§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in view of the statements of the ill-treatment of boys on the training ship "Boscawen," submitted to him a few days ago, which statements were signed by the boy who was bought out of the Navy on account of such treatment, he will have the regulations so altered that corporals of training ships shall no longer be allowed to use or carry canes, and that no other corporal punishment shall be inflicted on boys except that of not more than twelve strokes with the birch, such birch to be constructed practically the same as those used in public schools, and that only one man shall be employed to flog one boy.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. PRETYMAN, Suffolk, Woodbridge)
As this statement refers to irregularities which are alleged to have taken place in 1892 and 1893, it is not proposed to take any action in the matter. Ships' corporals are not allowed to carry canes. As regards the last part of the hon. Member's Question, I have nothing to add to what I have already said on the subject, both in debate and in reply to Questions.
§ MR. HUNT
Was it not stated in 1892–3 that flogging with a birch pickled in brine was so severe that a boy had to be examined by the ship's doctor before he was birched, and after the birching had to be taken to the sick bay, and was there made a prisoner, and guarded from noon to sunset by a Marine to prevent him injuring himself.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
I think these statements are considerably exaggerated, and I have nothing to add to the Answer already given.
§ MR. PRETYMAN
Not because he is likely to faint, but because boys' constitutions vary, and precautions have to be taken.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn, Regis)
If a boy should shoot his bircher, would he be allowed to retire from the service?
§ [No Answer was returned.]