In September 1931 the Royal Navy experienced its biggest modern mutiny. The largest warships in the Atlantic Fleet were gathering in Cromarty Firth, for their autumn exercises. Meanwhile Ramsay MacDonald’s newly formed national Government announced its emergency budget, introducing means tests, cutting umeployment benefit and reducing public sector pay. On arrival at Invergordon the sailors discovered the scale of the cuts they were supposed to bear. Their resulting strike, co-ordinated from ship to ship, swiftly achieved its objective. The Navy was badly shaked by the extraordinary efficiency of the action, and Britiains’ financial credit was so seriously damaged that within a few days the country was forced off the Gold Standard. Until this book was published little of the story was known; officially dexcribed as a case of ‘unrest’ it was hushed up and no Courts-Martial or Commission of Inquiry followed.
This is the first detailed account of the Invergordon mutiny based on the personal testimony of those involved on the lower deck. Particular attention is given to the way the affair was organized, both centrally and in individual ships, to the structure of command and to the flash points when the use of force was considered and attempted.
The dramatic story is hereput into its historical context: the background to the budget crisis of 1931, the implications of the cuts imposed, the conditions of the Fleet at the time: themes which remain as pertinent today as they were in 1931.