Discipline: flogging and its abolition

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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Frogsmile » 18 Mar 2011 10:16

jersey wrote:My grandfathers pay book which was started in 1885, and from various marks was probably printed in 1883, mentions various
punishments that can be awarded, does not mention flogging at all. So, apart from the previous reference to military prisons being used until 1906 I guess that flogging had been abandoned at least by 1883.
David


Yes, but the replacement, Field Punishment No 1, which included so-called 'crucifixion', became equally controversial in WW1 and was by all accounts universally hated by the troops. So much so that there were questions in the Houses of Parliament and there are some interesting exchanges about it recorded online from Hansard.
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Connaught » 30 Aug 2011 22:31

Cardwell Reforms of 1870


Cardwell undertook the task of modernising the army through a series of measures.

1870
the War Office Act reorganised the War Office. The various sections of the War Department were all combined in the same building; the Horse Guards were included under the jurisdiction of the War Office
the Commander-in-Chief was made subordinate to the Secretary for War
the Army Enlistment Act fixed the term of enlistment to 12 years, part on active service, part on reserve. Prior to this, enlistment was for 'life'.
the length of service overseas was limited to six years followed by six years in the reserve.
the Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle was introduced as the main weapon of the infantry
1871
the purchase of Commissions was abolished; the selection and promotion of officers was to be by merit rather than money and influence
flogging in peacetime in the Royal Navy was suspended
1872
the regimental structure was reorganised on the basis of two 'linked' battalions, one serving overseas and one serving at home.
Britain was divided into 69 districts, each with its own county regiment and were called by that name (for example, the York & Lancs, the Warwickshires)
regiments were given a local attachment for recruitment purposes
1879
flogging in war time was suspended in the Royal Navy
1881
flogging in the army was abolished
the regular and milita battalions of the arnmy were amalgamated into territorial regiments with local names and local depots



http://www.victorianweb.org/history/armyrefs.html

http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/The_Cardwell_Reforms.pdf
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Frogsmile » 31 Aug 2011 09:21

Connaught wrote:Cardwell Reforms of 1870


Cardwell undertook the task of modernising the army through a series of measures.

1870
the War Office Act reorganised the War Office. The various sections of the War Department were all combined in the same building; the Horse Guards were included under the jurisdiction of the War Office
the Commander-in-Chief was made subordinate to the Secretary for War
the Army Enlistment Act fixed the term of enlistment to 12 years, part on active service, part on reserve. Prior to this, enlistment was for 'life'.
the length of service overseas was limited to six years followed by six years in the reserve.
the Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle was introduced as the main weapon of the infantry
1871
the purchase of Commissions was abolished; the selection and promotion of officers was to be by merit rather than money and influence
flogging in peacetime in the Royal Navy was suspended
1872
the regimental structure was reorganised on the basis of two 'linked' battalions, one serving overseas and one serving at home.
Britain was divided into 69 districts, each with its own county regiment and were called by that name (for example, the York & Lancs, the Warwickshires)
regiments were given a local attachment for recruitment purposes
1879
flogging in war time was suspended in the Royal Navy
1881
flogging in the army was abolished
the regular and milita battalions of the arnmy were amalgamated into territorial regiments with local names and local depots



http://www.victorianweb.org/history/armyrefs.html

http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/The_Cardwell_Reforms.pdf


All the above regarding the Cardwell Reforms is correct and easily accessible online. However, what zerostate posted was definitive in that flogging continued in military prisons until 1906 and it is that date that marks, finally, the absolute and final abolition of flogging in the British Army, and not 1881.
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby zerostate » 08 Sep 2011 05:38

FROGSMILE wrote:All the above regarding the Cardwell Reforms is correct and easily accessible online. However, what zerostate posted was definitive in that flogging continued in military prisons until 1906 and it is that date that marks, finally, the absolute and final abolition of flogging in the British Army, and not 1881.


Indeed!

Thanks Frogsmile... At least someone else out there can actually understand (and probably look up independently) the direct sources of the time!

Chris

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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby grumpy » 08 Sep 2011 12:30

there are in fact several of us
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Frogsmile » 10 Sep 2011 19:38

One of the great unsung heroes who contributed to the abolition of flogging was a former Army Medical Officer, Henry Marshall. He instigated many improvements in the field of soldiers general health, but his major emphasis for army reforms centred on publicizing the brutal punishments inflicted upon men for the slightest infraction of a harsh disciplinary code, which included flogging, branding, imprisonment, transportation, or service with a penal corps in Africa. The purpose of such archaic and illogical degradation of men, in which a punishment often exceeded the degree of crime, explained this disciple of Beccaria, was not 'to make men virtuous and good, but to produce instant obedience'.

Instead of repressing crime, he insisted, barbarous punishments since the Middle Ages 'have failed to a much greater degree than penalties of a comparatively lenient character'. Branding, whipping, maiming have 'never reformed a corps, but they have ruined many a man'. Does not 'the cat-o'-nine tails defeat the object of punishment?' Hoping to abolish flogging and branding under the pressure of public opinion, Marshall noted that the degree of crime in civilian society could be. lowered by moral training, educational improvements, and a higher standard of living. 'May we not presume that offences may be prevented in the army more effectively by raising the character of soldiers and by meliorating their condition . . .?'

