The Invergordon mutiny



Even in the present day life and conditions in the Royal Navy can be arduous, in earlier times conditions were even worse. During the period between the wars spending on defence was cut back. Prior to the Great War the Navy was allocated 25% of the nations budget. In 1932 it was only 6%. Charles was in the Navy during this time and he was present during the Invergordon mutiny. H.M.S. Delhi one of his previous ships was involved in a mutiny in 1919 but that was before his time onboard.
He was on Rodney during the mutiny at Invergordon in 1931. What led up to the Mutiny was not conditions but pay. In 1919 ratings received an increase from 1shilling and 5 pence a day to 4 shillings a day in 1920 ratings over 25 were entitled to Marriage allowance. In 1921 Sir Eric Geddes was responsible for slashing the size of the fleet. Pay was cut in 1925 but it only affected new entries, ratings joining at 3 shillings a day. During the late 1920's early 1930's the depression meant that social spending became a massive part of the countries budget. The government decided that there was a need to cut Services pay. The Army and Air force pay was cut by 10% overall but in the R.N. it was decided to make all men on the 1919 pay scales revert to the 1925 scales. This caused a great deal of hardship, pay was effectively cut by 1 shilling a day whilst Officers lost about 10%, able seamen lost 25%.

The Atlantic fleet was at anchor at Invergorden when the news came through and Rear Admiral Tomkinson ordered the fleet to sea the four Battleships refused to move. Ships companies held meetings ashore and on the forecastle's of the ships. On Rodney they took a piano to the forecastle and continued to play to show that they were still not working. The Admiralty realising the depth of feeling onboard concluded that the one order that the men was sure to obey was to return to their home ports. This made the ships companies even more suspicious. But Chamberlin made it known that the same cuts would be made as the other services and that nobody would be punished. Also any further insurrection would be punished. Whilst there wasnt anyone punished for mutiny about 200 men were discharged and none of the Admirals bar one were ever employed again.

The Mutiny at Invergordon made headlines around the world. The pound plummeted on foreign Exchanges losing 25% of its dollar value. Shortly after the mutiny finished unrest in the world meant that there was a start in rearmament the Naval Budget doubling between 1933 - 1938.