Mutiny aboard the Highland Chieftain troopship 1943.

#1
Hello there just researching the Dorsets in Burma and keep coming across reference to this, apparently a mutiny over food however google fails to turn up anything else.

So does arrse now anymore or have a link to it? Im particuarly interested in the consequences.

Thanks for the Help
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
RustyH said:
Hello there just researching the Dorsets in Burma and keep coming across reference to this, apparently a mutiny over food however google fails to turn up anything else.

So does arrse now anymore or have a link to it? Im particuarly interested in the consequences.

Thanks for the Help
I remember watching a Timewatch or something on this seems there were a couple of 'Mutinys' at the end of the war by men impatient to be home

I think one was by an Army unit which was susequently broken up and posted throughout 8th Army
Also the RAF had a few down tools moments at the end of the war

Found this
http://www.socialisthistorysociety.co.uk/RAF04.HTM
http://www.socialisthistorysociety.co.uk/RAF06.HTM

In the middle of January, 1946, the British authorities, who had always feared the possibility of revolt in their Indian units, were shocked by a mutiny amongst the British" - Michael Edwardes

Only in 1946 did a series of mutinies have the effect of galvanising the British government. The first of these incidents, involving RAF servicemen enraged by delays in demobilisation and repatriation, was, in a sense, the most shocking. But units of the Indian Air Force were the next to mutiny, and much worse was to follow". - Denis Judd


Men in the forces are trained to obey. Parades, kit inspections, saluting, polishing boots and buttons may have other justifications, but all are used to accustom men to instant obedience to the orders of their superiors. How, then, could twelve hundred RAF personnel at Drigh Road in January, 1946, come to defy their commanding officer and take part in what was technically a mutiny?
 
#3
There was a mutiny on a troopship (or centred around a troop ship) bound for Italy.

Fortunantely there was a sensible officer on scene who no doubt realised that the lad´s were a bit "bomb happy". None got shot.

I´ll dig up some info.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
chocolate_frog said:
There was a mutiny on a troopship (or centred around a troop ship) bound for Italy.

Fortunantely there was a sensible officer on scene who no doubt realised that the lad´s were a bit "bomb happy". None got shot.

I´ll dig up some info.
I think that's the one I'm refering to
IIRC it was either

They were being broken up as a unit to be spread about the 8th Army
Or they were broken up as a unit as punishment

I think it came about because they had been at the sharp end for a couple of years and were expecting to withdraw and refit and then got shipped to Italy for the invasion

Was it a Jock Regiment?
 
#5
Is this the one you were thinking of?

Quote from Wikipedia:

"The Salerno Mutiny was a mutiny by about 600 men of the British X Corps, who on September 16, 1943 refused assignment to new units as replacements during the Allied invasion of Italy.

It was, specifically, men from the British 51st Highland Division and the 50th Northumbrian Division, including some veterans of the war in North Africa. About 1500 of them had sailed from Tripoli, on the understanding that they were to join the rest of their units, based in Sicily. Instead, once aboard ship, they were told that they were being taken to Salerno, to join the 46th Division, fighting as part of Lieut.-General Mark Clark's U.S. Fifth Army. Many of the soldiers felt they had been deliberately misled.

Matters were made worse by the total lack of organisation when they reached Salerno, leaving them angry and frustrated. Most of the soldiers, a thousand or so fresh recruits, were taken off to join new units, leaving 500 veterans, 300 of whom were moved to a nearby field. They were still there by 20 September, refusing postings to unfamiliar units. They were addressed by the commander of X Corps, Lieut.-General Richard McCreery, who admitted that a mistake had been made, and promised that they would rejoin their old units once Salerno was secure. The men were also warned of the consequences of mutiny in wartime.

Of the three hundred in the field, 108 decided to follow orders, leaving a hard core of 192. They were all charged with mutiny under the Army Act, the largest number of men accused at any one time in all of British military history. The accused were shipped to Algeria, where the courts-martial opened towards the end of October. All were found guilty, and three sergeants were sentenced to death. The sentences were subsequently suspended, though the men faced constant harassment for the rest of their military careers."

The entry references the book "Mutiny at Salerno: An Injustice Exposed", by Saul David. I got it from the NAAFI at JHQ a couple of years ago. Fascinating book - shows just how badly the lads were treated IMHO.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Thats the badger cheers matey
 
#7
May be of interest that the only British or Commonwealth troops executed for Mutiny during the Second World War were Ceylonese;

From Wiki;
Indian troops, who made up the majority of the tiny garrison on Christmas Island, rose up against their British officers and killed them in March 1942, before surrendering to the invading Japanese.[1]

On night of the 8 30 out of 56 personal of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery on Horsburgh Island in the Cocos Islands mutinied, intending to hand the islands over to the Japanese. The plan was to arrest Captain Gardiner, the British Battery Commanding Officer and his deputy Lieutenant Stephens, to disarm the troops loyal to the British Empire, to turn the 6-inch guns on the CLI troops on Direction Island, and to signal the Japanese on Christmas Island. However, the soldiers all proved to be poor shots with small arms - one soldier, Gunner Samaris Jayasekera was killed and Lieutenant Stephens wounded by them. The rebels' one Bren gun jammed at a crucial moment, when Gratien Fernando, the leader of the mutiny, had it trained on Gardiner. The rebels then attempted to turn the 6-inch guns on Direction Island, but were overpowered. [2]

