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The Tripe Mutiny

Heroes Remember

A train pulled in right into the dockyards where the boats were, not a siding but there was five or six CPR tracks in there and we got off and marched out through the warehouse and incidentally that warehouse is still there. Then we got on the HMAS Awatea. It was a ship that had brought Australian and New Zealand air force personnel to Canada to train Commonwealth Air Training Team. We were packed into different areas, D-Company. We were lucky we had, right in our area was right adjacent to the poop deck on the back just above the water and hammocks, we got settled in and the first meal we had was tripe and the complaints started. Well, somebody said and I remember the story in the free press that in Halifax in the summer of 1941, the air force were on their way overseas and disliked their conditions and en masse they marched off the boat and stood on the docks and conditions were changed, they even got white sheets on their beds, we were in hammocks so we figured lets get off and let them know and we did. Captain Neil, ended up, Captain Neil Bardell, Lieutenant Bardell was our transport officer and he came down and told us that if we didn't get back on we'd be charged with desertion or mutiny or whatever. And 90 percent of us got on but the ones that had organized it, when we got off on the dock disappeared through the warehouse and that was the reason they had done it. After that little, we'll call it a riot, that disturbance, they unhooked from the dock and pulled out into the harbor overnight and we left the next day.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers arrive in Vancouver to board their ship. Mr. Atkinson describes the first meal, tripe, served aboard HMAS Awatea, and the resulting mutiny. Facing the threat of a charge of desertion, most of the 'mutineers' return to the ship.

Harold Atkinson

Harold Atkinson was born on February 14, 1922 in Selkirk, Manitoba. He had three siblings. His father, a First World War Veteran, died when he was nine. His family lived on relief, seven dollars a week, and he helped by delivering papers. He finished grade nine, and then in 1940 enlisted. Mr. Atkinson was eighteen when he joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers. He served in Jamaica, guarding German and Italian nationals at an internment camp. He returned to Canada and then went to Hong Kong with his unit. Mr. Atkinson fought against and was taken prisoner by the Japanese. As a prisoner, he heard several comrades bayoneted to death. Mr. Atkinson worked at Kai Tak airport and in North Point Camp's diphtheria ward. In Omini, Japan he worked as a stevedore at the shipyard. When the war ended, Mr. Atkinson was fortunate enough to be flown home.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Harold Atkinson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Machine Gunner

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