Evacuation from Kabul

This 1970 painting by Brian Withams depicts the sudden evacuation of the British legation in Kabul back to India during the 1928/29 Afghan Civil War. It also shows the hopes of using airpower to police the furthest boundaries of Empire. The fact that a fleet of aircraft was used to fly over the Himalayas shows how the newly formed RAF wanted to become the policemen and firefighters of the Empire on a truly global scale and sought to usurp the role played by the Royal Navy in the 20th Century. Unfortunately, the use of these modern weapons was just as likely to stir the passions of the rising Fascist nations found in Europe who were even more thrilled by what could be achieved by new technology.

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by Stephen Luscombe