Post-War Politics   1946 -1984
Terrace Mutiny

"We want to protest against the declaration made in Vancouver lately that we are eager to go overseas as conscripts.  It's not true, and we want everybody in Canada to know it....  We do not want to go overseas and we shall protect ourselves to the last minute."

Soldiers' sentiments as related by Major J. R. Dubé O. C. ,
"C" Coy Fusiliers du Saint Laurent, in his report of November 24, 1944
(ACC 80-55 Box 1.2 Exhibit H)

     In August 1942 Pearkes was sent back to Canada and appointed general officer commanding Pacific Command, overseeing defences on the West Coast, the Yukon and Alberta.  The Pearkes family once again headed back to North America, Pearkes by air and Blytha and John following later by sea.  In 1943 Pearkes helped organize Operation Greenlight, a plan to attack Kiska, Alaska, which had been taken over by the Japanese.

     In November of 1944, Major General George Pearkes, GOC Pacific Command, helped stop one of the biggest mutinies in Canadian army history: the mutiny of the 15th Brigade of Terrace B.C. This mutiny was one of several which took place in the province in response to Prime Minister MacKenzie King's reversal of policy and decision to conscript men for overseas service.  Secret war diaries submitted by officers of Le Premier Bataillon Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent , the No. 19 Cdn. Field Ambulance, RCAMC., the 15th Canadian Infantry Bde., and the Prince Edward Island Highlanders describe the mutiny and actions taken to peacefully resolve the conflict. Correspondence and documents also outline soldiers' motivations, and disciplinary orders.  The troops were duly transferred east in preparation for overseas duty.

     Despite the successful resolution of the mutiny, Pearkes resented his "intolerable position of being ordered to enforce a policy which his past experience gained in applying similar policies has proven ruinous to discipline of [troops], and of being in an utterly dishonourable position, and [Pearkes said] that he will NOT issue instructions to his [junior commanders] placing them in an impossible situation."
(ACC 88-14 Box 1.1)

     Major-General Pearkes grew disillusioned when it became clear that the Canadian Government would not consider employing any force against the Japanese until the fighting in Europe had ended, and he began to see himself more as a senior recruiting officer than as a commander-in-chief.  Therefore, in January 1945, he asked to be relieved of his appointment and requested another one, although he also indicated his willingness to retire altogether if another, more suitable appointment could not be found.  The Cabinet War Committee eventually decided that there was no other employment for him at his present rank in the Canadian army, and he therefore was retired with full pension in February 1945.

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