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Hackney Gazette and Shoreditch Observer, 2 October 1897
The epidemic of insubordination and violence which has recently prevailed on board the ships at the home ports shews at present no signs of abating, remarks the Army and Navy Gazette. During the week three more courts-martial have taken place, two of which were on first-class boys charged with striking executive officers. In both cases the boys bore indifferent characters and will certainly be no loss to the Service. One has been sentenced to receive twenty-four strokes with the birch, then to be imprisoned for twelve months, and afterwards to be dismissed the Service. The second was sentenced to receive twenty-four strokes with the birch, then to be imprisoned for two years, and afterwards to be dismissed from the Navy.
It cannot be said that these sentences are harsh; on the contrary if they are [sic] at all it is on the side of leniency. It is not so long since when rougher methods were in vogue and men for similar offences were flogged round the fleet or hanged out of hand. We are by no means advocates of corporal punishment as a rule but the man who strikes the captain or commander of a ship when brought up to have his case adjudicated is little better than he who robs with violence, and should receive similar punishment. The only excuse that can possibly be urged in their favour is that they have been misled by the pernicious sympathy of a certain class of newspaper.
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