I have heard that in WW II, a Canadian war ship’s crew voted itself out of the war & refused to go to Japan. Dose anyone know the story? Also, the mutiny on the British ship, the Great Nore?


The Nore mutiny was not on a single ship. It was on a group of British warships that were stationed by the mouth of the Nore river.

In 1797, sixteen ships of the British fleet anchored at Spithead off Portsmouth refused to obey orders to set sail. By the terms of the day, the action was called a mutiny. By modern understanding, it would be called a wildcat strike. The mutineers’ main concern was their pay; their pay rates had been set a hundred and fifty years earlier and wartime inflation had raised the cost of living. In addition, there were frequently delays of back pay that could last up to several years. The Admiralty generally recognized the justice of the mutineers’ claims and the Spithead mutiny was resolved peacefully after a week.

Following the relative success of the first Spithead mutiny there were tow others within a few weeks. The second Spithead mutiny arose when a false rumor swept the fleet that the promises of reform made during the first were going to be broken. This mutiny was quickly broken up by local officers. More serious was the mutiny of the ships anchored off the Nore. Unlike the Spithead mutinies this one acquired a political character due to one of the mutineers’ spokesmen, Richard Parker. Parker attempted to inject political demands among the more popular economic ones. These political demands cost the mutineers whatever sympathy they had in Parliament, the Admiralty, the public, or the rest of the fleet. When the mutineers realized Parker was acting against their best interests, they turned on him and surrendered their ships. Parker was court martialed and hanged.

I’ve never heard of a Canadian mutiny during WWII. There are a few things that make the story unlikely. First of all, most Canadian naval power was concentrated in the Atlantic were they could better look after the interests of Canada and Great Britain. British interests in the Pacific were watched over by the Australian and New Zealand navys and were usually placed under the direct command of the American CINCPAC (Nimitz) or in SE Asia, under McArthur. A Canadian Mutiny under the noses of the Americans would have been a humiliation that the Canadians would have had a hard time living down. The Canadians, in fact, were the most enthusiastic and loyal of Britain’s subjects. The way they unquestioningly tried to carry out the idiotic (British planned) mission at Dnippe (sp?) is evidence of this loyalty.

The same couldn’t be said about the Austrailians and the New Zealanders. When Japan began it’s Pacific rampage in 1941, all the fighting Aussies and Kiwis found themselves stuck on the otherside of the world fighting for Mother England in North Africa, of all places. The scent of Mutiny was definitely in the air in 1942 as these troops insisted that they be allowed to return to the Pacific and defend their countries. Initially these requests were denied, and the colonials were figuritively, if not literally, up in arms.

According to a book I skimmed on the Canadian Navy, it didn’t see much action in the Pacific.
One ship did some patrolling of the Aleutians with the US Navy in 1942 and a few others ships got attached to the US Fifth Fleet at the end of the war in the Pacific. No mention of any mutinies, but it didn’t sound like they had much to get worked up about.

The item came up on the SavoyNet, a sort of Gilbert & Sullivan discussion group, when someone asked if ever a actual British ship’s crew did as the crew of H.M.S.Pinafore. That is “vote” not to go to war, as ordered. From what I can glean, after VE Day, the Canadian PM gave his sailors the option to fight in the Pacific Theater. The crew of an AWS Corvette exercized their option & voted not to go! The British Admirality, depending on that ship, was amaized, & amused by their action reminding then of Pinafore. I am unable to verify this so far. I’m sure everyone is waiting for verification!



And I’m never never sick at sea, either.


“In 1797, sixteen ships of the British fleet anchored at Spithead off Portsmouth refused to obey orders to set sail. By the terms of the day, the action was called a mutiny. By modern understanding, it would be called a wildcat strike.”

I beg to differ. Though it would not be called mutiny (unlawfully seizing control of a vessel)It would, in the U.S. navy, be refusing a direct order at best. In time of war, most likely: treason. The captains would be arrested, court martialed and replaced. The ships would then certainly get underway.

Sorry for not making the point clear in my original post, but I was trying to be brief. The Spithead and Nore mutinies were led by the ships’ crews not the officers. After the crews took control of the ships, the officers were sent ashore. The mutineers also made it clear that treason was not their intent. They told the Admiralty that if the French fleet set sail, they would immediately call off their mutiny and return control of the fleet to their officers.

