In late September 1943, nearly 200 veterans of Montgomery's Eighth Army were arrested for refusing orders to join units of the US Fifth Army at the Salerno beachhead in southern Italy. Within six weeks, all but one had been found guilty of mutiny, their sentences ranging from five years' penal servitude to death. Fifty years on, Saul David became the first military historian to gain access to the court martial papers - normally restricted for 75 years. In addition to crucial defence documents and the testimony of eye-witnesses, these papers enabled David to expose: How poorly equipped Eighth Army veterans, some still recovering from wounds and illness, were needlessly sent as reinforcements to Salerno when Fifth Army men were available. How transit camp authorities deliberately deceived the reinforcements as to their destination. How the defence team at their trial was forced, by lack of time, lack of witnesses and the hostility of the court, to offer a case based on no evidence and doomed to fail.
How, after the humane intervention of the Adjutant-General and the suspension of sentences, insensitive staff officers and victimisation in their new units caused many mutineers to desert. How, as a result of their convictions, the former war heroes were stripped of their campaign and gallantry medals and branded as cowards; Concluding that the men were victims of a terrible injustice, Mutiny at Salerno provides a compelling case for a Royal Pardon.
Saul David was born near Monmouth in 1966. Educated at Ampleforth College and Edinburgh University, he holds a Masters degree in History. He spent two years as a journalist before becoming a full-time writer of military history. He is the acclaimed author of the Brassey's title "Churchill's Sacrifice of the Highland Division", as well as "Military Blunders: The How and Why of Military Failure". He is also the author of "The Indian Mutiny: 1857" (Penguin, 2003), and "Zulu". "Mutiny at Salerno" has been made into a Timewatch documentary.