The Aldershot Riot 4 - 5 July 1945

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The Aldershot Riot 4 - 5 July 1945

Post by Phil » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:52 pm

Evening Despatch - Friday 06 July 1945
Canadians being moved from Aldershot to-day

Canadian trouble-makers at Aldershot, where hundreds of troops restive over repatriation delays have run riot for two nights in succession, are to be removed as swiftly as possible from the town. An official statement from Canadian military headquarters says that about 2,500 of the men would to-day be moved from the town to embarkation ports and a further 500 to-morrow. Men in the trouble zone were paraded to-day so that the suspects might be identified. Already more than 100 men have been taken into custody for further questioning and investigation. Where the evidence warrants it they will be charged and court-martialled.

The built-up area of Aldershot is being cleared of transient troops as quickly as possible. Normal troop train movements to the ports of embarkation will remove approximately 2,500 from the Aldershot trouble zone to-day. A further 500 will move to-morrow.

Damage claims

The remaining 1,600 transient personnel are being removed from the affected barracks and distributed among outlying repatriation depots. Use of these Aldershot barracks for housing Canadian transient troops will be discontinued for the time being. Within a very short time there will be no Canadian transient troops left within the built-up area of Aldershot. All available Canadian provost resources are being concentrated in the Aldershot area to prevent a recurrence of trouble and give all possible protection to civilians. Claims for damage are being dealt with by Canadian military authorities.

At a conference in Aidershot Council Chamber to-day Major-General H. O. Curtis, British District Military Commander, expressed, on behalf of himself and H.Q. Canadian reinforcement units, their very sincere regret at the damage caused. To-day traders tried to carry on business as usual after salvaging stocks from the wrecked windows.
Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 07 July 1945



A convoy of about thirty lorries filled with Canadian troops from Aldershot, where hundreds of men, restive about repatriation delays, ran riot for two nights in succession, passed through Woking (Surrey), near which is a Canadian camp, last night. Several of them had bandaged hands. It is understood the Canadian military authorities have detained about half a dozen of the 100 soldiers who were taken into protective custody. Two of these are believed to be coloured soldiers.

A great many of the Canadians who were in or near Aldershot will be put on homeward bound vessells to-day. Shopkeepers, aided by soldiers and civilian workers spent yesterday clearing debris. Many shop windows were boarded up. The Canadian military police force in Aldershot has been augmented by about 500, and the civil police described their reserves as "considerable." By midnight the number of Canadian troops left in the Aldershot district was less than 2,000, as a result of convoys leaving almost hourly during the evening.

"Adequate Precautions"

The Mayor and Town Clerk of Aldershot discussed the situation with Maj.-General H. O. Curtis, the British District Military Commander, and the president and vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce. An official statement said that General Curtis expressed on behalf of himself and Headquarters, Canadian Reinforcement Units, their regret at the damage caused. He said that the Canadian General had had every hope that the first night's incidents would not have been repeated, but a number of soldiers again got out of control on Thursday night. Adequate precautions had been taken to avoid further incidents. The Mayor and Town Clerk also met representatives of local traders who, it was stated, expressed themselves satisfied with the precautions taken.

In a letter to the Mayor of Aldershot, Lieut.-General P. J. Montague (Chief of Staff, Canadian Military Headquarters) said: We trust that your justifiable indignation at the conduct of these men will not destroy the firm friendship which exists between us, forged and tempered in the fires of war. He expressed "sincere regret for the injury which has been done to your town by a small irresponsible group of Canadian soldiers," and added: "Their senseless, cowardly action has earned them the contempt of the great majority of the Canadian Army overseas. We will do everything in our power to repair the injuries which have been done."

Earlier yesterday an official statement from Canadian Military Headquarters said that about 2,500 of the men were being moved from the town to embarkation ports yesterday and a further 500 to-day. The remaining 1,600 awaiting repatriation would be distributed to outlying depots.
Gloucestershire Echo - Tuesday 31 July 1945

Three Canadian soldiers faced at a Canadian court-martial in Hampshire today charges of mutiny arising from Aldershot's recent two riotous nights. Two others will appear on lesser charges. The accused are Corporal (Acting Sergeant) Emmanuel Schuler, of the Lord Strathcona Horse, whose home is at Burnstall, Saskatchewan, who appears on four charges of mutiny; Pte: Lloyd Arthur States, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, a coloured man (six charges); and Pte. Ira Lloyd Macintyre, of the R.C.A.S.C., of St. Avards, Prince Edward Island (three charges).


The first case was that against Pte. States, who is charged with causing mutiny, endeavouring to persuade others to join in the mutiny, doing riotous damage on July 4 and 5, and inciting other Canadian soldiers with whom he was assembled to damage to private property on July 4 and 5. Major J. R. Hyde asked the court to consider the question of States's appearance, saying that he had faced earlier investigation. and had been released. He had been dealt with summarily for any part he might have had in the Aldershot riots, and had been released after detention. He could not be tried for the same offences again. The Judge Advocate ruled that States had not been dealt with summarily by his senior officers on the charges before the court.


