1860-1899 | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | South Africa | Wounded killed

Battle of Kambula – ‘terrible execution’ as ‘no quarter was shown.’

29 March 1879 On 29 March 1879, British cavalry and troops massacred hundreds of fleeing and wounded Zulu warriors after the Battle of Kambula. The Zulus had been fighting to defend their homeland from a British invasion and despite facing an enemy who was far better equipped, they launched a desperate frontal assault up a…

1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Burning towns and cities | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | United States


6 September 1781 In the late eighteenth century, New London was a small port at the mouth of the river Thames on the Connecticut coast connecting American agricultural communities with the outside world. During the American Revolutionary War, the rebels used it as a base to attack British naval vessels and their supply ships, but…

1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Burning towns and cities | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | United States | Wounded killed


28 September 1778 During the American Revolutionary War, many British officers did not consider those ‘damn’d American rebels’, as they called recruits of George Washington’s Continental Army, to be entitled to the rights normally accorded to combatants in conflict. Major General Charles Grey was among those more committed to unforgiving cutthroat tactics, leading operations in…

1500-1799 | Civilians slaughtered | Massacres | Prisoners murdered


26 July 1575 Rathlin Island forms a rugged rocky L-shape six miles long, lying just off the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. By the mid 1570s, Walter Devereux, the first Earl of Essex and a rising star in the Elizbethan court, was increasingly frustrated by Scottish sailors and soldiers using Rathlin as a base from…

1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Burning villages | Civilians slaughtered | Collective punishments | Prisoners murdered | Punitive operations | Scotland | Wounded killed


16 APRIL 1746 During the autumn of 1745, Jacobite rebels, led by ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie,’ and desiring to replace the Hanoverian king George II with the prince’s catholic father, James Stuart, marched on London, reaching as far south as Derby before they retreated to Scotland. The rebellion was motivated by a range of complex issues,…

1950-1959 | Crimes against women | Kenya | Prisoners murdered | Rape | Torture

Officer in Kenya’s colonial police complains of a culture of covering up abuses and torture

23 December 1954 Duncan McPherson, Assistant Commissioner of Kenya’s colonial police, was a rare exception to the norm of complete British indifference to the suffering of ordinary Kenyans. Britain was then engaged in a brutal campaign to crush the Mau Mau insurgency, which aimed to bring an end to colonial rule. Thousands were detained in…

1940-1949 | Burning villages | Civilians slaughtered | Malaysia | Prisoners murdered

British troops murder 24 unarmed civilians in Malaya

12 December 1948 On 12 December 1948, British troops executed 24 unarmed labourers, after separating them from the women and children at a Malayan rubber plantation at Sungai Rimoh, near the small town of Batang Kali. The men were subjected to mock executions before being herded into a hut where they were shot down with automatic…

1800-1859 | Civilians slaughtered | India | Looting and plunder | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | Wounded killed

At least one thousand slaughtered as British troops sack Delhi

20 September 1857 Today in 1857, after a week of fierce street fighting, British troops under General Sir Archdale Wilson finally obtained the surrender of the remaining pockets of Indian Mutineers still holding out in the city.  Much of the city had already been sacked and many murdered in their homes [see 13 September 1857]….

1500-1799 | Battlefield butchery | Civilians slaughtered | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | Wounded killed

Cromwell massacres thousands of soldiers and civilians at Drogheda

11 September 1649 Historian Micheál Ó Siochrú, in his book God’s Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland, writes that ‘the storming of Drogheda (by British parliamentary forces) on 11 September shocked contemporary opinion and established Cromwell’s reputation for cruelty and savagery, which has persisted until the present day.’1 Although now forgotten by most people in…

1860-1899 | Battlefield butchery | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | Sudan | Wounded killed

Shoot the prisoners and the wounded !

2 September 1892 On 2 September 1892, the army of the Mahdi, a Sudanese religious leader,  was massacred by a British force, under General Kitchener, at the so called battle of Omdurman. About sixteen thousand Dervishes were killed for the loss of just 48 of Kitchener’s men.  British soldiers were then ordered to shoot the…