25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment


Amritsar uprising 1919


The Amrtisar Massacre and the 1/25th Londons involvement.
 
Faced with insurrection in support of Mahatma Gandhi, the British Army declared martial law. Violent rioting in Amritsar brought the Brigadier-General Dyer to take astonishing action, including the shooting of over several hundred unarmed people at a public meeting. This killing of unarmed Indian protesters in the Punjab city of Amritsar, and the degrading martial law which followed, is one of the most ignominious episodes in the history of British imperial rule. Graphically recaptured in the film Gandhi, the massacre fuelled post-war Indian (especially Muslim) resentment at British control, and paved the way for the growth of support for Gandhi's independence movement.[1]
 
The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar Massacre, was named after the Jallianwala Bagh (Garden) in the northern Indian city of Amritsar where, on April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired, or 33 rounds per soldier. Official British Raj sources placed the fatalities at 379. According to private sources there were over 1000 deaths, with more than 2000 wounded, and Civil Surgeon Dr. Smith indicated that there were 1,526 casualties.[2]
 
The composition of the special force that day, one carefully chosen by Dyer, is significant. It had no British soldiers, and most of its Indian troops nationalities foreign to India or recruited from its fringes. A local businessman, Girdhari Lal, stated that he saw the force leave Ram Bagh, and describes them as Gurkhas and 'Baluchees'.[3]
 
Whilst a contingent of 100 from the 1/25th London Bn. were deployed as part of the general force to put down the uprising, as can be seen from the above, they were not involved in the subsequent massacre. I am sure that the descendants and families of the Londons are, like myself, relieved to know this. However Sgt. Anderson did witness the massacre as he was one of General Dyer's bodyguards, and was present with the General.

See the full 1/25th Londons account from the book :- '25th County of London Cyclist battalion'.

See further photos of the uprising taken by an unidentified soldier.

Further reading on the Amritsar uprising, massacre, historical background, and subsequent enquiries, can be found in numerous publications.
- There is a good page on Wikipedia.
- '
The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer' by Nigel A. Collett.
- 'The Amritsar Massacre' by Alfred Draper.
- Books available from Bookfinder & Amazon.

One of the punitive measures taken by Dyer was the infamous "Crawling Order", where Indians were forced to crawl along the lane where Miss Sherwood had been attacked by the rioters.

 

 

(Photo)[4]
Soldiers of the 25th London enforcing the 'Crawling Order'.

Source acknowledgments :-
1.  Amazon.co.uk -  review by Miles Taylor
2.  Wikipedia - Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
3.  'The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer' by Nigel A. Collett.
4. 
National Army Museum


  

Copyright Simon Parker-Galbreath - Please acknowledge these web pages, & the original source, or email me for permission to reproduce items (normally given) :-