States then pleaded "not guilty" to the six charges. Capt. McNeil, a Calgary barrister, said that at 10 p.m. on July 4 there was a tumultuous gathering in Aldershot, and the mood of the gathering was an ugly one. "Generally and specifically it defied lawful military authority to such an extent that that crowd justified the word mutiny and this accused was a leader in that crowd," he added. The Court then adjourned for lunch.
Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 08 August 1945

Three more Canadians alleged to have been involved in the disturbances at Aldershot on July 4 and 5 appeared before a court-martial which opened at Farnborough (Hants) to-day. The decisions of a court-martial which heard charges against three Canadians at Aldershot last week have yet to be announced.

The first case to-day was adjourned so that three defence witnesses could be brought back from Canada. In the second case, Pte. Florion Richard, of Carleton and York Regiment, of Richabauto, New Brunswick, pleaded not guilty to being found in an attempt to commit a felony in an off-licence shop and being there without lawful authority. Windows at the shop were said to have been broken and bottles of liqueurs and cocktails to be missing.

Man's Pay Book.
Detective-Constable Roy Burns of Aldershot gave evidence that in a struggle with one of two men in the shop he got the man's pay book from his tunic pocket. Richard's name was in the pay book and when charged he said, "I did not steal anything." About 200 Canadian soldiers were in that part of the town. Detective Grundy explained that he and Detective Burns left the man because the crowd of Canadian soldiers were within 30 yards of the shop. "If they had seen us arresting a Canadian there would have been trouble."
Daily Record - Friday 10 August 1945
Canadians Sentenced For Riot Offences

Sixty-five Canadian soldiers involved in the Aldershot riots on July 4 and 5 have been summarily dealt with by their respective commanding officers and received varying sentences up to the maximum of 28 days' detention.
Liverpool Daily Post - Friday 24 August 1945


Sentences ranging from seven years' penal servitude to two years' imprisonment with hard labour have been imposed upon three Canadian soldiers, convicted by general court-martial on charges arising out of the Aldershot disturbances of July 4 and 5, it was announced by Canadian Military Headquarters yesterday.

The sentences are: Corporal (acting sergeant) Emanuel Schuler, convicted on two charges, reduced to the ranks and sentenced to seven years' penal servitude: Private Lloyd Arthur States, convicted on three charges, five years' penal servitude: Private Ira Lloyd MacIntyre, convicted on one charge, two years' imprisonment with hard labour. MacIntyre will be sent to a Canadian military prison. Schuler and States will be committed to a British civil prison pending their transfer to Canada.
Eyewitness Account
In 2016 Aldershot-based collector Brian Ballard purchased four postcards sent by a Canadian soldier who had been an eyewitness to the riots. Writing to his parents in Canada Trooper George Karkus described the riots from a personal perspective, stating that "the boys got tired of waiting and some of them were waiting for two months." Karkus adds that 611 window frames were smashed and only £20 taken during the riots. He wrote that after the riots each Canadian camp had anti-riot squads, of which he was in one, while in Aldershot "where two roads cross there were sixteen policemen, four on each corner they worked in groups of four but by then they moved a few thousand of the worst ones out things were kind of quiet."[8]

The riot is the setting for the mystery novel Aldershot 1945 by Bruce Allen Powe.
Pit of Shame: The Real Ballad of Reading Gaol, Anthony Stokes
The Aldershot 'glasshouse' rioters

On 4 and 5 July 1945 there were more riots amongst Canadian servicemen - this time in Aldershot. Hundreds of windows were broken in the shopping centre by men apparently impatient at delays in repatriating them. The Maple Leaf (the Canadian army newspaper) reported on August 23 that a Canadian Military Headquarters announcement had stated that sentences ranging from seven years' penal servitude to two years' imprisonment with hard labour had been imposed on three Canadian soldiers convicted by a general Court-Martial on charges arising out of these riots. With their usual secrecy, the Canadian authorities did not list the charges on which the soldiers had been convicted and a spokesman said tehre would be no further statement.
Medicine and Obedience: Canadian Army Morale, Discipline, and Surveillance in the
Second World War, 1939-1945

Almost a month later, in England, the Aldershot Riot of 4-5 July 1945 was one of the more striking moments of disciplinary breakdown for Canadians during the war. Impatience for repatriation, bad food, crowded barracks, and poor relations with locals were all said to play a role in the outbreak. A small group of Canadian soldiers began to brawl in an amusement hall which spread into the business section. The provost was overwhelmed and windows were broken, businesses ransacked and pubs overtaken by soldiers. The provost managed to move to the outside of the riot area, seizing strikers and locking them in trucks. By the end of the riot, two hundred people had been apprehended. By March 1946, the Canadian government had recompensed $41,541 worth of damages. Eight men were formally charged with jail sentences from twenty-eight days up to seven years.
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