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-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED KINGDOM

Armed forces CP - November 1953



Corpun file 20118

New Chronicle, London, 12 November 1953

R.A.F. caned 2 boys who broke in

News Chronicle Reporter

Press cutting - CLICK TO ENLARGE - Image will open in a new windowTWO boys aged 13 and 14, airmen's sons, who broke into an office at Finningley R.A.F. Station, near Doncaster, appeared before the station commander who, with the consent of the parents, ordered the boys to be given six strokes of the cane apiece.

A police inspector said this at Doncaster juvenile court yesterday when the boys appeared charged with breaking into the office and stealing 12s.

'Gave us six'

The 14-year-old boy said: "The group captain offered us the alternative of going to the civil police or taking our punishment.

"We went to the guard-room and the corporal put us into a cell and gave us six on the backside. He made us bend over a chair. The cane used was about half an inch thick. It made me leap. I was kept in the cell for 1 hours."

Said the chairman, Mr. A.E. Emberton: "We shall place it on record that, however sensible we think the action was, it was not legal." The boys were discharged.



Corpun file 20100

Sheffield Telegraph, 12 November 1953

Parents Approved Canings, Says CO

Press cutting - CLICK TO ENLARGE - Image will open in a new windowGROUP-CAPT. G.F.A. Skelton, C.O. of Finningley R.A.F. Station, said last night that the caning of two boys for stealing from a hangar had been carried out with the full approval of the parents.

The boys, aged 13 and 14, who lived with their parents at the R.A.F. station, appeared before Doncaster West Riding Juvenile Court yesterday, charged with breaking into a hangar office and stealing 12.

It was stated that the boys were given six strokes of the cane by a corporal, after being given the option, by Group-Capt. Skelton, of being reported to the civil police.

The chairman, Mr. A.E. Emberton, said: "It is a most irregular proceeding. They had no right to take the law into their own hands like that."

'Not Twice'

Both boys were discharged absolutely on that charge.

"Although we can't count this right of any military authorities to take the law into their own hands, the boys have been punished and we feel very strongly that British Justice does not stand for any boy being punished twice for the same offence," said the chairman.

One of the boys was placed on probation for two years after admitting school-breaking offences.

Group-Capt. Skelton said he had made the caning offer to the boys and the caning was carried out with the full approval of the parents. He had felt justified in the action taken as the offences concerned had taken place on R.A.F. property. He said it had been made perfectly clear to the parents that the boys were to receive "six of the best" with a cane.



Corpun file 20119

Doncaster Gazette, 12 November 1953

Boys caned at RAF camp -- Court told

Press cutting - CLICK TO ENLARGE - Image will open in a new windowTWO boys were given six strokes of a cane by an R.A.F. corporal on the instructions of a Group Captain, who had previously given them the option of being caned or reported to the police, it was alleged at Doncaster West Riding juvenile court yesterday.

It was stated that the caning was carried out with the consent of the parents (the fathers were serving at the Group Captain's station -- Finningley, near Doncaster).

The boys, aged 14 years and 13 years of age, were charged with stealing 12s. from an office at the station. They were discharged absolutely.

Chairman of the magistrates, Mr A.E. Emberton, said: "The boys have been punished, and we feel very strongly that British justice is not being punished twice for the same offence."

Referring to the caning, he said: ""We shall place it on record that, however sensible we think the occasion was, it was not legal."

Chief-inspector H. Verity, prosecuting, said the offence with which the boys were charged only came to light during other inquiries.

Parents agreed

After money was stolen from the office a member of the R.A.F. Police saw one of the boys who admitted the offence in the presence of his mother.

The matter was reported to the Station Commander and not to the civil police, said the Inspector.

"You will appreciate the case has been dealt with summarily elsewhere, but it has been brought before you to regularise the proceedings," said the Inspector. "There is no officer present from Finningley," he added.

The 14-year-old boy said they had been put in a cell in a guardroom by a sergeant. He said they were told the alternative and they were sentenced to six strokes of the cane by the Group Captain.

"A corporal gave us six in a little cell, where we were kept for about an hour," said the boy. He added that the cane was about half an inch thick.

The boy's father told the court that his wife told him: "Let the Group Captain deal with him" when given the alternative.

The younger boy's mother said in court that she understood that they would be hit with a slipper instead of a cane. She said when her boy came home "he was black, and was sick in bed all the next day."

Both boys asked for another case of stealing 16s. to be taken into consideration.



Corpun file 16440

masthead

The Times, London, 19 November 1953

House of Commons, Wednesday, Nov. 18

Corporal punishment at R.A.F. station

Press cutting - CLICK TO ENLARGE - Image will open in a new windowLIEUT.-COL. LIPTON (Brixton, Lab.) asked the Under-Secretary for Air whether he had investigated the circumstances in which an officer of the R.A.F. recently authorized the infliction of corporal punishment upon civilian juveniles at the R.A.F. station, Finningley, near Doncaster.

MR. WARD said he had studied the very full report on this case. The two boys were airmen's sons, and had broken into R.A.F. property. The station commander acted with the parents' consent in what they thought to be the best interests of all concerned. (Laughter.)

LIEUT.-COL. LIPTON asked the Under-Secretary to make it clear that it was not within the normal course of R.A.F. duties to administer the system of private justice in competition with the magistrates and duly authorized officers. Would he not agree it was undesirable these practices should continue, even with the parents' consent? (Laughter.)

MR. WARD said the action was certainly unauthorized. No great offence seemed to have been committed because the station commander had acted with the parents' consent and he was anxious, in the boys' own interests, they should not start with a police record so early in life. (Loud laughter.)

MR. PETER FREEMAN (Newport, Lab.) asked if steps would be taken to prevent a recurrence of such an unjustifiable assault.

MR. WARD. -- Not so far as I am concerned. (Laughter and cheers.)

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