HC Deb 23 February 1949 vol 461 cc1833-4
1. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether records are kept of corporal punishment inflicted on young sailors in the Royal Navy; whether they are examined by his Department; and what form these punishments take.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Walter Edwards)

Records of the caning of boys, to which I presume this Question refers, are included in the quarterly returns of punishments rendered by each ship and establishment. These are examined in the Admiralty, but not with particular reference to caning. Commanders-in-Chief are under instructions, before forwarding the returns to the Admiralty, to investigate any returns where the number of canings seems unduly high, or any entry in the daily record where a punishment of caning seems to have been awarded for an offence of insufficient gravity. This punishment is inflicted with a light and ordinary cane, and the offender wears trousers and pants.

Mr. McGovern

Can the hon. Gentleman state whether or not this punishment is inflicted in the presence of the members of the crews of ships or in barracks? Is it public?

Mr. Edwards

I am afraid that I cannot answer that question without notice, but I am rather of the opinion that what the hon. Member appears to suggest is not the case.

Mr. Evans

Is there an upper age limit for the infliction of this punishment?

Mr. Edwards

The highest age limit is 18, but most of the boys have been rated above that age and therefore they do not come within the punishment.