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flogging round the fleet

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A form of punishment in the old days of the British Navy for the more serious crimes committed on board. It could be awarded only by sentence of a court martial. The man undergoing sentence was placed in a boat in which a ship's grating had been lashed upright across the thwarts, and rowed alongside each ship lying in harbour. While bound to the grating he was given twelve strokes with a cat-o'-nine-tails by a boatswain's mate of the ship off which the boat was lying. After each infliction of a dozen strokes a blanket was thrown across his back while he was being rowed to the next ship, and it was usually necessary to ‘comb the cat’. A naval doctor was always in attendance in the boat to make certain that the man undergoing punishment was fit to receive further instalments of his sentence as he came alongside each ship. In each ship visited the crew were mustered on deck and in the rigging to witness the punishment, drums on board beating out the ‘Rogue's March’ as the boat approached.

See also cobbing.

See also cobbing.

Subjects: History

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