Churchill and the Siege of Malakand, Swat, Pakistan


The rivalry between the  British  and the  and the Russian empires  named the ” Great Game”    centred on Afghanistan during the late 19th century. From the British perspective, Russian expansion threatened to destroy the so-called “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire, India

The siege of British garrison took place at Malakand fort for 6 days in 1897 by Pashtun tribesmen,angered  that their tribal lands had been bisected by the Durand Line . The siege was broken when a relief column was sent from British positions in the south  of Malakand.

Accompanying this relief force was  a  second lieutenant and war correspondent called Winston Churchill. The siege of Malakand was Winston Churchill’s first experience of actual combat, which he later described in several columns for The Daily Telegraph  paid £ 5 per column.  These articles were eventually compiled into his first published book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force, beginning his career as a writer and politician. This photograph is the outpost at Malakand where Churchill first witnessed action in battle.




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