Birching.

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy. – in the House of Commons on 26th June 1922.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Information as to birching in the Royal Navy has been given in reply to questions by the hon. Member for East Leyton and the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull on the 22nd March, 1922, and the 15th June, 1921, respectively. After having been in abeyance since 1906 the punishment of birching was reinstituted in September, 1917, by Admiralty Orders, subject to the following conditions. It is a punishment for first offences of unnatural crimes between male persons under 18 years of age. It may only be awarded by court martial, and not summarily. The maximum number of strokes is 24, and the punishment is administered in the presence of the ship's executive officer and a medical officer. The admiralty in authorising this punishment was influenced by the consideration that birching was preferable as a deterrent in crimes of this nature to imprisonment or dismissal from the Service as being less likely to make habitual criminals of ratings not fully adult. The punishment has been awarded and carried out since September, 1917, six times, namely: