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On February 1 a court-martial was lield on eight seamen after an incident unique in the history of the British Navy. The subject was the alleged mutiny on the patrol boat Kilbride.

Leading Seaman Arthur Thomas Foran, Able Seamen John Ellis, Benjamin. Talbot, W. A. Forbes, W. G. .Vies, V and A. R. Scriviner were the men concerned and it was charged against them .that they, being subject to the Naval Discipline Act, on January 13 last joined in a mutiny not accompanied by violence on the Kilbride., ■ ;

Not guilt}* n*as their.answer. After a hearing lasting all day, Foran was acquitted, 'and the others were found guilty. Ellis was given two years' imprisonment and dismissed the service. Talbot, Purdy and Nangle were sentenced to one year's imprisonment, and Forbes, Scrivlner and Da vies; to ninety days detention. . ■ \ It was- stated that at two o'ciock^in -fche afternoon of January 13 the Kil•bride proceeded from Milford Haven to .the Dale roads, and anchored to await the arrival of the remainder of the unit. While the first lieutenant of the iship, Sub-lieutenant L. R. Jones, R.N.V.R., was on the forecastle before entering the Dale roads, Foran came up. and asked whether the sea.meh would be iu-'two or three watches. The first lieutenant answered that two -watches was the captain's order. ' Thereupon Foran requested to see the commanding officer to state a griev-. cance. ■ -■ . Foran was taken before the comman•der, Lieutenant' Marsh, R.N.A., and he *asked'that the ship should be worked in three watches. Lieutenant Marsh replied: "On this ship two watches will be kept." Foran replied, "Thank you, .sir."' ■ ■ About three o'clock Foran went to Petty Officer Correll, and said that the ■seamen requested to see the commanding officer, and 'had fallen in aft for the purpose. Lieutenant Marsh sent ■the'first lieutenant forward to investi.gate, at the same time informing him that he adhered to his decision of twb watches. After they had been informed of «the captain's decision they fell out without orders, and Ellis'said that if the commanding officer was not careful the other — half of the Navy would be on strike along with the rest.' All except Foran refused to keep two watches. Foran replied that he would obey so Jong as the seamen were put in three watches. . On the commanding officer being informed, the anchor was weighed by the first lieutenant and the coxswain, assisted by the engine-room staff. Mid.slupinan Tansley took the wheel, and in this manner H.M.S. Kilbride returned to Milford Haven. During the commander's absence to report, the distinguishing flag of the unit was hauled down from the masthead, and a red flag hoisted m its place. The first lieutenant ordered it to be hauled down, which was immediately done. , t ■ On being asked who hoisted the red fla«, Able .Seaman Ellis replied that he and the company did, and that they would hoist it again. Commander Pattrson went on board with the commanding officer, and cautioned the men as to the seriousness or their action, but they steadfastly re-, fused, to- alter their decision. JMhs • made the remark, "Half the fcavy are on strike, and the other half will soon be on strike.'-' ■ • . ; • . \ \ Temporary Lieutenant Louis Victoi Marsh, R.N.R-, stated that when the *nen said they would not proceed to sea in two watches for the pay they were receiving all were placed under ppen arrest, with t\ie exception of Foran. "Would it. • not ■ have been better to have seen the men and heard their grievances?" he was askedm cross-ex-amination. .' - ■ ■ "I do not consider- it would have been," he replied, "because the men were insubordinate, and there was a feeling in the ship that something was wrong." ,' ■>• ■ -.. ■ He denied that insubordination was. due to his treatment of ■■, but. lie admitted there had been trouble m the ship before he joined her.. Asked whether he ever passed remarks as to their ability, comparing them disadvantageous^* to men of the Merchant Service, he replied that lie had told them they were not sailors. But he did not think that would cause a state oi insubordination. He denied having remarked that he had broken niggers' hearts, and tha-t ;he would break the hearts of the men in his ship. . Sub-Lieutenant Jones described lus Interview with the men and finding the red flag hoisted. It was the letter ".B" of the commercial code. After they had been placed under arrest, he, at the commanding officer's suggestion, carried a revolver. Foran was not placed under arrest, as he continued to obey orders. I Except Foraa, the men- did not apply to give evidence, and in their statement of defence, attention was drawn to their inexperience of the service. , ;';

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Bibliographic details

NAVAL MUTINY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9584, 11 April 1919

Word Count

NAVAL MUTINY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9584, 11 April 1919