Statement by Thomas Hamilton White



Statement by Thomas Hamilton White


Thomas' explanation of the events.


Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage





Two typed sheets


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SPeckPJ164710v10008-0001, SPeckPJ164710v10008-0002


I am normally employed with M.C. Section at Kharagpur. I was with that section for about 10 months. On the 3rd of August 1946, whilst still employed with this section I had occasion to deive [sic] F/Sgt Mitchell of the same section to Salboni. It was about 12.30 P.M. when I arrived at Salboni. As the F/Sgt was detained there I returned to Kharagpur to my section. When about half a mile from Salboni camp I was pulled up by A.C.1 Callaghan who requested a lift to Kharagpur railway Station. A.C.1 Callagahan [sic] got into the cab with me and we proceeded towards Kharagpur. At about 2 P.M. and when we were about three miled [sic] from Kharagpur I came up to a truck which was stationary but in the middle of the road blocking the way. I pulled up and shouted out to ask what was the matter. I saw there were three Indian civilians round the bonnet of the stationary truck. One shouted back to me something od thich [sic] I understood the words petrol and carburetter. [sic] I was in a hurry to get to my section H.Q. and so I asked in the best way I could to make them understand me to push the truck on to the side of the road and allow me to get by. One of the three civilians whom I knew to be Khartar Singh and a Sikh came up to where I was sitting in the cab of my truck gestulating [sic] with his arms and shouting. This surprised me for this Sikh’s actions and his tone of voice were obviously aggressive. I spoke to him in English telling him that I [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] wanted to get by. He then called me a sewer ka butcha and although I did not know the exact meaning of this phrase I do know it’s a bad expression. I in return called him a munki chute and again although I did not know its exact meaning, it seemed to infuriate the Sikh still more so much so that he struck at me with his clenched fist which grazed by chin. I then made a movement as if to get out of the cab at which the Sikh moved of [sic] to his own vehicle shouting. One of the other civilians got a starting handle from the front of the stationary truck and handed it to the Sikh. The Sikh then rushed to my side of the cab again brandishing this starting handle in a threatening manner. On arriving at where I was sitting he struck at me with this starting handle. I drew back and the blow landed on the cab door smashing the door handle. At this the Sikh jumped back a pace and looked surprised at what he had done. As he moved away I let in my clutch and moved off slowly between the stationary truck and the edge of a deep ditch at the left side of the road. My engine had been running throughout the incident. I continued then to Kharagpur railway station dropped A.C.1 Callaghan, parked my lorry and reported to the R.T.O’S Office for duty.
For the last few days prior to this incident I had been suffering with a boil on my left forearm and on the day of this incident after I had completed my duty at the railway station I went to keep an appointment at the C.M.N. Midnapore to get my arm dressed. I intended to get a bottle of medicine from the bazaar while on my way to Midnapore. On my way to the bazaar I saw a stationary lorry on the left side of the road, and as I approached it someone dressed like an Indian waved me down. I passed the [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] truck and pulled into the left of the road in front of the stationary truck and stopped. The distance between the two vehicles would be about 12 yards. I jumped out of my cab leaving the cab door open, with the good intention of going to [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] be of what assistance I could with the stationary vehicle as I assumed it must be broken down for the civilian to have waved me to stop.
I think the recognition of the Sikh of the previous incident by myself and his recognition of me was both mutual and instantaneous. This Sikh immediately he recognized me went to his cab and pulled out an object which I recognized as a starting handle. He again ran toward me shouting and gestulating [sic] and brandishing this starting handle in a threatening manner. As I was on the ground I realized that if this Sikh struck me with the staring handle he would do me [deleted] [indecipherable word] [/deleted] serious and grievous bodily harm and since on a previous occasion about two hours
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earlier this same Sikh had struck at me with what appeared to be the same starting handle I naturally had great apprehension that I was likely to come to some injury.
I am armed with a Smith & Weston [sic] pistol revolver of .38 calibre as my personal weapon which is entered in my Air Force India from 667/B and I normally carry this pistol about with me when on duty. On this particular occasion this pistol was under my drifing [sic] seat. It was at this time loaded I was standing near the cab door when the Sikh began to run towards me. I reached inside the cab and pulled out the pistol since I had no other means at hand to protect myself against this sudden attack. I brandished the pistol thinking the Sikh would think better of attacking me and go away. However, he continued towards me and so that he could see my pistol I advance towards him. When I had reached the rear of my truck the Sikh still came on. He was about three to four yards from me by now and still realising that I would be seriously injured should the Sikh strike me I fired my pistol to pull him up. I fired about a yard or more from his feet at the gravel and to his left side. I saw the bullets were going into the soft earth on the side of the road. I was firing in an oblique line across the Sikh’s front. I fired six shots in rapid succession in about five seconds and although the firing halted the Sikh he still stood there brandishing the starting handle in a threatening attitude until I fired the sixth shot when he turned round and ran away to the rear of his own lorry. Being familiar with pistol firing, it came as an automatic action for me to unload the pistol which I did letting the empties fallt o [sic] the ground. I did not stop to pick up the empty cartridges but jumped on to my vehicle and returned immediately to the R.T.O’s Office where I reported the incident to F/Sgt Mitchell who had in the meantime returned from Salboni. This F/Sgt, was my immediate superior and is in charge of that M.C. Section.
While the incident was taking place I saw that one Indian civilian was in the driving cab of the stationary lorry. A third Indian civilian with this party I saw standing by the side of the lorry while the shooting was taking place.


Thomas White, “Statement by Thomas Hamilton White,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 1, 2023,

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