Online Collection

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Child's shoe recovered from the well at Cawnpore, 1857

On receiving news that a British force was approaching Cawnpore in July 1857, the Indian rebel leader Nana Sahib ordered a party of sepoys to execute the imprisoned British women and children at the Bibigarh. They were not prepared to commit murder and fired high. Butchers were then called from the city, and together with the Nana's own troops, they finished the job with swords. The victims were then stripped and thrown down a nearby well, from where this shoe was later recovered.

The tale of the massacre, horrible as it was, gained much in the telling, and was used by the British to justify harsh and summary punitive measures during the suppression of the Indian Mutiny (1857-1859).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1963-10-237-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Global Role gallery

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