Articles of War

Discussion in 'History' started by hammockhead, Feb 16, 2006.

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  1. The Articles of War (currently Part I of the Naval Discipline Act 1957) are about to be replaced by the Armed Forces Bill currently before Parliament.

    Apart from the fact that we will soon not have a specific naval "Articles of War", the Bill will abolish the current Article 1 (s. 1, Naval Discipline Act 1957), which reads:

    This has headed every Articles of War since they first were issued in the 1650s, but there is no equivalent provision in the new Bill.

    I think this is another step down the slippery slope of political correctness, atheism and general pinko leftyism.
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  2. Or simply reflecting current trends in society with regard to church going/religion?
  3. It'll be a shame seeing the old Articles of War going. The other night I pointed out to the permanent staff that the Articles of War posted in our RU were dated 1997, and therfore still stated the certain offences carried the penalty of death.
  4. If the height of the Navy's ambitions was to "reflect current trends in society" we'd allow smoking dope, hoodies and ripped jeans in the wardroom, flexitime for those who want the occasional weekday sleep-in and first-name terms with the CO.

    I agree with the following from the Britannia Guide for YOs -

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  5. Been there done that, negat dope, Marlboro lite instead!
  6. Have you been in wardroom lately? The scuffs bars are always fuller than the main bars. Dress code at dinner has been relaxed etc. The Navy will always (eventually) reflect society as a whole, to quote the seedier aspects of society in a defence for no change is very blinkered. Nor is the the navy's role to promote or encourage religion. The quote from QRRN's simply does not reflect the way the majority of people feel nowadays. Religion is an individual matter, that should be respected and time allowed for; not a mandatory requirement.
  7. And I thought the Crusades were over.

    With regards to that quote from the Britannia Guide for YOs, I agree that an individuals right to their religious beliefs is fundemental in modern society. But I must poo poo the idea that it is an invaluable tool for guidance. Lets see where it has lead one the worlds most powerful christian (Bush Jnr) and the poor souls he sent to war.
  8. No-one is suggesting that divine service should be compulsory or that anyone has to have anything shoved down their throats. What the first Article of War requires is simply that commanding officers ensure that facilities are in place for religious observance. Firstly, it's all too easy to fall along with the peer pressure and apathy bordering on hostility that militates against religious observance in this country. When the shit hits the fan and you have lumps of metal looking looking to make a great hole in you, I think the general view suddently becomes that these things start to matter a lot more, and if you have allowed the chaplaincy and the habit of divine service to fall into disuse then you have let down your men. Secondly, ritual and routine are conducive to discipline, and I don't know anyone who would, for example, want to turn Remembrance Sunday into a secular event.

    I agree that the quote from QRRN goes beyond that, and sounds very dated. But the first Article of War is of much earlier provenance, and that is why I started this thread in the Naval History forum. I think it is still consonant with the values of the Service, and it would be a great shame to lose it after 350 years. As for George Bush, let's also remember that it was religious campaigners like Wilberforce and Buxton that set the Royal Navy to the task of suppressing the slave trade, for fifty years with 25 ships and over 2000 men at any one time on the disease-ridden West Africa station.
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  9. Agreed that it was christians that did great deal of the work to stop slavery, but they were the free thinkers who were able to get their nose out of the book and see that it was people that needed to take action. And there is no question on the value of the Chaplains (one of the greatest sources of dirty jokes).

    I don't want to see Rememberance Sunday become a secular event but as an atheist in a guard on Remembarance Sunday I am there for all who fought and fell. It can only be of benefit to us all when other faiths are able to send representatives.

    By the way, on the matter of routine, I was made to listen to the Archers on Sunday and give a full account to my Colour Sergeant instead of going to church.
  10. While on this subject ... Does anyone have the Articles current in WW2. I've been contacted by an ex-matelot who joined as a boy in 1944 and was sent to his first ship whereupon he s**t himself when the owner read the Articles of War.
    I think he fancies doing it again and is keen to see a set.

    Anyone help?
  12. As an atheist I object to being lumped together with pinko leftists and the politically correct.

    I would.

    I have felt for some time now that the main urge to religious belief is fear. For most people it is fear of the unknown in general and death specifically. Those of us who deliberately go in harm's way are, perhaps, more likely to need religious belief as a result.

