25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
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Amritsar uprising 1919 & the 1/25th London Bn.


The following account of the 1/25th in Amritsar is from the book - '25th County of London Cyclist battalion'.

May 1919  

Before approaching the next phase of the battalion's activities, however, it would be well, perhaps, to review, briefly, the political causes leading up to those incidents which occurred at Amritsar immediately prior to the arrival of the Jullundur and Lahore mixed columns, in the early hours of April 11th, 1919.

Gandhi, the ascetic visionary according to some, but a mixture of subtle hypocrisy and inordinate vanity according to others, at this time seemed to have reached the zenith of his mishandled power. Sikh, Moslem and Hindu alike, among the urban population, were prepared, almost, to deify him; largely as the result of an intensive anti ­British propaganda which had been disseminated by Gandhi's lieutenants, especially in Amritsar . His lightest utterance swept from end to end of the Indian Empire and was construed by each sect in the manner which best suited it. An avowed pacifist, himself, his rhetoric had the effect of stirring up passions he could not control, with the result that, by then, many of the towns of India were in a suppressed ferment, waiting only for a signal to rise and attempt the overthrow of the British Raj.

The moment seemed opportune. The Great War had been over for five months and drafts from most of the white units had already been sent back to England . In addition, the 3rd Afghan War, though not commenced, was threatening and it was known that all the physically fit troops would be required on the Frontier.

It is safe to infer, in fact to a degree it was subsequently proved, that some measure of agreement had been arrived at between the Afghan Government and certain of Gandhi's more bellicose lieutenants. Emissaries were sent from Delhi and the Punjab , early in April, to stir up the Afghan and Frontier tribes.

In the towns of the Central Punjab, the Hindus and a section of the Mohammedan mobs were temporarily allied under the all-embracing banner of sedition, waiting for any excuse to give the lead to the rest of India by setting up, through bloody revolution, the Home Rule for which their professed leader was striving through the slightly more constitutional channels of peaceful passive resistance.

Before passing on to the recital of events, it seems fitting to pay tribute to what is now, unfortunately, only the memory of one who was, in every sense of the word, a man-Brigadier-General R. E. H. Dyer, C.B.- who, as the result of brilliance and courage, doused, by his momentous decision, the rapidly growing flame which, generating from the Amritsar spark of the 10th April, 1919, assuredly was increasing to such a conflagration, throughout the length and breadth of India, as would have made the Mutiny of 1857-terrible though it undoubtedly was-pale into insignificance.

The following detailed official account of the rioting at Amritsar, which was immediately followed by disturbances in nearly every town in the central districts of the Province, shews how serious matters became in a few short hours, and may give some idea of the enormous responsibility which devolved on the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab, Sir Michael O'Dwyer, and even more, if possible, on the various military officers on whose shoulders fell the task of administration, when and where martial law was pro­claimed :­

"Orders having been received (at Amritsar from Sir Michael O'Dwyer) for the arrest and deportation of Doctors Kitchlew and Satya Pal, the Deputy-Commissioner sent for them on the morning of the 10th April to his house, from where they left in motors for Dharmsala at about 10.30 with an escort, in charge of Mr. Rehill, Superintendent of Police. By about 1i a.m. the news of the arrests became known in the city and ardent followers of the deportees went round urging the people to close their shops and assemble in the Aitchison Park , with the intention of pro­ceeding to the Deputy Commissioner's house and demanding their release.

"As it was expected that the arrests of Doctors Kitchlew and Satya Pal would cause a certain amount of excitement, it had been previously arranged that the Officer Commanding the Station would have a force of British infantry and some mounted men from the Ammu­nition Column in the Rambagh with which he was to hold the railway footbridge, the railway overbridge and the hospital level-crossing, while the police lines level crossing was to be held by the police. There was also an armed police reserve of 75 men at the City Kotwali under the orders of Khan Sahib Ahmad Jan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, and the Civil Inspector, besides the men in the four divisions. [In addition to the Khan Sahib, the City Inspector, Ashraf Khan, was at the Kotwali, and from the evidence given before the Hunter Committee it is difficult to decide which one was actually in charge. The former was the senior by service, but the latter seems to have received and acted on such instructions as were given from outside.]

