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TITLE
The Salerno Mutiny (8 of 15)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_HUGHFRASER_08
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Hugh Fraser
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1673
KEYWORDS
mutinies
World War II
Second World War
Territorials
audio

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Hugh Fraser, a native of Inverness, was one of the soldiers involved in the Salerno Mutiny in September 1943, when 192 men refused to take orders during the Allied invasion of southern Italy. The mutineers had become separated from their units in North Africa. After being told they would be returning to their own regiments in Salerno, they discovered they were being grouped with American troops fighting for the city. The soldiers refused to comply, claiming they had been lied to, but they were subsequently tried and found guilty. Three sergeants were initially sentenced to death - subsequently commuted to twelve years' imprisonment. The corporals received sentences of ten years and the remainder, seven years. However, all sentences were subsequently formally suspended, dependant upon no further misconduct. An official pardon, however, was never received.

In this audio extract, originally recorded in the 1990s for 'Moray Firth People', Hugh relates his experience of the mutiny.

Interviewer: How did events unfold then after the prison camp.

Well, we were taken from that prisoner of war cage across the sea again. We were put aboard, I think it was an LST or an LC something or other, can't remember, we were taken back to the mainland again. And then we arrived back somewhere in North Africa. We were put into the cattle trucks on a train, you know, just like a bunch of cattle. Food was very, very sparse at that time again and we were still under guard, of course, until eventually we arrived at, I think it was Constantine, and then we were placed in another camp, again behind - I think it was behind barbed wire.

Interviewer: Did you ever contemplate what the official reaction might have been to that escapade? Did it ever go through your mind at the time thinking, 'Oh, I wonder how they're going to react to this?'

I felt quite confident that somebody would see the light and realise that what we were doing was purely and simply a matter of principle. Like the rest of them we had our, we had our principles and belief in the truth. We were truthful ourselves and we believed that other persons would be telling us the truth. So I was quite confident, initially, until the court martial took place, that people would see the light and realise that what we had done was in good faith and I didn't think that things would have turned out as they did

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The Salerno Mutiny (8 of 15)

1990s

mutinies; World War II; Second World War; Territorials; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: The Salerno Mutiny

Hugh Fraser, a native of Inverness, was one of the soldiers involved in the Salerno Mutiny in September 1943, when 192 men refused to take orders during the Allied invasion of southern Italy. The mutineers had become separated from their units in North Africa. After being told they would be returning to their own regiments in Salerno, they discovered they were being grouped with American troops fighting for the city. The soldiers refused to comply, claiming they had been lied to, but they were subsequently tried and found guilty. Three sergeants were initially sentenced to death - subsequently commuted to twelve years' imprisonment. The corporals received sentences of ten years and the remainder, seven years. However, all sentences were subsequently formally suspended, dependant upon no further misconduct. An official pardon, however, was never received.<br /> <br /> In this audio extract, originally recorded in the 1990s for 'Moray Firth People', Hugh relates his experience of the mutiny.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: How did events unfold then after the prison camp.<br /> <br /> Well, we were taken from that prisoner of war cage across the sea again. We were put aboard, I think it was an LST or an LC something or other, can't remember, we were taken back to the mainland again. And then we arrived back somewhere in North Africa. We were put into the cattle trucks on a train, you know, just like a bunch of cattle. Food was very, very sparse at that time again and we were still under guard, of course, until eventually we arrived at, I think it was Constantine, and then we were placed in another camp, again behind - I think it was behind barbed wire.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Did you ever contemplate what the official reaction might have been to that escapade? Did it ever go through your mind at the time thinking, 'Oh, I wonder how they're going to react to this?'<br /> <br /> I felt quite confident that somebody would see the light and realise that what we were doing was purely and simply a matter of principle. Like the rest of them we had our, we had our principles and belief in the truth. We were truthful ourselves and we believed that other persons would be telling us the truth. So I was quite confident, initially, until the court martial took place, that people would see the light and realise that what we had done was in good faith and I didn't think that things would have turned out as they did