On our arrival in Egypt in 1916, our men, hungry and tired, entered the Y.M.C.A. at Gabbary Camp to the strains of 'Rule Britannia'. Imagine our surprise when we were confronted by a number of British soldiers and the question asked 'Who gave you niggers authority to sing that? Clear out of this building - only British troops admitted here.'
By the time the British Honduras contingent returned to the Colony their patriotism had turned to bitterness and resentment; the riot of 1919 was the direct result:
On July 8th, 1919, a contingent of 339 members returned from Mesopotamia via Taranto in Italy on the Veronej. After having many prior local dissatisfaction, thirteen days later, on the night of July 22, a section of the contingent, led by one Sergeant Hubert Vernon, moved through the streets of the capital ritually smashing the plate glass windows of the major merchant houses. Combined with this symbolic destruction was a search for certain officials and employers who, on being discovered, were physically assaulted. these assaults quickly ledto mass rioting, the soldiers being joined by 3,000 of the capital's populace in an orgy of looting and destruction which continued well into the morning of the 23rd. The government proved powerless. By 1:00 PM. only members of the Territorial Force had answered the bugler's call and it was obvious to the authorities that both the volunteers and the police had sided with the rioters.
A loyal element of the contingent itself and the arrival of H.M.S. Constance finally subdued the riot.