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Author Topic: Flogging at Chatham  (Read 13318 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2013, 22:44:29 »
In his book 'My Life and Ballooning Experiences' Henry Coxwell gives a description of a military flogging. No date is given but he was born in 1819, and had been some time at an elementary school for sons of officers in Chatham. He and another boy watch from a school window, the masters, military men, having gone off to watch.

I was then led to a hole in a window-frame which had been plugged up, and evidently used on former occasions.
The Chatham Division of Marines was now to be seen drawn up in square. The red painted triangle was ready for the first delinquent, and we readily recognized the portly frame of the sergeant-major whose voice disturbed the stillness of the ranks, by saying, "number one, strip!" I was struck with the apparent alacrity with which the man took off his undress jacket, pulled off his shirt, and drew his belt tightly round his waist; it was the work of a moment; there was no flinching, and he walked over to the halberts, where his hands and feet were strapped, in a firm way, which was very sensational and attractive to us ensconced youngsters. A drummer was immediately at hand in a white jacket, and the cat hung in his right hand until the sergeant-major cried, "one," when suddenly the drummer threw himself into position, and the cat flourished high over his head and fell evenly between the white shoulders, producing a foul red mark on the fair form which shrugged perceptibly, but less so as the work proceeded, so that by the time the first complement of twenty-five lashes had disfigured the poor man's flesh, he appeared to be cat-hardened, for no cry or groan escaped his lips, he took his hundred-and-fifty, and when cast loose, his shirt and a great coat being thrown over his back, he marched off under escort to the infirmary, for another kind of dressing, with an amount of unflinching courage worthy of a better cause.
Number two was a different kind of man altogether; he was stouter, and his skin looked redder, there was no manifest fear in him; indeed, he assumed a defiant swagger, and looked round as if for approbation during the process of securing, nor did the first few strokes make him writhe like his predecessor, but no sooner had number twelve sounded than a piercing groan was uttered, when the fifes and drums were called into requisition to drown his shrieks; and then, it may as well be confessed, we withdrew to the schoolroom, after witnessing that which did upset us, and was calculated to sicken persons in more advanced life.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2013, 16:40:56 »
Just been reading up a bit on this. It seems that during the execution of the sentence, the army surgeon was on hand to make sure the man did not die of his wounds. If it looked as though the soldier may be in danger of death, a halt was called to the proceedings and the poor chap taken to the hospital to undergo treatment and allowed to recover. This was only a temporary respite though, for as soon as he was sufficiently recovered, the remainder of the punishment was then continued! From what I can gather there were some questions raised in Parliament about this form of punishment, as it seemed to be pretty unique to the British army, most other European armies having abolished the lash or never used it as a form of enforcing discipline. It wasn't abolished (except in prisons) until 1881.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2013, 00:09:43 »
I thought that too, but I assume that if he had died under the lash they would have reported it.
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Offline smiffy

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 00:03:36 »
I find it hard to believe that someone could survive 600 lashes. Did anyone?

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 23:28:47 »
Morning Post - Thursday 19 January 1826
COURT MARTIAL.
At a general Court Martial, held on the 4th and 5th inst. at the Mess Room of the Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham, composed of Officers of the Line and Royal Marines, a private marine named Foster, was found guilty of striking Ensign Butler, of the 30th Regiment of Foot. The prisoner, having no witnesses to call, pleaded intoxication; and handed in a written paper containing a strong appeal to the feelings of the Members of the Court, and submitting himself to their mercy. He was sentenced to receive 600 lashes, which sentence was carried into execution on the morning of the 9th inst. at the Spur Battery, near Fort Amherst, in the presence of the whole garrison, with a view of deterring his fellow soldiers from the commission of a crime, the most subversive of all military discipline, and which not unfrequently subjects the offender to capital punishment. (Rochester Gazette, Jan. 17.)
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Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2009, 10:19:35 »
22nd April 1858

Yesterday morning, at an early hour, the whole of the troops belonging to several depots comprising the 1st battalion were drawn up inside the Spur Battery, Chatham, for the purpose of witnessing the infliction of corporal punishment on a private of the 32d Regiment named John Jones, who was recently tried by district court-martial, and found guilty of having robbed a recruit, one of his comrades, of a half sovereign.  For this crime he was adjudged, in the first instance, to receive 50 lashes, and afterwards to be imprisoned in Fort Clarence.  After the punishment had been inflicted the prisoner was removed to the hospital, on leaving which he will undergo his term of imprisonment in the military prison at Rochester.

Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2009, 16:46:55 »
21 January 1826

Courts-Martial - At a general court-martial held on the 4th and 5th instant, at the mess-room of the Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham, composed of officers of the Line and Royal Marines, of which Major Wingrove, Royal Marines, was President, a private marine named Foster was found guilty of striking Ensign Butler, of the 39th Regiment.  The prisoner having no witness to call, pleaded intoxication, and handed in a written paper, containing a strong appeal to the feelings of the members of the Court, and submitting himself to their mercy.  He was sentenced to receive 600 lashes, which sentence was to be carried into execution on the morning of the 9th inst., at the Spur Battery, near Fort Amherst, in the presence of the whole garrison, with a view of deterring his fellow-soldiers from the commission of a crime the most subversive of all military discipline, and which not unfrequently subjects the offender to capital punishment.  At a general Court-marshal recently held at the Royal Marine Barracks, Chatham, a private marine, named Wishart, was found guilty of stabbing a corporal of that corps in the throat with a  knife, and was sentenced to six months' solitary confinement in the Marshalsen - Kent Herald.

Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2009, 21:02:16 »
04 November 1857

Yesterday morning, soon after daylight, the whole of the troops attached to the 3d battalion at Chatham Garrison were marched to the Spur Battery, at St Mary's. Where they were drawn up for the purpose of witnessing the carrying out of a sentence of a district court-martial passed on Cornelius O'Brian, a private in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, who was adjudged t receive 50 lashes, and afterwards to undergo a term of imprisonment in Fort Clarence, for having robbed one of his comrades of a sum of money, and for other acts of theft.  The usual preparations having been made, the prisoner was sent for from the guardroom, when it was found that during the night he had escaped from his place of confinement and evaded the vigilance of a number of soldiers on sentry by getting clear of the barracks.  A searching investigation was immediately instituted by the authorities relative to the escape of the prisoner, but nothing satisfactory was elicited.  It is supposed that he must have escaped by means of the guardroom window.

Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2009, 12:26:22 »
01 October 1858

Yesterday morning, in accordance with an order to that affectioned the previous evening, the companies of the Royal Engineers and the East India Sappers and Miners, now at headquarters, Brompton Barracks, Chatham, were marched off at an early hour to the space of ground near the hut barracks for the purpose of witnessing the caring into effect the sentence of a district court-martial on a Sapper named George Merilese, of the 34th Company, who was recently tried and found guilty of having been drunk and absent from barracks, and also for striking and violently resisting a non-commissioned officer of the corps who was in the execution of his duty.  For this crime, which was by the Articles of War is considered of a very serious character, the accused was adjudged to receive 50 lashes in the presence of the whole corps, the Court not awarding any imprisonment.  At the conclusion of the punishment, which is happily exceedingly rare in the corps of royal Engineers, the prisoner, who bears a very bad character, was removed to the hospital, and the troops returned to barracks.  On the previous morning, at the usual early hour, the troops of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of Infantry at Chatham Barracks proceeded inside the Spur Battery, where they were drawn up in the form of a square to witness the infliction of corporal punishment on two private soldiers, each of them notoriously reprobate character.  One of them, Private Thomas Wad, 1st Battalion 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, had been tried a few days previously for a most savage and unprovoked attack on Colour-Sergeant Lowery, of the same corps, whom he had threatened to kill. The sergeant had had occasion to report the prisoner for some breach of military discipline, when the latter took the opportunity, a day or two afterwards, to most violently assault him, knocking the sergeant down, kicking him, and finishing his attack by jumping on him, inflicting such serious injuries that he has been unwell ever since.  The prisoner bears a very bad character, and it has been ascertained that he was discharged with disgrace from two other regiments, owing to his violent, ungovernable conduct; he has also been in other regiments.  The court-martial before whom he was tried sentenced him to receive the maximum number of 50 lashes, and to be imprisoned for 12 months in Fort Clarence.  The other prisoner, Private Charles Smith, 32nd Light Infantry, was also tried for assaulting two non-commissioned officers who were attempting to place him under confinement when ordered to do so, and for attempting to bite off the finger of a soldier who came to render assistance. He was sentenced to receive 50 lashes, and further, to be imprisoned for 56 days.  After each prisoner had received his punishment he was conveyed to the garrison hospital, and as soon as they are reported to be fit to leave that establishment they will undergo the remaining portion of their sentence in the military prison, Rochester.

Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2009, 11:01:10 »
01 May 1857 - The Times

Yesterday morning the troops belonging to the provisional battalion at Chatham were marched to the fortifications at the Spur Battery for the purpose of witnessing the infliction of corporal punishment on a soldier of the 1st Battalion of the 60t Rifles, named John Quantrill, who had been sentenced by a district court-martial to receive 50 lashes for having robbed a comrade, named Evans, belonging to the 53rd Regiment, of a silver medal.  The battalion having been formed into three sides of a square the sentence was read to the troops in the presence of the prisoner, who was then fastened to the triangles, an the punishment inflicted.  The prisoner was afterwards removed to the garrison hospital.

seafordpete

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2008, 15:29:54 »
The Navy flogged 2007 men in 1839!!, 860 in 1847. In 1849 Commander John C Pitman of HMS Childers was courtmartialled following several floggings leading to a Marine going mad after 48 lashes, a seaman killing himself and 2 officers deserting rather than sail with him. Pitman was found guilty of cruelty & opression and discharged from the RN. In 1852 a midshipman on Albion noted in his diary that hardly a week goes by without the gratings being rigged for floggings. Flogging was suspended (not banned) in peacetime in 1871, and totally suspended in 1879 but in 1880 a marine on Mosquito was sentenced to 25 lashes and 2 years hard labour although the Admiralty cancelled the flogging. Note that it is still "suspended" (as is the press gang act.) (1977)Last hanging from the Yard arm was Marine John Dallinger HMS Leven 13 July 1860 for shooting at and wounding 2 officers on the China Station. 2 hours after sailing he was buried at sea. Log records -14 July 0640 committed remains to the deep, Expended hammocks, 2 in number, round shot, 10 in number.
 All from Hurrah for the Life of a Sailor 1977

Offline kyn

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2008, 19:20:49 »
The view from Spur Battery







Due to the flogging being public or semi-public i think it was likely to have been on the highest point in view of the public! 

I hadn't heard of this happening here either!

merc

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Re: Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2008, 19:00:49 »
Wow,very interesting Kyn.
I never knew they carried out floggings on the Spur Battery.
I wonder where about's on the battery that happened ?
maybe in or near the sunken courtyard maybe.


Offline kyn

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Flogging at Chatham
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2008, 18:32:12 »
Floggings in Chatham were usually undertaken in semi-public upon the Spur Battery at Fort Amherst.  Later they were carried out at Fort Clarence Military Prison.
The following statement is from a local paper published in the mid 19th Century as part of a campaign to abolish flogging.

The scene is the Spur Battery, Chatham Lines, occupying about an acre of ground, enclosed on all sides by a mound or parapet, except the entrance gate which can be closed at pleasure.  Here the regiment and sometimes the whole Garrison is drawn up in the form of a sqaure.

The prisoner being stripped to the waist and pinioned to the triangle at the wrists, elbows, knees and ankles.  The first drummer inflicts 25 lashes and is then succeeded by another witha  clean cat, and so on until the punishment is completed.  The younger drum boys are compelled to be present, a practice which ensures them to their future duty of applying the lash.  In some cases they are employed to drown the sufferes cries with their drums.  On the left stands the Drum Major with his cane whose duty it is to number the lashes, counting "slow time" and also to se ethe flogger does his duty without flinching.  The Drum Major is also presumed to see that the ends of the cords of the cat are not tangled.  Near the feet of the prisoner is a bowl of water provided to allay the feverish thirst produced by the torture, or to restore him if he should faint.

The Regimental Doctor with "cocked hat" is attentively watching the sufferer.  The medical officer is not present for the purpose of assuaging pain or relieving suffering but to assetain the limits of human suffering!

 

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