Some Archaic British Military Punishments

A comprehensive list on this subject would also include at least C&B (confined to barracks), picking oakum whilst confined to a punishment cell, flogging at the Halberds or running the gauntlet, and riding the Strapado (wooden horse).

Pack Drill

Pack Drill as a military punishment had different interpretations in different eras. In the middle of the nineteenth century it meant doing defaulters doing punishment drills for an extended period of time (60 minutes) wearing full pack, loaded and weighed in addition to rifle and at the double (ie marching double quick time)

Irish Soldier of 1899

In the twentieth century it came to mean reporting to the guard room wearing full marching kit and pack for inspection. Punishment drill, pack drill and pelote are prohibited in interpretations of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

70th Middlesex Regiment, 1941

25 Battery in Yamaguchis, Japan, 1940s

Field Punishment

In the field, summary punishments were usually preferred to more formal legal proceedings. Facilities for imprisonment were limited, and every convicted soldier removed from active service placed an added burden on the rest of the troops in the company.

Field Punishment Number 1 consisted of the convicted man being shackled in irons and secured to a fixed object, often a gun wheel or similar. He could only be thus fixed for up to 2 hours in 24, and not for more than 3 days in 4, or for more than 21 days in his sentence. This punishment was often known as 'crucifixion' and due to its humiliating nature was viewed by many Tommies as unfair.

Field Punishment Number 2 was similar except the man was shackled but not fixed to anything.

Both forms were carried out by the office of the Provost-Marshal, unless his unit was officially on the move when it would be carried out regimentally i.e. by his own unit.

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