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United Kingdom - Royal Navy

Extracts from Queen's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions 1879




Discipline: Corporal Punishment

Inquiry by Officers before awarding. 687. When the Captain shall receive a complaint against, or observe any misconduct on the part of, any Man or Boy for which he is amenable to corporal punishment, and shall be of opinion that no punishment which it may be in his power to award would be applicable or expedient under the circumstances, he is, except in open mutiny, to appoint one or more Officers to inquire into the particulars of the offence with which the Prisoner may stand charged, and having received the report of such Officer or Officers as to the guilt or innocence of the accused, the Captain is, after subsequent and full investigation on his own part, to act as, according to his judgment, may seem right; but if the Officers should have reported the Prisoner "Not Guilty," and the Captain shall, nevertheless, decide on punishing him corporally, his reasons for arriving at a different conclusion to the Officers is to be fully explained in the Warrant.
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Form S. No. 301. Warrant. 688. Should he determine upon ordering the Prisoner to be corporally punished, he is to make out a Warrant in the established form, in which all the information required is to be clearly and explicitly set forth.
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Definition of Corporal Punishment. 690. By Corporal Punishment is to be understood the usual punishment at the Gangway; it is to be carried out according to the custom of the Service, and in the presence of the Captain, the Officers, and the Ship's Company, or as many as can be spared from other duties. Every other description of Corporal Punishment by rope, stick, or any other instrument, is hereby forbidden, with the exception of the authorised caning and birching of Boys.

Corporal Punishment of Boys. 691. Corporal Punishment of Boys is to be inflicted with the Birch, as supplied from the Dockyard; the birching is to be given over the bare breech, and is never to exceed 24 cuts or blows; it is to be inflicted by the Ship's Police in the presence of the Executive Officer, a Medical Officer, two or more Petty Officers, and all the Boys. The punishment is to be awarded by Warrant, as in the case of other Corporal Punishments; but the approval of a Flag Officer or Commodore shall only be necessary when the punishment shall take place in a Ship carrying a Flag or Broad Pendant.

Punishments necessarily accompanying it. 692. Corporal Punishment is to carry with it in all cases --
Disrating to a grade below that of Leading Seaman or Non-commissioned Officer;
Deprivation of Good Conduct Medal and Badges, and reduction to the Second Class for Conduct.
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Power of Courts-Martial. 694. Nothing contained in the foregoing Articles can be deemed to extend to the nullification or abatement of such powers as are vested in Naval Courts-Martial, by the Naval Discipline Act, to award Corporal Punishment to persons under the rank of Officer, whether Men or Boys.
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Discipline: Minor Punishments

Birching and Caning Boys. 717. Birching, as defined by Article 691, is confined solely to Boys, rated as such, and who are not to be punished with the Cat except by sentence of a Court Martial.
2. Caning on the breech with clothes on is limited to Boys, and is to be inflicted with a light and ordinary cane on the breech, over the clothes. The number of cuts or blows is not to exceed 12.
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