Owing to a tragic circumstance, Marshall's plea for army reforms received unexpected publicity. On 11 July 1847, Private Frederick John White of the 7th Regiment of Hussars, sentenced by a court martial to a punishment of 150 lashes, died at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks (which still stands) from injuries resulting from the whipping. The event shocked Parliament and brought bitter condemnation of the vicious punishment from The Times. During heated debates in the House of Commons on the need for more humane treatment of soldiers, numerous references were made to Marshall's recent works. The immediate result of the Hounslow incident, which was castigated in numerous editorials by Thomas Wakley, the editor of the Lancet. was to force the embarrassed Horse Guards to restrict flogging henceforth to a maximum of fifty lashes.

Although the practice of flogging was not abolished (with caveats) in the army until 1881, later annual regimental returns show a steady decline in the number of men whipped.

Afternote:

Hansard (House of Commons), 9 May 1902

Questions and Answers Circulated with the Votes.

Birching in the Army.

MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that Joseph Kibby, of the Grenadier Guards, was in or about the month of March flogged; and whether he will state the offence this man had committed, and also the offences for which punishment by birching is allowable in the Army.

(Answer.) The boy was birched by order of the commanding officer. The offence was disobedience of a regimental order, which forbade boys smoking, and absence without leave; for the latter offence he was liable to trial by general court-martial. Birching is not allowed in the Army, except in Army Schools under restrictions. The Commander in Chief disapproved of the commanding officer's action, and has taken the necessary disciplinary action.

(War Office.)

HC Deb 09 May 1902 vol 107 c1231
Last edited by Frogsmile on 12 Sep 2011 10:57, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby jonc@adelaide.on.net » 11 Sep 2011 05:17

Can anyone confirm for me whether I am right in making distinctions within corporal punishment. To me lashes are from a whip. Birching is by a cane and is counted in strokes. Birching continued to included in most areas with British based legal systems well into the twentieth century (and still remains on the books in some jurisdictions and is still used in a few eg Malayasia)

I suspect that whilst leaving mental and physical scarring, birching did not result in deaths even in the 19th century.

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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Frogsmile » 11 Sep 2011 11:07

jonc@adelaide.on.net wrote:Can anyone confirm for me whether I am right in making distinctions within corporal punishment. To me lashes are from a whip. Birching is by a cane and is counted in strokes. Birching continued to included in most areas with British based legal systems well into the twentieth century (and still remains on the books in some jurisdictions and is still used in a few eg Malayasia)

I suspect that whilst leaving mental and physical scarring, birching did not result in deaths even in the 19th century.

jonc


Yes, birching is from a birch switch or a cane and has nothing to do with flogging, so I am sorry if I have confused matters. My intent with the "afternote" was almost whimsical, as if to say...one physical (and violent) chastisement is banned yet another continues.

As you say, birching continued for a great time longer and was more widely administered. Here is a very interesting history of its use in the Royal Navy: http://www.corpun.com/kiss2.htm
Last edited by Frogsmile on 12 Sep 2011 14:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby jonc@adelaide.on.net » 12 Sep 2011 05:54

No, you didn't confuse matters, I have always been confused over the two and you have resolved it. I think corporal punishment was still being carried out in Australian prisons in my life time - but then I am getting old. The link to the navy history was fascinating.

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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Frogsmile » 12 Sep 2011 15:00

The flogging at Hounslow Barracks

You sons of Great Britain attention pray
give unto me for a while,
Let us hope that on every brave soldier
dame fortune in future will smile;
The disgraceful affair was at Hounslow,
has excitement great caused afar,
The death of John White, the brave soldier,
of Her Majesty's 7th Hussars.
A STREET BALLAD

In the early summer of 1846 John White, a 27 year old private in the 7th Queens Own Hussars based at Hounslow Barracks was found guilty of striking his sergeant with a metal bar in a drunken fight. At a drumhead court-martial he was sentenced to receive a flogging of 150 lashes.

This was a time when the good and the great of the land, including the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Nelson, were convinced that “the greatness of England, that Waterloo and Trafalgar”, depended on the right of summary courts-martial to flog offenders. They did not believe it was possible to maintain discipline without the threat of the cat-o’-nine-tails. As a result men were routinely flogged, five hundred, eight hundred, and a thousand lashes being no unusual sentence. Some of the victims died under this barbaric punishment.