"At about 11.30 a.m. the City Inspector informed Mr. Plomer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, by telephone, that crowds were proceeding to the Aitchison Park . This officer immediately informed the Deputy-Commissioner at the Kutchery, and while there he received a second message to the effect that the mobs were being led by Rattot* and Bugga**, Kitchlew's lieutenants, and intended going to the Deputy-Commissioner's bungalow to demand the release of Kitchlew and Satya Pal. [*Known in 1907 as Rattan Chand, an associate, at Amritsar , of the notorious Ajet Singh, who was deported with Lajpet Rai in that year.] [**Subsequently convicted of taking a leading part in the murder of Europeans on this date.]

" Mr. Plomer immediately galloped to the Rambagh to inform the Officer Commanding Troops (Capt. Massey), who was out posting mounted picquets at the points he was to hold, and eventually he found him at the railway station. Leaving Officer Commanding Troops with his infantry in the Rambagh, Mr. Plomer went on to the Police Lines, where he had a spare armed reserve of 25 men and a few mounted police, with whom he hurried to the railway footbridge and intercepted the mob, which at this point consisted of several thousands and were in possession of the footbridge, the railway lines and the road near Madan's shop. The mounted picquet was stoned by the mob and had fallen back to the cross roads further down and had already fired on the mob, when the police arrived. The mob fell back to the footbridge with the police facing them with bayonets fixed and at the ready position, when some members of the local bar rushed forward and asked Mr. Plomer not to fire and that they would take the mob back to the city. This was agreed to as the infantry was not yet in sight. The mob was induced to retire, and by the time the infantry picquets arrived the footbridge and railway was practically clear of it. The foot and over­bridges were immediately taken over by the military, and the hospital crossing by the police picquet.  In the mean­while a mob had entered the railway goods yard and assaulted Mr. Bennett, the Station Superintendent, who had a very narrow escape. Guard Robinson, who was in the yard, was less fortunate, and was overtaken and beaten to death with lathis.

"Another large crowd attacked the Telegraph Office from two sides, and smashed the telephone switch-board to bits, and destroyed the furniture in the Telegraph Master's quarters. Mr. Pinto, the Telegraph Master, was seized, and was being dragged out of his bedroom in the presence of his wife, when he was rescued by two men of the 54th Sikhs (Mahomadans), a small party of whom had been sent from the railway station to protect the Telegraph Office. About this time Sergeant Rowlands, Electrician, who was on his way on foot to the Municipal Power House, from the fort, was chased, overtaken and beaten to death near the Rego Bridge .

"Another mob of some thousands made a determined attempt to cross into the civil lines by the railway over­bridge, and began stoning the infantry picquet holding it. It was eventually fired on by order of the District Magistrate, dispersed and driven into the city. About this time columns of smoke began to rise inside the city, and it became evident that the mob, thwarted in its attempt to burn and pillage the civil lines, had begun to wreak its vengeance on British banks and Christian buildings inside the city and to murder every Britisher they came across.

"The National Bank of India was attacked, and its Manager, Mr. Stewart, was brutally murdered in one room, and his assistant, Mr. Scott, was done to death in an adjoining one. The office furniture was heaped on the bodies and set on fire. The bank building was set fire to and the store godowns were burst open and their contents (piece-goods) looted.

"The Chartered Bank was then attacked and the furniture and fittings smashed up, but every effort to break open the safe failed. The Manager, Mr. J. W. Thomson, and his assistant, Mr. Ross, were hiding at the top of a staircase and were rescued by a party of police from the Kotwali, which is not more than 5o yards away, the mob bolting on their approach.

