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TITLE
The Salerno Mutiny (9 of 15)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_HUGHFRASER_09
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Hugh Fraser
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1675
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.

'John Mitchell, deceased, he defended the Camerons. We had quite a number of officers defending us. Some of them were legal men. Most of them were, I think - others weren't. But they put up a fair enough case as far as I remember.

Interviewer: Now, did Captain Mitchell come and interview you?

He probably would have done. Again, I can't remember. But things went - seemed to go very, very quickly then, once the court martial was set in force. We were taken from day to day to the area in which the court martial was held. We sat there with a - we were all numbered. We had a thing hang around our necks like cattle again. Each of us had our number and as to the proceedings I can't remember, I can't remember it very much, until it was all finished.

Interviewer: Now, at the court martial proceedings Hugh, did they take the whole body of 192 men actually into the court?

Oh, we were altogether. We were marched from the camp to the court martial centre. At the end of proceedings we were marched back again. The following day we were marched altogether. It was - we were altogether the whole time.

Interviewer: Now I understand that you were under the escort of Welsh Guardsmen who were -

That's correct, aye.

Interviewer: - very impressed with your turnout?

Aye, uh-huh. That's correct, aye. I think we were much smarter than them. We kept the ca- the enclosure in which we were kept, it must have been one of the smartest in the, in the area, and we ourselves we kept ourselves exceptionally smart. We were determined that we were going to be the best dressed and the best behaved soldiers in the entire area'

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The Salerno Mutiny (9 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 /> 'John Mitchell, deceased, he defended the Camerons. We had quite a number of officers defending us. Some of them were legal men. Most of them were, I think - others weren't. But they put up a fair enough case as far as I remember.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, did Captain Mitchell come and interview you?<br /> <br /> He probably would have done. Again, I can't remember. But things went - seemed to go very, very quickly then, once the court martial was set in force. We were taken from day to day to the area in which the court martial was held. We sat there with a - we were all numbered. We had a thing hang around our necks like cattle again. Each of us had our number and as to the proceedings I can't remember, I can't remember it very much, until it was all finished.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, at the court martial proceedings Hugh, did they take the whole body of 192 men actually into the court? <br /> <br /> Oh, we were altogether. We were marched from the camp to the court martial centre. At the end of proceedings we were marched back again. The following day we were marched altogether. It was - we were altogether the whole time.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now I understand that you were under the escort of Welsh Guardsmen who were - <br /> <br /> That's correct, aye.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: - very impressed with your turnout?<br /> <br /> Aye, uh-huh. That's correct, aye. I think we were much smarter than them. We kept the ca- the enclosure in which we were kept, it must have been one of the smartest in the, in the area, and we ourselves we kept ourselves exceptionally smart. We were determined that we were going to be the best dressed and the best behaved soldiers in the entire area'