Extract from ‘A Naval Life’

Marx at Britannia:

Unbeknown to Marx however, some people were beginning to take an interest in the increasing severity of birchings at Britannia and were about to ·kick up a row· about the regime. But it was not until John Marx had left that Mr. Bass, the Liberal member for Derby, asked questions in Parliament. On the 25th July 1867, he tackled the First Lord, Mr.Corry, on the question of excessive punishment at Britannia and asked Mr. Bass whether,

when a cadet was punished his arms and legs were tied to ring bolts so that he could not move and that he was flogged with a birch broom which had previously been steeped in water to make it more pliant, that fifteen cuts were inflicted with it on the back and that doctors invariably attended.

Mr Corry declared that this was not so, that he had ordered an investigation and that punishment at Britannia paralleled that of other schools.

Mr Bass : The arms are not tied to ringbolts?
Mr Corry : Certainly not.

Here is Marx’s account of procedure under Randolph,

May 1866….two fellows were birched yesterday for buying biscuits at a turnpike. The way it is done the fellows are all drawn up on the lower deck the culprit has his briches taken down by two corporals a table is lashed in a port forward on the Starboard side and the fellos mattress is lashed down to it then a fellow is lashed to four ringbolts by the two corporals hands and legs across the table and the Commander says doe your duty and then it commences one fellow bore his dozen with out a word the other fellowed (sic) howled at half a dozen it was not very hard I was told by some fellows as I did not see them a fellow was bunked the other day for going up in the model room and cutting some very jolly rattling on one of the cadets models.

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