno, who is attacking Malaysia.’ UK forces were involved in relatively small scale clashes with Indonesian troops along the disputed jungle frontier in Borneo. According to Benn, the Labour leader was ‘particularly anxious not to upset Johnson at this stage.’2 Wilson was doubtless much more afraid of alienating the White House shortly before a general election expected that autumn, than he was for any possible consequences for the sanctity of a border running through the rainforests of Borneo.

FOOTNOTES

  1. ‘Retaliation for Attack on British Soldiers,’ The Aberdeen Daily Journal, 16 August 1922, p. 5.
  2. Tony Benn, Out of the Wilderness: Diaries 1963-67, Hutchinson, London, 1987, p. 135.

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

© 2019 Alisdare Hickson All rights reserved

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