On June 19, 1911 there was a near-mutiny on the armored cruiser Georgios Averof, while she was undergoing repairs after running aground at Spithead (near Portsmouth, UK). Wikipedia alleges the reason was the Greek sailors unfamiliarity with blue cheese (that their English hosts presumably served them), without providing any sources. The Greek version of the article doesn't provide a reason at all, and a random Greek blog I've found alleges the reason was the fact that she run aground. In any case, the near-mutiny lead to the immediate replacement of her Captain by the more experienced and capable Pavlos Kountouriotis.

The blue cheese story sounds plausible, and so does the alternative explanation that the crew didn't enjoy having a Captain that run the ship aground on her maiden voyage and only three days after he took command. In fact, both stories may very well be true, but I can't seem to be able to find any reliable sources for what actually happened. My searches are hindered by the fact that there was another mutiny on the Averof, in April, 1941. Although Wikipedia surprisingly only mentions the event in passing, Greek sources emphasize it, to the point that every possible combination of search terms I could think of results in documents about the 1941 event.


  • 2
    (perhaps) interesting sidenote: The Averof was assigned to patrol duties in the Indian Ocean on August 1941, and thus became the first Greek warship to sail the Indian Ocean since Nearchos' campaign in 326 BC.
    – yannis
    Jun 19, 2013 at 6:48
  • You may want to reconsider which is the accepting answer (@gyros seems better?)
    – DVK
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:20

3 Answers 3


I have a book on the Averoff that I bought at the Naval Museum in Piraeus.

In it there's the account of her original captain running her aground off Spithead. This led to loss of confidence by the crew. The near mutiny came while the ship was being repaired and was due to the Captain's inability to organize all the logistical requirements of repair and the running of the ship while she was in port. He was replaced for the return voyage.

The only connection with cheese during this time was the crew's belief that the cheese they were provisioned with in England was bad. This was because Greeks weren't used to yellow cheese and thought that it looked spoiled. No mutiny though, they just refused to eat it.

From: Το θωρηκτό Αβέρωφ, FINATEC, A.E.


from Greek Naval Strategy and Policy 1910-1919 By Zisis Fotaki

In the course of the Averoff 's visit to Britain in June 1911 the ship ran aground in Plymouth Sound. Taking advantage of the accident, the lower deck protested violently against the harsh manners of their officers and the mutiny that followed gave expression to many of their outstanding demands.

Now, unlike the rest of the book, this paragraph does NOT contain cites... and is also somewhat vague on what the other "outstanding demands" were. But Blue Cheese does not seem to be a meaningful factor, and the a-grounding seems like something that enabled, and not caused, the mutiny.

I wasn't able to find any better source on Google Books.


I found the exact passage included on the Wikipedia page. It's from a book 'Lucky Uncle George' by James Shneer.

It looks very much like a book born of passion for the subject, rather than academia. Possibly a self-published book. Doesn't necessarily mean it's not reliable - but I'd be inclined to look for a second source.

This link is to the book on Google Books

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