"The Alliance Bank was similarly attacked; the mob breaking open the door, rushed upstairs into the office rooms. Mr. G. M. Thomson, the Manager, fired through a crevice in the door and killed one of the rioters. He then ran up the steps to the top of the roof, where he was followed by the mob, who went up by another staircase in the piece-goods market. Driven from the roof, he came down the steps leading to his office, where he was seized, beaten and left for dead. Hearing that he was still alive, the mob rushed up again and finished him off and threw his body into the street below, where they heaped office furniture on it and set fire to it. The bank safe was burst open and the contents, notes and cash, were looted. Mr. Thomson's body was removed later on by the police to the Kotwali.

"The Religious Society's Book Depot and Hall were burnt and the Indian Pastor, the Rev. Jaswant Singh, and his wife, who were living in the upper storey, just managed to escape in time.

"The Town Hall, and the sub-Post Office attached to it, were set on fire and completely gutted, while the sub­Post Offices at the Golden Temple , Majith Mandi and Dhab Basti Ram, were looted.

"The Zenana Hospital was attacked and every effort was made by the mob to find the lady doctor, Mrs. Easdon, who was hiding upstairs. Had she been found she would have most certainly lost her life. Later on she was guided to the house of a police head constable, by whom she was taken out at night to the military picquet at the foot­bridge in a 'Burkha.'

"Miss Sherwood, a mission lady, was caught in the heart of the city while on her way to a girl's school and was beaten with shoes and sticks till she fell down exhausted. She was rescued by some Hindus living in the same quarter and carried to their houses. From there she was taken to Dr. Lamb's hospital by Dr. Balwant Singh, a private practitioner, who took her out of the city the same night to the railway station, whence she was conveyed to the Fort.

"Outside the city the mob set fire to the Indian Christian Church, the bare walls of which only remain standing.

"The Normal Girls' School was attacked, and clothes and books, etc., set on fire inside the building. There were four mission ladies in the buildings, but before harm could befall them, Mr. Marshall, Inspector of Police, arrived with some police and drove off the mob, rescued the ladies, and arrested one of the mob with some loot.

"Further on, the mob cut the railway telegraph wires, damaged the railway line and set fire to a culvert, but was dispersed on the arrival of the Calcutta Down Mail, which had an armed railway police guard on board, who fired on the mob. The dispersal of this mob was the saving of the Waterworks machinery, and the lives of the European engineer and his family, who live on the spot.

"The railway station of Bhagtanwala, on the Tarn Taran line, was burnt down and looted also.

"Fortunately about 2 p.m., a train with 270* Gurkhas on board arrived from Jullundur side. The men were immediately detrained and made use of to protect the railway station and the civil lines from any further attack. [*Evidence points to a misprint in this account. It appears that the number should read 207.]

"Later on in the evening troops arrived from Jullundur and Lahore .

"About midnight a strong force of military entered the city by the Rambagh Gate and Hall Gate, with Mr. Plomer, Deputy-superintendent of Police, as guide, and went as far as the City Kotwali, and returned to military head­quarters at the railway station, bringing back Messrs. Thomson and Ross of the Chartered Bank, Jarman, Municipal Engineer, and Sergeant Parsonage, S. and T. Corps, all of whom had taken refuge at the Kotwali, and also the charred remains of Messrs. Stewart and Scott of the National Bank, and Thomson of the Alliance Bank.

"The European women and children from the civil lines and the cantonment had all been conveyed to the Fort by evening."

