The Spirit Of Invergordon



In September 1931 an estimated 12,000 men of the Atlantic fleet arrived at the little Scottish port of Invergordon, where a strike broke out - in naval terms this was a mutiny. Their action hit the government and their superiors like a thunderbolt. Naval intelligence suspected a communist plot, but really it was mostly the authorities' own fault. Faced with the major financial crisis of the great depression, the new National Government ordered austerity cuts of 25% for the poorest paid sailors in the navy - meaning ruin for their families. The Admiralty mishandled the way they broke the bad news on pay, and the sailors downed tools.

Author and playwright Hamish MacDonald was surprised when he was told one night by his father that his Uncle George had been there and he was intrigued to hear from family friends that their grandfather had to flee the country to the Soviet Union because of it. Helped by historian Dr Tony Carew and by the modern release of once secret MI5 files, Hamish pieces together the truth behind the family stories and the myths he heard about the mutiny.

Writer Hamish MacDonald explores the 1931 Invergordon naval mutiny and its fallout.