    As for the moral aspect of religion, I maintain that ethical conduct does not depend on religious belief. Again, as an atheist, I shall be offended if you suggest that it is not possible for me to separate right from wrong. I think it is actually easier to behave in a truly ethical fashion if you are not dragging a vast baggage of absolute rules about with you: you have to think about what you are doing.
  13. Its because the head of the country, armed forces and OUR boss is the queen, she also has another hat, I/C Cof E. If you cant understand that, join the pongo's!
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  14. Monty, I suggest your friend contacts the National Maritime Museum's Caird Library. They should be able to send him a photocopy (for a modest fee). For details visit:

    contact: (0)20 8312 6528/6432/6673 or e-mail [email protected]

    The other alternative source, should you need to get your hands on obscure legislation, is the House of Lords Library, which unlike the House of Commons Library, can be accessed by bona fide researchers. Stunning interior! Alternately your friend could write to his MP and ask if the Commons Library could furnish him with a copy, which would of course, only cost him the postage stamp.
  15. Not sure I get your point. Not trying to be funny but are you saying that because our boss is C of E we should be to. I don't want to misunderstand what is being said so if you could clarify the point being made it would be appreciated.

  16. This was presumably the basis upon which all Juniors (both U and UA) had to attend Divine Service (or do extra work)? Many put down C of E because they did not want the extra work (or hassle). I would welcome a Remembrance Day Service that focused upon those who sacrificed their lives for us and did not feel that not to associate it with faith was wrong or insulting to those, some of whom had no belief, who made the ultimate sacrifice. Ideally it would be be both Pan Religious and Humanist/Athiest, to represent all.

    On the issue of slavery mentioned earlier, it should be borne in mind that Christian evangelism in Wilberforce's time was associated with free thinking and not, as it has largely become today, a refuge for Christian fundamentalists. After all modern evangelicals have asserted, in trying to overcome their dilemma on the theologically thorny issue of homosexuality, that slavery was a primitive form of welfare state, and so was justified, contextually. Their problem is that inerrantcy precludes context: rather it remains an eternal value (Aquinas). After all if Christians can view slavery contextually, so, logically, they must also view homosexuality contextually! I retain my strong moral values - derived from reason (as a Humanist) and out of the horror of what Christian Europe did to our Jewish populations.

    The C of E's strong condemnation of anti-Semitism in the 1930s would in the context of the time, be seen as PC - as anti-Semitism was widespread, especially in the British Establishment. Criticising "political correctness" is dangerous - those in the media who have a habit of calling others PC are usually those who dislike having their conservative opinions questioned. I can still remember the days (1970s) when black recruits in the Andrew were not promoted beyond PO on the grounds that, on account of nothing more than their skin colour, they would not command respect and it would, somehow, undermine discipline! Interestingly identical arguments were wheeled out against black, gay and female recruits both in the media and by senior officers in the RN. I always found it interesting that the same old arguments were rolled out without a shred of evidence to support them. Where has that got us? These types of discrimination were wrong.
  17. Apologies... I think I've strayed off topic... :? :oops:
  18. Maybe it's time to resurrect this topic! I remember seeing the Articles of War when they were still in force when I was in the Cadets. Seeing a document that spoke plainly of God and the death sentence was very memorable in an already dull world. I was disappointed when I found that something that memorable had been replaced by an anodyne Act of Parliament whose strongest punishment seemed to be sending naughty soldiers/sailors/airmen to bed without supper.

    New Labour's crusade against everything remotely challenging or worthwhile had many victories, but the tide seems to be turning against them. We will probably have a Conservative Party government for a good ten years. We might get the chance to restore the death sentence for the growing number of bearded murdering traitors who go away for long trips to Syria or Iraq. There's plenty of competition for being Alan B'Stard in the modern Tory Party! Hopefully the Articles of War will make a comeback!

    I'm not particularly religious but our having become a more secular society has not had a great positive effect. Thanks perhaps to the NuLab years, we have become very selfish and entitled as a society. I do not think religion has suffered so much in the Forces but there's always the temptation to sweep it all away. As usual, little good will come of it except making a small group of monied people feel better about themselves.
  19. To me, as an atheist, the CoE element gives structure to many of our traditions and institutions. It's what we do and how we do it. Start buggering about with those and we are on the slippery slope to yet more "do what the hell you want" and mediocrity. As a lad, I used to rebel against the God bothering stuff; but I later grew up and saw the bigger picture.
  20. We have now also lost the daily ability to have the Holy Ghost Stand Fast.
    It's all sinking fast.

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