The Waterloo Association: Members Area

WA Winter Lecture No 5- British Conquest of Ceylon and the 1803 Kandy massacre



This talk details the invasion of Ceylon in 1795, by forces of the East India Company and the Crown, to wrest control of the island from the Dutch, who had ‘imbibed the principles of revolutionary France.’ The invasion was successful and relatively bloodless due to the extraordinary change of allegiance by the Swiss mercenary De Meuron Regiment. The subsequent Kandyan war from 1803-1805 against the native inhabitants was a savage affair involving a disputed massacre of 320 unarmed British troops.


David Howell was born in Norwich and joined the Staffordshire Constabulary in 1965, retiring in 2011.He now lives in Leicester. He has written articles for numerous journals on aspects of military history in India and his published books include, ‘War without Pity,’ the Letter Book of Lieut. Col. Valentine Blacker 1798-1813‘The Colonel,’ An Account of the Life of Philip Meadows Taylor, and ‘A Degree of Ferocity,’ a History of the Anglo Maratha Wars 1774-1819. He is currently working on a history of His Majesty’s De Meuron Regiment, 1795-1816.

This event is free for members and £5 for non-members.

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