“Asia for the Asiatics!” That was the rallying cry of a gang of mutineers, gunners of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery, on the night of May 8th and 9th, 1942. Their wrath was directed against their British masters and particularly one officer, Captain George Gardiner. They wanted to turn over the garrison, Horsburgh Island, one of the Cocos group, to the Japanese.

That would have been a disastrous scenario. Singapore had just fallen, the Japanese had conquered most of the Indian Ocean, and the Horsburgh outpost was under intense pressure from enemy bombardments. During that night of mutinous confusion one soldier died. By morning order had been restored.

Retribution was swift. Three days later, the ringleader of the mutiny, Gratien Fernando, and his two principal accomplices, C.A. Gauder and G. B. de Silva, were court-martialled. They were hanged with four other mutineers on Tuesday, August 4th, Friday 7th, and Saturday 8th, 1942, respectively. They were the only British soldiers executed for mutiny during the Second World War.