The Info List - Pink's War

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Pink's War
Pink's War
was an air-to-ground bombardment and strafing campaign carried out by the Royal Air Force, under the command of Wing Commander Richard Pink, against the mountain strongholds of Mahsud tribesmen in South Waziristan
South Waziristan
in March and April 1925.[2]


1 Background 2 Operations 3 Honours 4 See also 5 References 6 Further reading 7 External links

Background[edit] Main article: Waziristan
campaign (1919–1920) The defence of the North-West Frontier Province was an important task for British India. In the 1920s, the British were engaged in a continuing effort to defend British Indian Army
British Indian Army
bases against raids from militant tribesmen in the province. In July 1924 the British mounted operations against several of the Mahsud tribes in southern Waziristan
and by October they had mostly been subdued. Only the Abdur Rahman Khel tribe and three other supporting tribes continued to attack army posts.[3] Operations[edit]

A pair of Bristol F.2B Fighters, one of the types of aircraft used in the operation

After the successful use of aerial bombardment in the Fifth Expedition of Somaliland campaign in 1920, the fledgling RAF was keen to further establish its military credentials. British forces had conducted operations against Mahsud tribes in Waziristan
from July 1924, leaving only the Abdur Rahman Khel tribe and a few other tribes still engaged in activity by October 1924. The air officer commanding in India, Sir Edward Ellington, made the unprecedented decision to conduct air operations against the tribesmen without the support of the army. No. 2 (India) Wing, under the command of Wing Commander Richard Pink
Richard Pink
at Risalpur, was assigned to conduct the operation.[3] Bristol F.2B Fighters of No. 5 Squadron were deployed to the operational headquarters at Tank airstrip, with de Havilland DH.9As from 27 and 60 squadrons deployed to a forward operating base at Miranshah.[3] Operations commenced on 9 March 1925,[4] and following an initial sortie to drop warning leaflets on the targeted areas, the RAF squadrons strafed tribal mountain strongholds in a successful attempt to crush the rebellion.[3][2] Operations focused on causing disruption to day-to-day activities for the militant tribes, as well as preventing access to safe havens; sorties were flown at night as well as during the day, in order to cause further disruption.[3] On 1 May 1925, after just over 50 days of bombing, the tribal leaders sought peace to end the bombing, bringing the short campaign to a close.[2] Only two British lives and one aircraft were lost during the campaign; Mahsud casualties are not known.[2][3] Pink's War
Pink's War
was the first air action of the RAF carried out independent of the British Army or Royal Navy.[2] Honours[edit] After the campaign was over, the India General Service Medal with the Waziristan
1925 bar was awarded to the 46 officers and 214 men of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
who took part in Pink's War. It was by far the rarest bar given with an India General Service Medal and was only awarded after the then Chief of the Air Staff Sir John Salmond
John Salmond
succeeded in overturning the War Office
War Office
decision not to grant a medal for the campaign.[5] The campaign's commander, Wing Commander Pink, received speedy promotion to group captain "in recognition of his services in the field of Waziristan".[1][6][7] For distinguished service during Pink's War, Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader
Arthur John Capel was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded to flight lieutenants John Baker and William Cumming, and Flying Officer
Flying Officer
Reginald Pyne, and the Distinguished Flying Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
was given to sergeant pilots George Campbell and Ralph Hawkins, Sergeant Arthur Rutherford, Corporal
Reginald Robins, and Leading Aircraftman Alfred Walmsley.[8] A further 14 men were mentioned in despatches, including flying officers Edward Dashwood and Noel Hayter-Hames, who both lost their lives in the campaign.[8] See also[edit]

Bacha Khan Mirzali Khan Mullah Powindah


^ a b "Air Commodore R C M Pink". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007.  ^ a b c d e " Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
History – RAF History Timeline 1918 to 1929". Royal Air Force. 2003. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2007.  ^ a b c d e f Smith, Richard. "Pink, Richard Charles Montagu (1888–1932)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 15 May 2013.  ^ Delve, Ken (1994). The Source Book of the RAF. Airlife Publishing Ltd. p. 283. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.  ^ Laffin, John (1964). Swifter than Eagles. A biography of Marshal of the RAF Sir John Salmond. William Blackwood & Sons Ltd. pp. 207–208.  ^ "New Year Honours, Royal Air Force". London Gazette. Retrieved 8 May 2013.  ^ "No. 33119". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 29 December 1925. p. 10.  ^ a b "No. 33104". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 20 November 1925. pp. 7595–7601. 

Further reading[edit]

Bowyer, Chaz (1988). "Chapter Eight: Pink's War". RAF Operations 1918–1938. London: William Kimber. ISBN 0-7183-0671-6.  Air Power Review – Volume 13 Number 3 Autumn/Winter 2010 – Pink’s War – Applying the Principles of Air Control to Waziristan – Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Roe

External links[edit]

The Small Wars at the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
official website

v t e

Pink's War
Pink's War

Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force

Commanding Officers

Wing Commander Richard Pink Air Vice-Marshal Sir Edward Ellington


No. 5 Squadron No. 27 Squadron No. 60 Squadron


Bristol F.2 Fighter Airco DH.9A

Key locations

Waziristan: Tank Miranshah Jandola

Awards and commendations

Distinguished Service Order:

Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader
Arthur John Capel

Distinguished Flying Cross:

Flight Lieutenant John Baker Flight Lieutenant William Cumming Flying Officer
Flying Officer
Reginald Pyne

Distinguished Flying Medal:

Pilot George Campbell Sergeant
Pilot Ralph Hawkins Sergeant
Arthur Rutherford Corporal
Reginald Robins Leading Aircraftman
Leading Aircraftman
Alfred Walmsley

Mentioned in Despatches:

Wing Commander Richard Pink Flying Officer
Flying Officer
Edward Dashwood Flying Officer