The story of ‘Mutiny in the Duchy’ has been a life-long interest of Kate Werran ever since her childhood – when one summer, whilst holidaying in her father’s home of Launceston, she put her fingers in forgotten bullet-holes left in a war monument during WWII.
She wanted to know why they were there. She was amazed with what she discovered.
For five fateful minutes in 1943, American GI’s unleashed a dramatic ‘wild west shoot-out’ in the Cornish town of Launceston. The sensational court martial that followed became daily headline news in Britain and America – to the rising alarm of the top brass in Whitehall and Washington. US Army authorities tried to cover it up, and when that failed, they banned reporting of the verdict to bury the story.
Kate’s captivating talk begins with an introduction by the person who started this whole thing off: her dad David (a former pupil of Charles Causley and general history buff). Kate then concentrates on exploring the surprising countdown to mutiny that started in America and finally exploded on the streets of Launceston, one September evening midway through the Second World War.
Find out how and why it happened – and what this episode reveals about Britain, race and the real wartime “special relationship”.
Kate Werran is a journalist who has produced critically-acclaimed 20th-century history programmes for Channel 4, Channel 5 and the BBC.