3 Aug: Storming the Sacred City

Sir Francis Younghusband’s band of British troops reached Lhasa on 3rd August, 1904. Along the way, they’d massacred thousands of bewildered Tibetans – but justified their incursion with the (false) claim that Russia had been manipulating Tibet to gain ground in British India.

Despite the disastrous violence wrought by his men, Younghusband was considered by many back home as an explorer and adventurer – and, later, as a man of peace and friend of Gandhi.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly pore through Younghusband’s private letters to his father; try and explain the 18 pairs of boots and shoes he brought to the Himalayas; and consider his conversion to ‘mysticism’ following the flawed invasion he lead…

Further Reading:

• ‘Sir Francis Younghusband’s 1903 Invasion Of Tibet’ (HistoryExtra, 2017):


• ‘Parshotam Mehra: Beginnings of the Lhasa Expedition: Younghusband’s Own Words’ (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2009): http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/bot/pdf/bot_04_03_02.pdf

• ‘With the Younghusband Tibet Expedition 1903-4: the diary of Lt Harvey Kelly – Christoph Baumer’ (Royal Society for Asian Affairs, 2017):