About 6 o'clock on the evening of the Loth April, 100 men, drawn from various companies of the Londons at Jullundur Cantonment, were ordered to prepare for an immediate move and to parade, in the meantime, on the guardroom verandah. The march to Jullundur Railway Station was made shortly after 9 o'clock and the whole party, under the command of Major F. A. S. Clarke, D.S.O., London Regiment (attached), had entrained and was on its way to Amritsar by 1 a.m., only to be held up a number of times, just outside its destination, owing to the line having been torn up. An armoured train, manned by members of the Indian Defence Force, drawn from Lahore Railway Depot, repaired the track and piloted the train into the station, some three hours after a similar number of the 2/6th Royal Sussex had arrived from Lahore . Each party had brought a detachment of Indian troops - 100 each of the 2/151st and 59th Rifles with the Londons and 100 1/124th Baluchis with the Sussex . This was 5 a.m. on the morning of the 11th, and, at this time, the only portions of the cantonment in European possession were the railway station and Fort. The Civil Lines had, for the most part, been evacuated and the residents were sheltering at one or other of these two protected points. The sight of these civilians, in the waiting and refreshment rooms at the one and the married quarters and cells of the other, recalled to several of the Territorials-for the Somerset Light Infantry had a few details at the Fort-the words of Kipling in "Tommy."        Two lines from this epic sprang to their minds. The first was:­

- O, it's  Thank you, Mr. Atkins,' when the band begins to play;"

and the other:­

- O, it's 'Please to walk in front, sir,' when there's trouble in the wind."

Directly dawn broke, a column, consisting of the Londons and Sussex contingents accompanied by a few Indian ranks, moved out from the station and dropped picquets to cover each gate of the city, on the cantonment side, to ensure that there should be no recurrence of the previous day's rioting. In most cases, no shade was avail­able for these sentry groups and, but for the loan of a G.S. waggon by the Ammunition Column, the personnel of which completed the white garrison, the distribution of food, from the temporary headquarters at the station, to the widely scattered picquets, would have been impossible. At dusk, the whole force was once more concentrated, in view of the utter impossibility of holding the isolated positions against attack during the night, and slept, so far as it could between mosquito bites, on the dusty road, which runs on the cantonment side of the railway, by the Hall Bridge .

At nine o'clock in the evening of the 11th, Brigadier ­General R. E. H. Dyer, C.B., the Commander of the 45th Brigade which, though headquartered at Jullundur, included Amritsar in its area, arrived to take charge, and under his direction a camp was pitched, the next morning, under very much more pleasant conditions in the Ram Bagh Gardens ­the Ammunition Column and S.L.Is retaining their quarters at the Fort.

The Ram Bagh Gardens are extremely picturesque and beautiful, and for this reason a short account of their origin is not out of place. 

When Maharajah Ranjit Singh assumed control of Amritsar in 1802, a mud fort, once the stronghold of the Bhangian Misl Chief, stood on the site of the present garden. Ranjit Singh ordered this to be demolished and himself drew up the designs for the buildings and surroundings which he wished to see in its place. When completed, the grounds were surrounded by a solid masonry wall some 14 ft. high-this in turn being encircled by a moat. At each of the four comers of the enclosure stood decorative kiosks, and the presence of ramparts, capable of carrying guns, showed that the walls were planned with an eye to use, quite apart from ornament. On the South side, he caused strongly fortified double gates, connected by a bastion, to be erected, and in the middle of the garden built for himself a luxurious two-storied summer palace, in the foundations of which he had underground apartments constructed for use in the hot weather. Nearby was a swimming bath for the use of the ladies of the Royal House­hold, but the Londons looked in vain for this-with which they could well have done.

Small palaces were provided for the minor Rajahs, while the rest of the Court was accommodated over the large double-storied gates in the North, East and West walls.

Ranjit Singh had chosen his position well, as there was a beautiful supply of water which played up through a double row of fountains running up on either side of the main path from the wall to the summer palace. These fountains have long since disappeared and in their place Cyprus trees now flourish. It took 10 years to lay out the garden and erect the buildings, the total cost exceeding 2¼ lakhs of rupees.

How are the mighty fallen; the once closely-guarded enclosure, erected for the pleasure of an Eastern potentate, is now open to the public. The walls are down and the Force, during its occupation of the garden, used the ground floor and basement of the decaying, vegetation-covered summer palace for its S. & T. stores.

