British Colonial Army crimes in Sinhale (Sri Lanka): Present day preachers were mass murderers

Britain our advice is not to judge Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces by the way your soldiers acted on instructions of the British Colonial Governor. If we thought theses atrocities carried out were only during colonial rule, we have been sadly mistaken as the Bloody Sunday massacre in Ireland in 1972 & the British crimes in Iraq reveal. The question is can the British Government without setting standards & taking punitive action against its own soldiers be allowed to pin blame on other countries & their army? We think not. Put your house in order first, Britain.


Let’s not forget that Britain was never an invited guest. Britain was an invader occupier. What legal right do invader occupiers have to draft Treaties & force natives to sign appeasement to their conditions. Where do we even go to question these illegalities – the law is in their hands as they have written the laws!


Lt. J. Maclaine of 73rd Regiment hung Sinhalese for breakfast

Col.Braybrooke (Assistant Commissioner for Badulla) reported to the House of Commons Committee on Ceylon 1849/50 that he hung Kandyan prisoners without trial and relished watching them being hung while he was having breakfast.


Raid & Destroy Policy (1803) / Scorched Earth Policy

Attacking innocent civilians by indiscriminate killing.


Maj MacDonald was the first to resort to arson in the Badulla district.

To avenge the death of Govt. Agent Wilson, Maj. MacDonald burnt to the ground all peaceful villages near Hausanwella simply because they lived near where Wilson died. He plundered, killed cattle, grain & destroyed their property. He then wrote to the Governor “this act of severity, I trust will not be disapproved” (CO 54/56 – 7th November 1817)


Maj. MacDonald destroys village of Wilbawe killing cattle and every man over 14 years and raped Sinhalese women, scorched houses and destroyed food crops.

This constitutes a war crime & crime against humanity in today’s legal context.


Campbells’ memo

“Soldiers wonder about the value of what they destroyed……..! We were under orders to destroy all coconut trees, all fruit trees and paddy fields. We were also ordered to destroy the bunds of the water reservoirs. This water was essential to them for cultivation. We wondered how long it must have taken for them to build these giant reservoirs and how long it would take them now, without having any engineers or the equipment, to rebuild or repair them.”


1818 Major Forbes memo

“We met so many military patrols who had been dispatched for burning the villages and their property. They were not looking for the enemy. The natives who survived our fire would definitely get perished in sickness and in famine as we had destroyed all their cultivation, lakes and villages.”


  • 1818 diary of Sergeant Calladine
  • “Not a single day passed without burning a village and killing the Chingalese men. We didn’t take prisoners.”
  • British captured wives and children of patriots and held them as ransom until patriots surrendered. These same dirty tactics continue to be repeated.


Kill anyone without trial (1817)

Col. Hook orders Sinhalese to be hung without trial

(Mawatagama Nilame a close relation of the Mahanayake of Asgiriya was hung without trial)


Capt. Fraser, Brownrigg’s personal assistant killed 19 Sinhalese & too 10 prisoners. 7 of them were executed without trial, other 3 forced to work as his guides. The 7 executed Sinhalese were hung on the roadside in Godamunne and the blood of their corpses polluted the nearby river making it unusable to the natives the next morning.


Even London Times on the 7 of Oct. 1818 declared Brownrigg’s brutal “method of conflagration” (a term used by his Gazette) as “dreadful measures”.


Diary of Dr. John Davy (British Army Surgeon) Indiscriminate killing of civilians

“We didn’t manage to kill the enemy. But we killed a lot of villagers. We must have killed at least 10,000 men in the villages”


“When a district rose in rebellion, one or more military posts were established in it; martial law was proclaimed; the dwellings of the resisting inhabitants were burnt; their fruit-trees were often cut down and the country was scored in every direction by small detachments, who were authorized to put to death all who made opposition, or were found with arms in their hands… In candour… it must be remarked that our government was hardly answerable for the irregularities committed on our side…….”


On 9th December 1817 a few Kandyans waylaid a convoy of provisions escorted by Malay soldiers near Tibbottugoda resulting in the British losing both provisions & soldiers. The British suspected Andavala Mohotalla who lived nearby & his property and neighborhood was destroyed, fruit trees were cut down as revenge by the British.


In Madulla the next village, following 5 men being executed and houses of 6 headmen burnt down, the villagers went to hide in the caves. Brownrigg’s General Report on 6th January 1818 describes what happened “having got information of the hiding place of the villagers, it was decided to surprise and seize them the same night. The rebels, as is supposed, to the number of fifty men were in the cave—which being silently approached by our detachment, small divisions, under Lt. L. and sergeant Murray, of 73 regiment were posted in the pathways at each end of the cave, while Capt.C. proceeded with the remainder of his brave soldiers, for the front. The alarm being given within, the inhabitants set up a hideous yell and rushed from the cavern. Twenty of them were killed by our troops and the remainder precipitated themselves down the deep declivity of the mountain, by which they must have severely suffered. In the darkness that prevailed, one woman and child were also killed”. The British soldiers had shot innocent civilians on site in what is today known as ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy.


Diary of Dr. John Davey: Killing of children of Patriots

Dr. John Davey of the British Army declares that by 1821 there were no children of patriotic families in Uva-Wellassa.


Dr. Davey estimated at least 7% of the population of the entire Central province was killed by the British Army.


British Colonial Army rape

“Understanding the British Empire” by Ronald Hyam on Sergeant Calladine


  • “When Calladine’s regiment left Colombo after 25 years in 1820, a great crowd of Sinhalese women saw them off, some of them with 3 or 4 children by the regiment”


Clearly, the British colonial army were taking mistresses. VD can become a serious issue too.

Wellington declared in 1914 that the British Army represented the ‘scum of the earth”

Flexner described the British army as ‘recruited from the adventurous & derelict”


With US exiting UNHRC calling it a cesspit of bias, Britain has decided to step in where US departed by championing the UNHRC Resolutions against Sri Lanka. What moral right does Britain have to speak a word on human rights & rule of law as ample evidence prevails of British crimes in Sinhale during colonial rule. Until & unless these are accounted for, apologized & compensated Britain has no right to be pointing fingers at Sri Lanka.




Shenali D Waduge



You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *