The general was given a hero's welcome in London
General Dyer admitted before the commission that he came to know
about the meeting at Jallianwala Bagh at 1240 hours that
day, but took no steps to prevent it.
Colum, a scholar who interviewed his widow and consulted his
papers, said, "This unexpected gift of fortune, this
unhoped for defiance, this concentration of rebels in an open
space -- it gave him an opportunity as he could not have devised. It
separated the guilty from the innocent, it placed them where he
would have wised them to be -- within the reach of his sword.''
However, General Dyer admitted in his deposition that the gathering
at the Bagh was not a concentration only of rebels, but people who
had covered long distances to participate in the Baisakhi fair.
Swinson, an English journalist, described the scene as: ''Hundreds were asleep in the sun, others were concentrating on their
game of cards. A number of them had come with their children, three
to 12 years old. Some 27,000 odd people had gathered in the Bagh, an
open space surrounded on all sides by houses with only four narrow
General Dyer said he would have used his machine guns if he could
have got them into the enclosure, but these were mounted on armoured
cars. He said he did not stop firing when the crowd began to
disperse because he thought it was his duty to keep firing until
the crowd dispersed, and that a little firing would do no good.
He was censured by the Hunter commission for his action. He
retired and was sent back to England. However, he continued to
maintain that he had done no disservice to
the Raj, and what he did was right, for which the British ought to be thankful.
In London, the general was given a hero's welcome. Called ''the saviour
of India,'' the editor of the Morning Post collected 3,000 pounds to
award him for his services. The Tories and a majority of members
in the House of Lords rallied to his support. The army counsel which
took up the case charged him only for an error of judgement, and
recommended his retirement on half pay with no prospects of further
employment. A British court even exonerated
him of this charge.