689 Private Frederick John White was given his punishment on 15th June 1846 by the regimental farriers, the strongest men in the regiment, in the presence of 300 soldiers, their commanding officer Colonel Whyte and the surgeon Dr. James Low Warren. In a departure from usual practise White, stripped to the waist, was tied to a ladder rather than the usual triangle of halberds. The farriers, under the command of a sergeant, began their task in relays of twenty-five lashes each. It was a punishment that soon drew blood, and ten privates, four of them hardened soldiers, fainted at the sickening spectacle. When the grim ritual was over and John White taken down from the ladder, Colonel Whyte addressed the whole regiment, calling White “a brutish fellow”, and threatening similar punishment “on every occasion that reports of insubordination were made”

“After the flogging, White was as usual taken to the hospital. Here it was found that his back was not badly lacerated, the ‘real skin not being cut through’. He was duly treated and all went well with him till the morning of 6 July, on which day he was to return to duty and be discharged from the hospital, his back being completely healed. White now complained of a pain in the region of the heart, through his back and shoulder blade.

Dr. Warren, the surgeon of the Regiment, who had of course been present at the punishment, did all that he could to relieve the man. Paralysis of the lower extremities, however, was discovered, and the unfortunate soldier died at 8.15 p.m. on 11 July.”

The History of The 7th Queen’s Own Hussars Vol. II, by C.R.B. Barretts

In due course Dr Warren issued a death certificate for John White, stating that the soldier had died from natural causes. Then an application was made to Rev. Henry Trimmer, the Vicar of Heston for a certificate to bury the man in Heston churchyard.

In Hounslow Barracks White’s death had so enraged his comrades that their cartridges were taken away in case they resorted to violence against their officers. Rev. Henry Trimmer shared their unease. Dissatisfied with the statement on the death certificate, Trimmer refused to give a burial order until an inquest had been held. This was the last thing that the War Office wanted. They had already completely exonerated the regimental doctor, and had even taken some twelve square inches of skin from White’s back, with the obvious intention of removing all evidence of the flogging.

The local coroner was the redoubtable Thomas Wakly, a determined and courageous reformer and a firm opponent of military flogging. He was not going to be deterred by the War Office and their protests.

The inquest duly opened early in August 1846 at The George IV inn in Hounslow. Wakley immediately made an order for the exhumation of the body. The War Office strenuously opposed this. To prevent Wakley proceeding they sent two military surgeons to Heston to obstruct the Court’s officers. Wakley, who had foreseen the possibility of this happening, banned them from the churchyard. Following the post-mortem the Hounslow jury, instructed by Wakley, brought in the verdict that Private White had died “from the mortal effects of a severe and cruel flogging of 150 lashes”…

They also added this rider…

“In returning this verdict the jury cannot refrain from expressing their horror and disgust at the existence of any law among the statutes or the regulations of this realm which permits the revolting punishment of flogging to be inflicted upon British soldiers; and at the same time the jury implore every man in this kingdom to give hand and heart in forwarding petitions to the legislature, praying in the most urgent terms for the abolition of every law, order and regulation which permits the disgraceful practice of flogging to remain one moment longer a slur upon the humanity and fair name of the people of this country.”

Encouraged by a series of letters in “The Times” detailing many similar and often fatal lashings, in barracks, penal colonies and aboard ships, the public swiftly responded. A petition demanding the end of flogging was presented to the House of Lords on 14th August 1846 obliging the government to devote a whole day’s debate to the subject of military floggings. As a concession, following the advice of the Duke of Wellington, the War Office altered its regulations, making fifty lashes the maximum punishment, soothing public opinion somewhat. Further attempts to abolish flogging in the Army were unsuccessfully made in 1876 and 1877. In 1879 flogging was reduced by the Army Discipline Act and rendered commutable to imprisonment. The total abolition of this form of punishment in the Army did not take place until 1881. Surprisingly after years in abeyance flogging was only officially abolished in the Navy in 1939.

After the inquest in Hounslow 689 Private Frederick John White was reinterred under the trees in Heston churchyard underneath a stone paid for by the officers and men of the Queens Own 7th Hussars. It says;

“This stone is erected by his comrades as a testimony of their sympathy for his fate and their respect for his memory.”

The wretched Colonel Whyte, the commanding officer of the 7th Hussars soon became the subject of ballads sold and sung in the public streets. Such was the anger and contempt directed towards him that he was unable to show his face outside the barracks. After a time he was quietly moved to the command of a native cavalry regiment in India, and was never heard of again. 689 Private Frederick John White however will always be remembered as the man whose cruel death resulted in the eventual abolition of a merciless law.

Round Isleworth, Brentford & Hounslow & Heston
it caused much pain,
In Twickenham, Richmond and Hampton,
in Sunbury, Egham and Staines;
Thomas Wakley empanelled a jury,
which caused great excitement afar,
From London resounded to Newry,
the fate of John White the Hussar
A STREET BALLAD OF THE TIME

— from Martyn Day
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Re: Discipline: flogging and its abolition

Postby Peter » 31 Dec 2017 04:28

The situation in 1857:

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Reading Mercury (Reading, England), Saturday, November 20, 1858, Vol. 136, p.4, Naval and Military.

I’ve just posted another 1858 newspaper report to Soldiers serving time in civilian prison 1840's...... , viewtopic.php?f=27&t=12092&hilit, which says:

“….. fifty lashes, the maximum now permitted by the service”.
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