At 10 a.m. on the.12th, General Dyer, with his usual vigour, hurried the majority of the Force down to one of the furthest city gates (the Sultanwind Gate), where he and the Police Commissioner, in breaking up a prohibited, and therefore seditious, meeting, which jeered and spat at them, caused a number of arrests to be made. The march was continued immediately, but in a more leisurely style, into the heart of the city itself to the Chief Police Kotwali, which is on the opposite side of the square to the Municipal Buildings. These latter presented a desolate appearance, having been completely gutted, as the result of one of the many fires started by the mob two days before. Nearby, also, could be seen the ruins of the banks, but the per­petrators of the damage were, to a large extent, conspicuous by their absence. This was only the third time that the city had been entered since the trouble began, and further refugees were thus released from the Kotwali. While the troops rested, General Dyer sent for certain of the mal­contents and, not receiving satisfaction, quickly arranged for a large block of buildings to be surrounded. After an exciting chase (during which one of the very zealous troops fired at-but fortunately missed-a man who appeared on one of the roofs and who subsequently proved to be a plain clothes policeman) several arrests were made. The prisoners were immediately handcuffed and marched back with the column to the Ram Bagh Gardens , where they were chained, under a strong Gurkha guard, round a tree in the centre of the camp.

Owing to trouble being anticipated at Lahore , the Sussex contingent returned to that station on the morning of the 13th, leaving the Londons to do the major portion of the very onerous duties at Amritsar. Orders were given that equipment was not to be removed for even a second and, as a result, for many days not so much as a boot-lace was untied, even had any individual found sufficient free time to commence the operation. On the morning of the 13th April, the following proclamation was posted at various parts of the city and was issued by beat of drum under the personal direction of the General himself :­

1. It is hereby proclaimed to all whom it may concern, that no person residing in the city is permitted or allowed to leave the city in his own private or hired conveyance, or on foot, without a pass from one of the following Officers:­

The Deputy Commissioner.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr. Rehill. The Deputy-Commissioner, Mr. Beckett. Mr. Connor, Magistrate.

Mr. Seymour, Magistrate.

Agher Mohammed Hussain, Magistrate.

The Police Officer in charge of the city Kotwali. This will be a special form and pass.

      2. No person residing in Amritsar City is permitted to leave his house after 8 p.m. Any persons found in the streets after 8 p.m. are liable to be shot.

      3. No procession of any kind is permitted to parade the streets in the city or any part of the city or outside of it at any time.

        Any such processions or gatherings of 4 men will be looked upon and treated as an

        unlawful assembly and dispersed by force of arms if necessary.

In his official report to the General Staff 16th (Indian) Division, dated from Dalhousie on the 25th August, 1919, General Dyer states :­

"As my crier proclaimed that, where crowds assembled, they would be fired at, the mob clapped their hands and laughing proclaimed, `This is only bluff and no firing will take place.' At 12.40 p.m., while yet in the city on my way to the Ram Bagh, I was informed that, in spite of my stern proclamation, a big meeting would be held at the Jallianwalla Bagh at 4.30 p.m. that afternoon, when mes­sages from Dr. Kitchlew would be read out."

At 4 p.m. the General, at his headquarters in the Ram Bagh, received a message, from the Superintendent of the Police, to say that a crowd had already assembled and many more were concentrating. Without hesitation, a column, consisting of 25 Rifles of the 1/9th Gurkhas, 25 of the 54th Sikhs (F.F.) and 59th Rifles (F.F.), with 40 Gurkhas armed only with kukris (the special curved knife peculiar to these troops), two armoured cars and picquetting parties, proceeded straight through the city to the meeting ­place - the picquets being dropped at points on the way.

No one was in a better position to describe what followed than the man who, by his action that day, saved India for the Empire:­

"The gathering ... must have received ample warning of my coming and I, personally, had ample time to consider the nature of the painful duty I might be faced with. I passed with my infantry through a narrow lane into the Jallianwalla Bagh and at once deployed them to the right and left of the entrance in the square. The armoured cars remained outside the square and never came into action, as the lane was too narrow to admit them.   I was faced by a dense mass of men, evidently holding a seditious meeting.

