2nd Grenadier Guards 1890
While the term 'mutiny' was reported in some newspapers on the evening of Monday 7th July 1890, the following day The Times played it down. There had indeed been an incident involving the 2nd battalion of the Grenadier Guards. It was in fact, the first of several incidents over the next couple of years.
The whole issue of the incident beginning on the 7th is summed up here: http://www.victorianmilitarysociety.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30:trouble-in-the-2nd-grenadier-guards-in-1890&catid=10:articles&Itemid=9, and saves me typing up a description myself!
I disagree with that article in that I think there had been a mutiny. The privates of the battalion (well six of its companies) in refusing to fall in had in essence 'failed to obey a lawful command', i.e., mutinied. Of course, because neither the men, nor the authorities wanted this outcome or its implications they bargained it down, making an incident out of a possible disaster.
It can be followed in the news reports of the day (if you have access to The Times or other British 19th century newspaper archives).
That incident wasn't the end of the troubles for the Guards by any means however.
3rd Grenadier Guards 1891
On the evening of Monday 20th April 1891 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards had orders that the battalion should parade at 8 AM on the Tuesday morning – but not in marching order as it was first anticipated. There is an allegation that the two separate barracks of the battalion (Chelsea and St. George's) were in communication, and conspired the Tuesday morning's incidents.
Come that Tuesday morning at Chelsea barracks, No. 1 Company, and just one other man from the other companies refused to parade as ordered. The other companies at the barracks paraded tardily, with 8th finally arriving, followed by 2nd, 4th, and 6th.
The 30 or so men of 1st Company secured themselves in a barrack room, and refused to come out or admit anyone, but then shortly admitted their NCOs whom it seems were able to convince them to return to their duties. Led by a man named Glover, they went to the parade ground and fell in.
Once formed up however, the longest serving soldier was ordered to unfix his bayonet. This was not done, and could be accomplished only when the whole company was ordered to do so, (obviously, the idea that the senior man would be punished was in his mind) at which point the man was arrested.
At St. George's only three men refused to parade and were placed under arrest. No NCOs at either barracks took part in the incidents.
The incident was claimed to be over alleged over-drilling and parading, as extra battalion parades were eating into time that was used for 'soldiering' (that is cleaning the barracks, uniforms and equipment).
The fact that these incidents were denied publicly in The Times, and the fact that no court marshals seem to have come out of them, show that the 3rd's CO was able to deal with it using his own powers without recourse to a formal court.
2nd Coldstream Guards 1891
On Thursday July 23rd 1891 The Times reported that after the state visit of the German Emperor and the heavy guard duties that visit had entailed, and following a battalion parade ordered for the Monday 20th, two companies of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards initially refused to parade with the rest of the battalion. However, they after speaking with several NCOs complied with their orders and paraded.
This incident did not assume the proportions of the others.
C Squadron, 1st Life Guards 1892
The New York Times reported on 29th September 1892 that Lord Methuen (the Commander of the Home Military District) inspected the Life Guards after some kind of disciplinary issue with C Squadron. He said that if the ringleaders came forward, only they would be punished... Not a man moved.
The Yorkshire Post said that,
“as a a result of the recent outbreak of C Squadron of the First Regiment of the Life Guards at Windsor, the War Office has decided that the Guards shall henceforth be treated the same as other soldiers, and shall take foreign service the same as other regiments.”
Subsequently several men were tried by court marshal.
So what had happened?
On the evening of Sunday, 25th September 1892, at Windsor barracks nearby residents were alarmed by a lot of noise and confusion coming from the barracks – including the loud singing of popular and jingoistic songs as well as cat-calling and other general unruliness!
It seemed that with the CO Col. Byng on leave, his 2nd in command Sir Simon Lockhart had instigated unnecessary extra inspections and drills.
On the Saturday evening (24th September) all of C Squadron's saddles (80 in number) were found to be cut in a way that meant they could not be used or easily repaired.
The NCOs discovering this fact on the Sunday morning, paraded all (approx) 100 men, and after the parade they were ordered confined to barracks, with the exception that they could attend church parade.
Around 9 PM the noise became very loud, as the squadron turned out onto the parade square. At 10 PM they were called to return to their quarters by trumpet call, but this was ignored. However they did return to their barrack rooms when lights out was sounded.
This was followed by other incidents such as a notice saying 'Mutiny Again' being hung in the canteen on the 30th.
It was noted that Captain Rawson in command of C Squadron was not at all popular with his men.
It has to be noted that this post is from my notes – I don't guarantee 100% accuracy, and is in no way 100% complete. If you are interested I urge you to look up the incidents in the newspapers of the time and in the Hansard Parliamentary archive.
As a postscript, I will add that this kind of behaviour does not appear to be restricted to Guard's regiments. On Saturday 25th April 1891 it was reported that the previous week 24th Battery, Southern Division RA at Fort Grange, Portsmouth was in mutiny! Instead of going to Saturday parade when called, they gathered on the barrack square in an uncontrollable state in protest at being over-drilled.
A Colonel Younger, RA convinced the men to fall in, but on the arrival of General Geary (Commander RA Southern District) who had been telegraphed for, the oldest soldiers of each company were arrested and the warrants signed for their courts marshal, and took the battery off the duty list.
Steps were taken to keep this incident a secret, and other troops at the fort knew nothing until the Sunday.
The incident that kicked off this affair was a simple one. On the Saturday morning, several men were told off for bed filling (which usually excused them from parade). However, on completion of their task, they were ordered to fall in. Their refusal to fall in was cause then for general insubordination by the whole battery.