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The Awatea Mutiny

Heroes Remember

We picked up different, other soldiers that were coming to fill up our quota of men. We picked up some in Regina, some in Alberta and then out in Victoria, but in Victoria before we left we had sort of a mutiny on board. We went and looked at our sleeping quarters and our hammocks are right over the eating tables and I was part of the instigator. I was an NCO and I said, “This is terrible. I mean suppose people get sea sick and then we gotta get up in the morning and eat a hot breakfast off of this?” Oh, there was gonna be a whole bunch. We went around the ship and everything else and tried to talk to these different, “Oh yeah, we are gonna come with ya, we are gonna come with you,” and when the actual deal came that we were gonna get off the ship because the officers had all kinds of room, we got off the ship and I think there was about a dozen of us, a dozen to fifteen of us that got off the ship out of the whole works so I mean it was almost a useless deal. I forget who it was, was it Bob Phillips, one of the officers came down and said, “This is ridiculous George. You might as well go back. It’s not gonna do you any good just the 12 of you and so forth.” So we went back on top of the ship and I lost my stripes.

Mr. Harrison describes helping to organize a protest against the cramped, unsanitary accommodations aboard the troop ship. The mutiny fails due to lack of support from the other troops.

George Harrison

George Harrison was born on April 4, 1920 in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was youngest of three children. His father died shortly after his birth, forcing his mother to place him and his siblings in an orphanage, where he was at times badly beaten. Learning this, his mother took her children back home. After completing grade 9, Mr. Harrison went to work to help support his family. Eventually, he gained employment with CPR Telegraph. On September 13, 1939, Mr. Harrison enlisted with Winnipeg Grenadiers, becoming a specialist on the Vickers machine gun. During the battle of Hong Kong, Mr. Harrison was made a sergeant, and was involved in deadly fighting. Along with the general misery and persecution suffered by all of the POWs, Mr. Harrison faced down both blindness and potential amputation of his toes.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Harrison
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Pacific Ocean
Hong Kong
Winnipeg Grenadiers
Section Leader

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