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The Indian Navy Mutiny

On the 21st of February  1946, mutiny broke out on board the Royal Indian Navy sloop, H.M.I.S. Hindustan.  The 2nd Battalion of the Black watch was called from their barracks in Karachi to deal with this mutiny on Manora Island. Several ratings from shore establishments had taken over the Hindustan and refused to leave and began firing on anyone who tried to board the ship.  At midnight, the 2nd Battalion was ordered to proceed to Manora as trouble was expected from the Indian naval ratings who had taken over the shore establishments H M I S Bahadur, Chamak and Himalaya and from the Royal Naval AA school on the island. The Battalion was ferried silently across in launches and landing craft.  D company was the first across, and they immediately proceeded to the southern end of the island to Chamak.  The remainder of the Battalion stayed at the southern end of the Island.  Next morning the astonished to residents woke to find British soldiers had once again secured the island.  No one had heard them arrive in the night.

The first priority was to deal with the Indian naval ratings on board the Hindustan that was armed with 4-in. guns. During  the morning three guns ( caliber unknown ) from the Royal Artillery C. Troop arrived on the island.  The Royal Artillery positioned the battery within point blank range of the Hindustan on the dockside.  An ultimatum was delivered to the mutineers aboard Hindustan, stating that if they did not the leave the ship and put down their weapons by a 10:30 a.m..  they would have to face the consequences. The deadline came and went and there was no message from the ship or any movement.  Orders were given to open fire at 10:33 a.m..  The RAs first round was on target.  On board the Hindustan the Indian naval ratings began to return gunfire and several shells whistled over the Royal Artillery guns, fortunately without hitting anyone.  Most of the shells fired by the Indian ratings went harmlessly overhead and fell on Karachi itself.  They had not been primed so there were no civilian casualties.  At 10:51 a.m. a white flag suddenly appeared from a hatch aboard the Hindustan.  British naval personnel boarded the ship to remove casualties and the remainder of the mutinous crew.  Extensive damage had been done to Hindustan's superstructure and there were many casualties among the Indian sailors.  These young Indian ratings, many of them still in their teens, had paid a heavy price for allowing themselves to be misguided into mutiny.

Soon more trouble broke out on the Bahadur.  Several Indian naval officers were thrown off the ship by ratings and the situation became serious.  Soon after  midday the 2nd Battalion was ordered  to storm Bahadur, and then the other establishments on the island. This was achieved and all Indian naval personnel returned to their barracks.  By the evening D company was in possession of the A A school and Chamak , B company had taken the Himalaya, while the rest of the Battalion had secured Bahadur.  The mutiny was over.

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