Punitive operations | 1800-1859 | Collective punishments | Oman

Large areas of Khasab destroyed by British warships

20 APRIL 1930 At 1000 hours on 20 April 1930, HMS Lupin and HMS Cyclamen, two British Arabis class warships opened fire on the town of Khasab, situated on the mountainous coast of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula which juts out into the Straits of Hormuz. The bombardment was focused on a central area of the town…

1900-1919 | Collective punishments | Demolishing villages | Punitive operations | Uncategorized | Yemen

A ‘punitive expedition destroys Kotaibi villages in Yemen

[ 2 November 1903 ] Following an attack by the Kotaibis on a British military outpost at Sulaik in Aden (today part of Yemen), an expedition composed of 600 soldiers of the Royal Hampshire Regiment and the 23rd Bombay Rifles under the command of General Maitland set off in to the hills on 30th October…

1800-1859 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Punitive operations | Sri Lanka

1,100 houses torched – unknown number burned alive at Ruwanwella

[ 13 September 1803 ] On 14 September 1803, Captain W. Pollock of the 51st Regiment of Foot, commanding a punitive military column targeting rebel held areas of Ceylon, reported to Major General Macdowal that the previous day, having found “the enemy had retreated into the interior of their territory, I ordered the Palace and…

1900-1919 | Bombing villages | Collective punishments | Livestock targeted | Pakistan | Punitive operations

Three Waziri villages destroyed – 5600 cattle seized

[ 29 November 1902 ] On 29 November 1902, a Reuters correspondent at Peshawar on India’s North West Frontier reported on ‘a punitive expedition’ against the Kabul Khels, a Waziri ethnic group, for previous raids into British held territory. He boasted that as a result of a four pronged invasion of the area by four columns of…

1900-1919 | Burning towns and cities | Burning villages | Collective punishments | Nigeria | Punitive operations

Reuters – ’15 towns and villages destroyed’ in Nigeria

[ 30 December 1903 ] On 30 December 1903, a Liverpool Reuters correspondent telegraphed the news, arrived by ship from Nigeria, that ‘about fifteen towns and villages’ had been ‘destroyed’ during a two month long British punitive expedition in the south eastern Niger Delta region. The pretext had been the alleged ‘interference with peaceful trade by certain…

1860-1899 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Punitive operations | Sudan

The burning of villages fails to crush Sudanese revolt

[ 27 March 1884 ] In February 1884, General Sir Gerald Graham led an army of over 3,000 troops into north eastern Sudan to crush an anti-British Islamist uprising led by Osman Digna. According to an Associated Press report, on 27 March, after defeating a rebel force several days earlier, the British burned ‘Osman Digna’s villages without…

1900-1919 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Gambia | Livestock targeted | Punitive operations

Two towns burned, crops and livestock seized in punitive operation

[ 26 May 1902 ] On 26 May 1902, Reuters filed a report at Banjul on a British punitive expedition in the Gambia against the Jola, who were described as ‘a wild people in the neighbourhood of the French frontier’ (today marked by the country’s border with Senegal.) It appeared in British newspapers in mid-June under various…

1860-1899 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Gambia | Punitive operations

West India Regiment burns down Gambian town of Gunjur.

[ 9 March 1894 ] At 8 am, Rear Admiral Bedford ordered four British warships to commence the shelling of the coastal stockade and defences in the bush outside the Gambian coastal town of Gunjur, while it was attacked from the land by the First Battalion of the West India Regiment, commanded by Major Madden….

1500-1799 | Burning towns and cities | Collective punishments | Punitive operations | United States


17 OCTOBER 1775 On 6 October 1775, a squadron of Royal Naval ships, commanded by Captain Henry Mowat, sailed from Boston. Vice Admiral Samuel Graves ordered Mowat to discipline coastal towns deemed sympathetic to the American Revolutionary cause, which earlier that year had erupted into a full scale war against the tyranny of British colonial…

1920-1939 | Bombing villages | Civilians slaughtered | Collective punishments | Iraq | Looting and plunder | Punitive operations | RAF crimes


30 November 1923 On 30 November 1923, forty aircraft from five R.A.F. squadrons began round the clock bombing sorties against two villages near the town of Samawah in southern Iraq. The air strikes continued for two days, resulting in the almost total destruction of the villages and a death toll officially estimated at 144 men,…