In 1857, Indian soldiers rose up against their British commanders. They were joined by native rulers and thousands of ordinary people in a struggle that threatened to destroy British colonial power on the Indian subcontinent.
British forces occupied Egypt in 1882 to safeguard the Suez Canal and British financial interests. This led to further intervention in the neighbouring Sudan, where two wars against rebellious Islamic tribesmen were fought in hostile desert conditions.
Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts was one of Britain’s most successful military commanders of the 19th century, winning victories during the Second Afghan War and revitalising the British campaign in the Boer War.
Major-General Sir Robert Sale served in several important campaigns on the Indian subcontinent. He skillfully commanded the besieged garrison at Jalalabad during the First Afghan War, before being killed in action in the First Sikh War.
Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts successfully led troops against Britain in the Boer War. He later commanded the South African Defence Force fighting alongside British soldiers in several First World War campaigns.
The struggle against the Turks in Egypt and Palestine began with a test of endurance and engineering in harsh desert terrain. It evolved into a fast-moving mobile campaign, which resulted in Allied victory and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Throughout the First World War, British Empire soldiers fought a guerrilla campaign against a small German force in East Africa. Led by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the Germans inflicted many casualties and avoided defeat in the field.
During 1914-18, British troops fought the Turks in Mesopotamia. After many setbacks, they finally took Baghdad in March 1917. This marked the high point of a long and tragic campaign fought in a harsh climate.
In February 1916, the Allies finally completed the conquest of Germany’s West African colonies. One of the First World War’s forgotten sideshows, this campaign was fought in hostile terrain and disease-ridden jungles.