Messages sent by Fernando were received in Ceylon, indicating that there was co-operation between him and the both CLI troops and the Australian signalers on Direction Island, however none of them took part in the mutiny. The CLI helped to put down the mutineers. He declared he had surrendered on condition that he would be tried in Colombo - it may be that he intended to give a speech from the dock to inspire his compatriots. However, the 15 mutineers were court martialed on the Cocos Islands by Gardiner with 7 men who were found guilty were sentenced to death; and four soldiers received terms of imprisonment. Gunner Samaris Jayasekera was buried with full military honours on Horsburgh Island on the evening of May 10 and later reburial in Singapore's Kranji War Memorial.

The condemned mutineers were shipped back to Ceylon and imprisoned at the imprison at military jail in Flagstaff Street and then at military detention barracks at Hulftsdorp. The families of the condemned appealed to Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, then Civil Defence Commissioner and a member of the War Council to save them, H. W. Amarasuriya and Susantha de Fonseka, members of the State Council, also made representations to the Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott and Admiral Geoffrey Layton, requesting clemency. However their pleas failed.

Fernando was defiant to the end, confidently believing that he would be remembered as a patriot, and refused a commutation of punishment. He was executed on 5 August 1942 at Welikada Prison, and two other mutineers shortly thereafter. Fernando's last words were "Loyalty to a country under the heel of a white man is disloyalty".

Consequences
The three mutineers were the only British Commonwealth troops to be executed for mutiny during the Second World War. The CDF detachment in Cocos Islands returned just before Christmas 1942, these veterans had their promotions suspended and denied the campaign medals for active war service. No Ceylonese combat regiment was deployed by the British in a combat situation after the Cocos Islands Mutiny, however support units were deployed most notably in North Africa. The defences of Ceylon were beefed up to three British army divisions because the island was strategically important, holding almost all the British Empire's resources of rubber. Rationing was instituted so that Ceylons were comparatively better fed than their Indian neighbours, in order to prevent disaffection among the natives.
Christmas Island was the one in the Indian Ocean and not, of course, the more famous nuclear testing island


As for more recent Mutiny charges, I recall that circa 1960, a Pte D--------
in an Infantry battalion (which recruited in the North West) was found guilty on an 'Incitement to Mutiny' charge and received, as best as I can remember, a 10 year stretch.
 
#8
it sounds similar to the returning wounded to the Western Front in WW1. Many Cockneys found themselves posted to Jock/Northern units and visa versa. Only at that time you were shot if you refused to comply

My own Grandfather was luckier than most. He was in the 7th Londons (Middlesex) and wounded in Cambrai in 1917 and when he returned to active duty he found he was now in the Essex Reg
 
#9
For a reasonable account of the Salerno mutiny try:

Saul, D. (1995): Mutiny at Salerno: An Injustice Exposed, London, Brasey's.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
TheSpecialOne said:
it sounds similar to the returning wounded to the Western Front in WW1. Many Cockneys found themselves posted to Jock/Northern units and visa versa. Only at that time you were shot if you refused to comply

My own Grandfather was luckier than most. He was in the 7th Londons (Middlesex) and wounded in Cambrai in 1917 and when he returned to active duty he found he was now in the Essex Reg
IIRC that's why many WW1 soldiers have two or more numbers
Each regiment would issue a number to the soldier so if you transferred regiments for any reason you might well get a new number

As an aside many WW2 US veterans stated this was one of the worst things about being wounded most non airborne after discharge would be sent to a 'repple depple' and then to a completely new unit
 
#11
Thanks for the help but its not the Salerno mutiny I'm reffering to here's the extract form the discription of an oral history recording held by the Imperial War Museum;

"Recollections of voyage with 8th Bn Devonshire Regt draft from GB to South Africa aboard, Highland Chieftain, 1943: conditions on board ship; mutiny by private soldiers in dining room over food. REEL 2 Continues: result of mutiny; cabbage-leaf demonstration during mutiny; performance of 'Lady in White' on arrival at Durban, South Africa"

This is the incident and it seems to have been glossed over.

Thanks for all your help so far.
 
#13
Thanks for the advice I might just get in touch. The only problem is this has nothing to do with my dissertation it just grabbed my interest so cant really afford to spend too much time on it!
 
#14
On a slightly different tack.
Some 40 years or so ago I read 'The Life of Rifleman Bowerby" or similar title.
His Battalion had fought through the Desert war, 8th Army and then where deployed to Italy.
Memory says there was much disaffection and altho the troops did not actually Mutiny, When 'HM' visited the troops in the field, the men refused to Cheer when given the, Three Cheers for The King.
john
 
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