Cocos Islands Mutiny

The Cocos Islands Mutiny (English: Cocos Islands Mutiny) took place during World War II in May 1942 held at Horsburgh Iceland in the Indian Ocean. The mutineers were en Ceylonese gunner. It was the only mutiny by the British forces during the Second World War death sentences.

The Cocos Islands between Australia and Sri Lanka, about 2768 km north-west of Perth, 3685 km west of Darwin, 900 km south-west of Christmas Island and about 1000 km south-west of Java and Sumatra removed.

On Horsburgh Iceland, one of the many Cocos Islands, a unit of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery with two 6-inch breech-loading guns was stationed, which should ward as an advanced post Japanese attacks on the telecommunications cable station nearby Direction Iceland, on the Ceylonese Infantry was stationed.

Early history

Fifteen ceylon esische gunners, who were led by Bombardier Gratien Fernando, intended, on the night of 8/9 May 1942 the commanding British officer George Gardiner and his First Lieutenant Henry Stephens, a Ceylonese arrest.

The relationship between George Gardiner and his subordinate soldiers were bad. He wanted her discipline and its methods were hated.

The Ceylon Garrison Artillery provided by Peter Stanley’s view, the chief historian of the Australian War Memorial, for example represents the decline of British colonialism The unit was a mixture of different religions and ethnicities; European and Euro-Asian officers commanded Buddhist s, s Catholic and Protestant s as well as Sinhalese, Tamil, n, n Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Furthermore, the unit knew that the situation at that time for the Allied Forces was precarious, because the Japanese were successful. They had 7 Bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, on 10 December 1941 the British battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse sunk and thus conquered supremacy in this area. The British land forces were in the Battle of Singapore, 31 January to 15 February 1942 and trounced on 3 Christmas Island was captured in March 1942. On 5 April 1942, the Japanese air force bombed Colombo in Sri Lanka, the home of the mutineers.

On 3 March 1942 Direction Iceland was shelled by a Japanese destroyer, the cable station caught fire, but the technology and the cable is not damaged. The British War Office made ​​the news over the radio to sell that the station had been destroyed. The cable station were then given fancy names for camouflage, so that the destruction of the Japanese appeared credible. During the encoding of Japanese radio messages were decrypted messages between Australia and the UK via cable could be replaced eavesdropping and unencrypted. This cable station was vital to the war for the Asian region, they had been attacked in the First World War by the legendary light cruiser SMS Emden, which led to the loss of the German cruiser in the wake of this debate. The cables were laid in 1901 in the Indian Ocean, linking South Africa and Mauritius in Cottesloe Western Australia. Cable station also led to Jakarta and Darwin.

The soldiers were informed by radio news station Tokyo Rose, and BBC Radio Manila over the course of the war. They also knew how badly prisoners of war are treated by the Japanese.

For this conglomerate of interests, fears and hopes were planning the mutineers, the Japanese to surrender the Cocos Islands, but they were also of the opinion that Asia belonged to the Asians, and were for the liberation of their country from British colonialism.


The mutiny failed, as Gardiner did not disarm and PREVAIL more troops against the rebels with weapons. The soldier Samaris Jayasekera was killed by the mutineers.

The former commander of the Allied American, British, Dutch and Australian forces (ABDACOM) Archibald Wavell, who read the report on the mutiny, the mutineers wanted to send back to Ceylon.

Seven mutineers were sentenced by a British court-martial on the Cocos Islands to death, three of them, namely the ceylonesischstämmigen soldiers Gratien Fernando, Benny de Silva and Carlo Gauder, in early August 1942, executed. Another four soldiers were sentenced to prison terms.


Cocos Islands

British military history

History of Australia


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