Ahhh—at last! Been home sick for three days and hoping no-one answered this question till I got the chance!

Yes, Viginia, there was a ship of the Royal Canadian Navy which democratically voted herself out of the war in the Pacific. Whether or not it technically constitutes mutiny is another question, though.

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship UGANDA began life in the British navy, as HMS UGANDA, a 6-inch gun cruiser commissioned in December of 1942. She had nine 6-inch guns in 3 turrets, with secondary armament of 8 four-inch guns mounted in pairs (which doubled as heavy AA), plus plenty of AA equipment, and six torpedo tubes.

In the summer of 1944, she was struck by a German radio-controlled bomb while in the Salerno area. She crossed the Atlantic on one screw, and was repaired at Charleston, North Carolina. During this period, she was transferred from the Royal Navy to the RCN.

Almost 90 percent of the Canadian naval crew on board were reservists, or ‘hostilities only’ volunteers. UGANDA was sent to join the British Pacific Fleet at Sakishima Gunto, and later was attached to the US Third Fleet. While not attacked herself, she aided in defence against kamakaze attacks on British and US flattops.

Because of a long-standing controvesy in Canada over conscription, the crew of the UGANDA were officially asked to “re-volunteer” for service in the Pacific. If this was a PR move, it backfired dramatically: a large majority voted “no.”

Withdrawing the UGANDA was an embarassment to the RCN, especially in front of the two ‘big brother’ navies, but rather than face a real mutiny, she returned to Esquimalt on August 10, 1945.

She was recamed HMCS QUEBEC in 1952. In 1956, she was sold for scrap to…Japan.

Here’s a shot of her from my private collection, taken en route to the Pacific:

A more serious mutiny took place within the Canadian Army at a place called Terrace, in northern BC, in 1944, when “Zombies” (men who joined the army only for home defence, not overseas duty), were told that they were going to be sent overseas after all, to replace our very heavy infantry losses in Holland.

In the First World War, there were 6 Canadian soldiers killed in a riot in Kinmel Park Camp, North Wales, UK. Although it was 1919, and the war was over, there were still tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers awaiting the ship home, and they became fed up with waiting for officialdom to remedy the situation (there was also a nasty rumour that the USA had grabbed most of the boats to repatriate their boys–which galled those Canadians who had been overseas since 1914 or 15!).

The riot had the desired effect, and within weeks, the Canadians were on the way home.

Here is a very rare photo of the riot in progress, again from my collection:

We also bust up old Aldershot pretty good in 1945: I think many Brits were glad to see the back of us!

Thanks, Rodd!

Rodd, your Jpeg is a bit confusing as the principal ship in the photo appeas to be a 10-gun British King George V class ship, while the ship on the left appears to be an armed oiler or other armed transport.

Was the photo taken from the HMCS Uganda?

Continuing after an inadvertant ENTER key sent the last prematurely,
The Naval Museum of Manitoba has a clear photo of the Uganda in profile, showing its 9-gun layout, along with the history you provided:


Rodd Hill: please tell us that you’re not so ignorant of History that you’re unaware that Japan was one ouf our allies during World War One.

And Turkey was England’s ally in the Crimean War. What’s your point?

Rodd’s pointing out the irony of selling a warship to a country that was just your enemy, 8 years earlier. What does WWI have to do with it?

Make that 11 years earlier.

If you’re interested in a somewhat melodramatic fictional account of the Spithead mutiny, you could read “Ramage and the Freebooters” by Dudley Pope.

Papabear: what it has to do with it is that Japan wasn’t an enemy at the time nor before the selling of the warship. They became an enemy after. I’ve heard many times that “20/20 hindsight is the only perfect science;” however, this is just a bit of an extreme example. Why on Earth would one NOT sell something to a country which just helped you win a war?

Monty, your posts seem to be somewhat inexplicable. Japan and Canada fought on the same side in World War I (1914-1918). Japan and Canada fought on opposite sides in World War II (1939-1945). The HMCS Quebec/Uganda was sold by Canada to Japan in 1956. Hopefully this clears up any confusion.

Thanks Mike. This is what happens when History teachers presume that dates aren’t important!