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Pink's War
Pink's War map.png
Map of the area of operations
Date9 March 1925 (1925-03-09)–1 May 1925 (1925-05-01)
LocationSouth Waziristan
Result Tribal leaders accept terms
RAF aircraft of No. 2 (Indian) Wing[1] Mahsud tribesmen
Commanders and leaders
Wing Commander Richard Pink Not known
Three aircraft squadrons Four tribes
Casualties and losses
Two personnel killed and one aircraft lost Not known

Pink's War was an air to ground bombardment and strafing 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 in March and April 1925.[2]


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 pacify 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 British Indian Army posts.[3]


The fledgling RAF was keen to establish its military credentials and 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.[3]

Bristol Fighters and de Havilland DH.9As from Nos. 5, 27 and 60 squadrons were deployed to the airstrips at Miranshah and Tank.[3] Operations commenced on 9 March 1925[4] and the RAF squadrons strafed tribal mountain strongholds in a successful attempt to crush the rebellion.[2]

On 1 May 1925, the tribal leaders sought an honourable peace bringing the short campaign to a close.[2] Only two British lives and one aircraft were lost during the campaign.[2][3] Pink's War was the first air action of the RAF carried out independently of the Army or Navy.[2]


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 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 succeeded in overturning the 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 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 Reginald Pyne, and the 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

  • Bacha Khan
  • Faqir of Ipi
  • Mullah Powindah
  • Mullah Shasleem kaka


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Air Commodore R C M Pink". Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation. 17 June 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Royal Air Force History – RAF History Timeline 1918 to 1929". Royal Air Force. 2003. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Smith, Richard. "Pink, Richard Charles Montagu (1888–1932)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 15 May 2013. 
  4. Delve, Ken (1994). The Source Book of the RAF. Airlife Publishing Ltd. pp. 283. ISBN 1-85310-451-5. 
  5. Laffin, John (1964). Swifter than Eagles. A biography of Marshal of the RAF Sir John Salmond. William Blackwood & Sons Ltd. pp. 207–208. 
  6. "New Year Honours, Royal Air Force". London Gazette. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  7. "No. 33119". 29 December 1925. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "No. 33104". 20 November 1925. 

Further reading

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