In the centre of the square was a raised platform and a man on it was gesticulating and addressing the crowd. The crowd appeared to be a mixed one, consisting of city people and outsiders. I did not see a single woman or child in the assembly. Many villagers were, I understand, induced to come to the Bagh by a promise that their taxes and land revenues would be abolished as the British ‘Raj' was at an end. Evidently those who came believing the British 'Raj' was at an end were themselves not very innocent."

The General pointed out that, to his knowledge, fresh acts of violence had occurred in many places and that unrest had manifested itself in a great many more. Con­tinuing he said :­

"My work that morning in personally conducting the proclamation must be looked upon as one transaction with what had now come to pass. There was no reason to further parley with the mob, evidently they were there to defy the arm of the law. The responsibility was very great. If I fired I must fire with good effect, a small amount of firing would be a criminal act of folly. I had the choice of carrying out a very distasteful and horrible duty or of neglecting to do my duty, of suppressing disorder or becoming responsible for all future blood-shed. We cannot be very brave unless we be possessed of a greater fear.     I had considered the matter from every point of view. My duty and my military instinct told me to fire. My con­science was also clear on that point....

"I fired and continued to fire until the crowd dispersed and I consider this as the least amount of firing which would produce the necessary moral and widespread effect it was my duty to produce, if I was to justify my action. If more troops had been at hand the casualties would have been greater in proportion. It was no longer a question of merely dispersing the crowd: but one of producing a sufficient moral effect, from a military point of view, not only on those who were present but more especially throughout the Punjab . There could be no question of undue severity."

Having proceeded in his report to note that 1,650 rounds had been fired and mentioning that many inhabi­tants had subsequently thanked him and recognised that he had committed a just and merciful act, he stated :­

"I then estimated the crowd to number 5,000, but now learn that there were probably 25,000 to 30,000 collected there, and every man who escaped from the Jallianwalla Bagh was a messenger to tell that law and order had been restored in Amritsar ."

Special precautions were taken at the Ram Bagh, during the night, in case attempts at reprisals should be made, but the firing had obviously had one of its desired effects and everything was perfectly quiet. Another of the immediate results of the stern measures, taken on the previous day, showed itself on the 14th by the shops opening, throughout the city, for the first time in many days.        Everything was now perfectly quiet and the demeanour of the inhabitants of the city subdued. Practically all signs of the marked insolence which had been apparent from the loth to the 13th disappeared and, although there were strict orders that British troops should only move about in groups, it was in fact perfectly safe for individuals to go, singly, almost anywhere (except in the city itself). This simplified matters, as it was necessary, frequently, to break the rule, owing to the vast number of duties to be performed and few men to carry them out-in fact, they could not have been accomplished if parties had been essential. Another startling proof of the efficacy of the action taken at Jallianwalla Bagh was noticeable to three members of the Londons who, on the night of the 13th-14th, a few hours after the shooting, had to proceed, starting at 10 p.m., to Jandiala, a distance of about 15 miles, to pick up and bring in two lady missionaries. The curfew order, by which no one was allowed out of doors after 8 p.m., had come into force and during the 3o-mile return trip not a single individual was seen-sufficient proof that news in India travels rapidly and with certainty.

Not only did General Dyer's drastic action crush what the Government of India, in its proclamation of the same date, describe as "open rebellion" at its source in Amritsar ; it also had immediate results in preventing similar out­breaks, not only at several places in the Punjab, but also throughout the length and breadth of India, where the train had been carefully laid by the revolutionary leaders. It is significant that after the news of the collapse of the Amritsar movement spread, and it became known through­out India in a few days, not another shot had to be fired. The death casualties at Amritsar were 249, but if this rebellion had spread the figures would have run into thousands and the whole fabric of Government, in a sub­continent of 320 million people, would have been shaken. Six years later, when all the circumstances of this Amritsar tragedy were investigated in the impartial atmosphere of a British High Court of justice, the judge and jury found that General Dyer, in the exceptional circumstances with which he was faced, had acted rightly and had been wrongly condemned by the Secretary of State for India. Thus British justice triumphed over political expediency.

