1950-1959 | 1970-1979 | Kenya | Northern Ireland

3 APRIL

NO QUARTER GIVEN AS REDCOATS SACK THE INDIAN CITY OF JHANSI

[ 3 April 1858 ]

Today in 1858, Redcoats, under the command of General Hugh Rose, stormed the Indian city of Jhansi, where Lakshmibai, the legendary rani (queen), was leading a rebellion against British rule.  Rose later proudly acknowledged that he had avenged an earlier massacre of British officers and their families a thousand times over, a shameless admission that he had personally ordered the merciless butchery of all the adult male inhabitants.1

KENYA’S BRITISH LED HOME GUARD UNTOUCHABLE AND OUT OF CONTROL

[ 3 April 1953 ]

On 3 April 1953, the British military authorities in Kenya received an intelligence report warning them that the Kenyan Home Guard, on whom they relied to enforce colonial rule across the country, had become a force which was widely considered untouchable and out of control. Their officers were exploiting their virtual license to torture and kill at will to take vengeance on personal enemies. According to the report, the Home Guard were ‘taking advantage of their position…  by accusing their enemies of being members of Mau Mau (a nationalist rebel organisation), having them arrested and stealing their possessions. They (‘well educated Kikuyu’) maintain that it is useless to appeal to Government, as the Home Guard can do no wrong.’2

CATHOLIC FAMILY BOMBED BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT SERVED MEMBERS OF THE SECURITY FORCES IN THEIR SHOP

[ 3 April 1973 ]

Today in 1973, a house belonging to a Catholic family in the town of Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, was bombed. Patrick Devlin and his three children were targeted because, as the convicted bomber, John James Somerville, later confessed, they had refused to accept members of the security forces as customers in their grocery shop.  Fortunately, although the bomb was left on the sill of one of the windows, no one was injured.3

FOOTNOTES.

  1. Mahasweta Devi, The Queen of Jhansi, Calcutta, Seagull, 2000, p. 191 and Mudhsree Mukerjee, Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II, Basic Books, pp xxii-xxiii
  2. See “Witness Statement of Huw Charles Bennett” in Ndiku Mutua and Others V Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Claim No: HQO9X02666 pp. 62-63 https://www.leighday.co.uk/LeighDay/media/LeighDay/documents/Mau%20Mau/Historian%20witness%20statements/Dr-Bennett-3rd-statement-FINAL.pdf?ext=.pdf   p62-63.
  3. Anne Cadwallader, Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland, Mercier Press, Cork, 2013, p. 32.

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