Terrace- WWII Mutiny

Terrace, British Columbia, Canada

WWII- Mutiny in Terrace

15th Canadian Infantry Brigade of the Pacific Command.

History Books record it as Canada's largest Military Mutiny

The mutiny began on November 24, 1944, and ended on November 29, 1944,
The mutiny was triggered by the rumour that soldiers based on the Home Defence Front, would be deployed overseas.

Mostly French Canadian members of the Fusiliers du St Laurent, who were part of the 15th Brigade, located on the Birch Ave Bench,
resolved to resist any efforts to conscript and deploy them overseas,
These men, joined with other troops, seized weapons, and paraded on Nov 25, through town, protesting the whole way.
Up to 1500 men, from the 3 Infantry Regiments were involved.

Approx 1/3 of the soldiers were from Quebec, rest were from the Prairies.

Major J. S. Wright tried his best to discuss the problems and sort out the troubles of the men, as most of the other senior officers were in Vancouver discussing Conscription problems.

The Officers led by Major General George Randolph Pearkes, GOC Pacific Command, managed to gain control of the troops.

Sad part of the story, some of the locals had sons and daughters, already serving overseas, and they looked at these men as almost traitors to their country.
The public were split on the conscription issue.

Zombies marching in Terrace during the Mutiny
Photo courtesy McRae Collection, Terrace

Due to press censorship rules during WWII, this Mutiny, and others in all departments of the military, were not disclosed or written about.

I know there was a mutiny on board a ship my father-in-law was on, but that was never written about. It was bad for the morale of other troops.

Dec 21, 1918, there was a mutiny of French Canadian soldiers in Victoria BC, so this was not the first either.

Secret War Diaries were found that described the Mutiny in detail.

  • 1st Battalion, Fusiliers du St Laurent, C.A.
  • Prince Edward Island Highlanders
  • Prince Albert Volunteers
  • No 19 Canadian Field Ambulance RCAMC

Section 7 of the King's Regulation, was read to every Zombie “Home Defence Men” emphasizing the penalty of Life Imprisonment for soldiers convicted of inciting to Mutiny or Rioting.

In Mackenzie King's diary he stated senior officers lied to him, and told him conscripts in BC would have no problem going to war in Europe.
Obviously these officers didn't get the whole feeling of the soldiers.
Mackenzie King was quoted in the papers, “It was Not a Mutiny in Terrace”. He was trying to squash what could have been the start of a civil war in Quebec.

A new book released in Feb 2019 is now available from the Terrace Heritage Park Museum. It is a book that contains everything you want to know about this incident. http://terracemutiny.com It can be purchased at Misty River Books in Terrace, where other local history books from the Historical Society are sold.

  • Last modified: 2019/02/24 17:03
  • by dlgent