1860-1899 | Civilians slaughtered | Massacres | Prisoners murdered | Torture

Hundreds of civilians and prisoners tortured and killed at Taitsan

3 May 1863 On 3 May 1863, Chinese imperial troops, under the command of Major Charles Gordon, who was later to become legendary as General Gordon of Khartoum, killed hundreds of civilians and prisoners after they seized control of the city of Taitsan.  Neither Gordon nor the British troops under his command did anything to…

1500-1799 | Flogging | Jamaica | Slavery | Torture

Plantation overseer invents revolting punishment for a slave

28 January 1756 We catch a shocking glimpse of some of the sadistic punishments inflicted on slaves through the journals of Thomas Thistlewood, a plantation overseer in the British colony of Jamaica. He held slaves under his charge in utter contempt. He used many of the women for his own sexual gratification and flogged both…

2000-2009 | Iraq | Renditions | Torture

British forces in Iraq implicated in US rendition and torture of detainees

25 February 2008 On 25 February 2008, former SAS soldier Ben Griffin revealed, during a conference hosted by the Stop the War Coalition, that he had been ordered to detain Iraqis who were then handed over to the Americans to be illegally rendered and subsequently subjected to torture. ‘Throughout my time in Iraq,’ he explained,…

1950-1959 | Cyprus | Torture

British special branch officers waterboard a Cypriot schoolboy

2 February 1959 In 2010, in an interview with journalist Ian Cobain, Cypriot Petros Petrides talked about his horrific treatment when, still a schoolboy, he was detained by British troops in the coastal town of Famagusta on 2 February 1959. Petrides used to climb up on the roofs of the houses to shout slogans in…

1920-1939 | Palestine | Torture

29 DECEMBER

ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN WITNESSES BRUTAL BEATING OF AN ARAB PRISONER [ 29 December 1937 ] On 29 December 1937, David Irving, the Anglican Chaplain for the Palestinian town of Haifa, wrote to Graham Brown, the Bishop of Jerusalem, to alert him of a brutal beating of an Arab prisoner he had witnessed at a British run…

1900-1919 | 1960-1969 | 2010-2019 | Backing dictatorships | Bahrain | Famine | India | Torture | Yemen

12 DECEMBER

FAMINE STRUCK INDIA FORCED TO PAY FOR GEORGE V’S 6,170 DIAMOND CROWN [ 12 December 1911 ] At noon on 12 December 1911, King George V, wearing a robe of imperial purple, was crowned Emperor of India at a ceremony of ‘unparalleled splendour’ in Delhi, at which he received the ‘homage and allegiance’ of the…

1950-1959 | Kenya | Torture

30 SEPTEMBER

MAYOR OF CARDIFF INSISTS THE SWASTIKA FLAG IS FLOWN OVER THE TOWN HALL [ 30 September 1938 ] Today in 1938, the Swastika flag was raised over Cardiff’s Town Hall, where it fluttered alongside the flags of Britain, France and Fascist Italy. The instructions came directly from Tory mayor Oliver Purnell and within hours he…

2000-2009 | Iraq | Torture

21 SEPTEMBER

FATHER OF AN IRAQI PRISONER TOLD HIS SON DIED FROM TORTURE BY BRITISH TROOPS. [ 21 September 2003 ] On 21 September 2003, Dr Ian Hill, an experienced British pathologist, explained to the distressed father of an Iraqi hotel receptionist how his son, Baha Mousa, had died at the hands of British troops. He felt…

1950-1959 | Kenya | Torture

25 JUNE

BRITAIN APPROVES THE ‘DILUTION TECHNIQUE’ OF TORTURE IN KENYA [ 25 June 1957 ] On 25 June 1957, Kenya’s governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, wrote to Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Colonial Secretary, seeking his approval for the ‘dilution technique’ – a method of subjecting detainees to gruesome physical torture without leaving long lasting marks or causing permanent…