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Title: The Coomalie Mutiny - 1942
Name: Smith, Tom
My Story: A new canteen had been built and quickly stocked ready for the Saturday night function. The men had been informed that no action was being taken about the meals, and that the menu for the next three weeks would be rice - three times a day, and twice a meal if a dessert was on the menu. The discontent, predicted by the Major, grew and culminated in an "attack" about 2300 hours on the Saturday night. The "protesters" approached the mess in a three prong attack. It was deliberately planned for its lateness because the Officers would have celebrated well. As predicted, about twenty officers, with "Dutch Courage" made a frontal attack on the men (about 700 strong). It was not meant to be active, but the officers provoked the fisticuffs' which followed. The injuries suffered by some of the officers was self inflicted (e.g. running into trees and injuring their faces etc.). The mess party was called off and a strong guard placed on the guests as they left. The officers of the Unit stayed in the Mess that evening. Next morning was a full parade headed by the Commanding Officer. He informed the battalion that the Brigadier was arriving, after being fully briefed on the previous nights proceedings. The Brigadiers attempt to brow beat the men only served to worsen the situation. The order was given that all personnel in last nights "mutiny" step forward. No one moved. The order was repeated, and a member of the Transport stepped forward and announced "it was not a mutiny". This was a signal for practically all members to step forward and repeat the same statement. The reason for an almost unanimous march forward, was to protect certain members, who were given duties to prevent their attendance on parade. A blanket embargo on leave was placed on the entire unit until further notice. However it was noticeable that members still visited film shows at other units that evening.
Place: Coomalie Creek
Appears in Collections:Territory Times Gone By

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