On the 16th, the arrival of 3 British Officers and 150 Indian other ranks, of the 52nd Sikhs from Jullundur , relieved the existing garrison of the continuous duties which, up to this time, it had been finding. The city was patrolled and everything remained normal, except that still more troops arrived on the 18th.

On the 21st, General Dyer proceeded by special train, in the morning, with a Movable Column, consisting of l00 Londons, l00 Indian infantry and 20 cavalry, to Gurdaspur, to the north of Amritsar and the headquarters of a district with a million inhabitants, which was reached at mid-day. A move was immediately made to the school, where General Dyer, who was accompanied by the Deputy-Commissioner of Amritsar, Mr. Miles Irving, and the Local Deputy-Com­missioner and Superintendent of Police, addressed the heads of the community, explaining to them that various rumours, which had been circulated, to the effect that the Golden Temple at Amritsar had been bombed, Sikh women and girls outraged and other acts of a like nature committed, were malicious inventions calculated to inflame the popular mind. In addition, the purpose of the column was to show that the Government was still in a position to control matters, while it also gave the G.O.C. an opportunity of speaking strongly to the population and of making sure that the Sikhs would support the Government, in the event of Mohammedan trouble arising from the Turkish Peace terms. The same process was carried out the next day at Dhariwal and Batala, at which latter place the General, after speaking to the local population, convened and addressed a meeting of the lambadars of the neigh­bouring villages. At the conclusion, the column moved back to Amritsar , where it arrived in the early evening.

On the 24th, a similar column, augmented by a section of Royal Field Artillery and accompanied, in addition to the Deputy Commissioner, by a most influential and powerful Sikh Priest, Mahant Siri Kirpa Singh of Guru Sat Sultana, moved out to China Bugga, halting on the way at Raja Sansee, where a durbar was held. After this had been addressed, the column resumed its march and arrived at its destination by three in the afternoon, moving at q o'clock the next morning to Atari, where another large meeting was held in the afternoon. Before returning to Amritsar , at one o'clock on the 26th, names of many men implicated in the burning of Wagah Station and of other acts of violence, who were found at Atari, itself, in posses­sion of properties stolen from the banks at Amritsar , were obtained.

On the 27th the headquarters of the battalion arrived at Amritsar from Jullundur, of which station Lt.-Col. B. M. Hynes had been in charge. [The situation at Jullundur , during those critical days, was not without anxiety. Owing to the firm measures adopted by the Commissioner, Mr. Burton, and Mr. D. Donald, the District Inspector of Police, there was, however, no outbreak.] The question of obtaining something more permanent in the way of accommodation than that offered by the very beautiful Ram Bagh gardens, was solved by billeting the various companies in different large buildings on the outskirts of the cantonment, on the city side. An order was in force commandeering every means of transport and all the tongas, tumtums and gharries (the equivalent of the hackney carriage), had to report at a parking place every morning, from whence they were detailed for duty at the various offices and billets. As a result of this, most duties which required movement, including those performed by the second Movable Column, were carried out in an almost sumptuous style by means of these conveyances, and such duties as Adjutant's Orderly, and the like, were assiduously sought after. All the electric  fans were also commandeered and fitted, in most cases, on the ceilings of the sleeping quarters, and so close were these, frequently, that the blades only missed touching each other by a hair's breadth. As usual, the General looked to the comfort of the men under his command, and at Amritsar the Londons certainly had no reason to grumble on this score, even though the duties were stiff. Everything remained quiet and the battalion was settling down, when it was again mobilised for service on the Frontier on the 23rd May.


From 'The London Cycle Battalion'


 
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