The lower deck situation on the Canadian Navy ship Naden at Victoria naval base in British Columbia wasn’t exactly shipshape. Two sailors were sleeping together, and this at a time, in the summer of 1958, when gay sex was illegal in Canada and severely punishable under military law.

Aaron Jenkins, 23, wanted to become a woman, and he also wanted a steady relationship. But his boy friend, Leo Mantha, 30, was in the habit of performing oral sex on a different sailor every night – a habit which caused the two friends to disagree. One night there was a row and Mantha stabbed Jenkins through the right eye.

Jenkins’ dying screams woke the whole ship. Mantha’s trial for his murder caused a national sensation, with allegations of homosexual group sex and other perversions rife within the Canadian Navy. Mantha was convicted, and hanged just after midnight on Tuesday, April 28th, 1959, in Oakalla Prison. He died horribly on the gallows – the rope was too short and he was slowly strangled.