The Articles of War

Discussion in 'History' started by Coventry_Kid, Jun 16, 2008.

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  1. I was sitting with an old boy the other day in the pub, and he mentioned to me that he'd been watching the TV series 'Warship'. He wondered why, after divine service on Sunday, that the Articles of War were not read out, as they used to be, says he (ex subs) in the fifties.

    Now I can't say that I remember them being read out in the late 60s to mid 70s, but then I never attended unless I had to...and I have a short attention span...

    Can any ex-matelot of suitable vintage recall the A of War being read out and when it was stopped?
  2. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    No recollection of them being read otherwise than in conjunction with punishment warrants.
  3. Read out to scare the life out of an extremely gullible RNXS nozzer* by some salty, ex 1950s-RN type (who shall remain nameless, because I've forgotten his name) in late 1980s...... :oops: ...but never officially (in peacetime).

    *The 'shall suffer D-E-A-T-H' bit...... :threaten:
  4. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Articles of War are read to the Ship's Company on commissioning (or re-commissioning) or at regular intervals as deemed necessary, so as to familiarise personnel with the Articles.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Have they been modernised now that the death penalty has been abolished in war time? Would a sleeping matelot on watch just get life imprisonment these days?
  6. More like a Make and Mend and all night in plus a Blue card. :thumright:
  7. So the Navy's abolished punishment on the grounds that it is cruel? :lol: ;)
  8. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Sleeping on watch is a Warrant punishment; in fact, as of 2006 all personnel charged with ANY offence under the NDA have the right to be tried by Courts-Martial.
  9. 1970s Our Captain was transfered from the ship due to an illness and the first thing that happened when we got underway was that the 1st Lt. who took over as Captain called all the officers to the wardroom and read the articles of War.Obviously the bit that declared that he was now the boss.

  10. Similar matter happened on the Chichester in the 70s if I recall correctly. The Captain was sent off, and the Jimmy took over and cleared lower deck to read the AoW

    Regards, Chris

  11. The old guy was right --- I remember in my General service days before going to S/m's the skipper on a Destroyer used to have ships company
    'prayers ' on Sundays and there used to be an extract of the Articles of War read out each time. That was very late 1950's .

    When someone was found guilty and punished by warrant punishment the ships company were mustered for a warrant reading with the guilty person
    standing under escort during the reading. Usually before he was shipped off to do detention.

    :nemo: :nemo:
  12. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    There is no legislation that requires a public reading of Punishment Warrants, but is usually deemed expedient by the CO as a deterrent to other members of the Ship's Company.
  13. Thanks for the replies chaps. Looks like the practise lapsed between late fifties and say middle sixties, except for special occasions.

    I do remember the CO reading out his commissioning warrant before the assembled ship's company, or on change of CO. And of course, the lower deck being cleared for the reading of punishment warrants, a fairly frequent occurence.

    The 'old boy' remembered most clearly the dire warnings of those acts that could attract death by hanging - it made an impression on him!
  14. Sadly the "Articles of War" as so-called will cease to exist on 8 November 2008, when they will be replaced with Part I of the Armed Forces Act 2006. I hope the Navy will still use the old name though.
  15. "Shall suffer death or such other punishment...." This gem was always cause for thought.

    Greenie had it: Read out at Sunday Divisions religiously, harbour & sea; except when things got busy. Practice seemed to slacken towards end of WW2.

    Re Detention: Understood there was a DQ Section at Dartmoor Prison during WW2. Anyone have anything on this?
    - May have been dreamed up to scare us; it certainly worked.

  16. Used to be a DQ in each ''Fleet '' Base
    Malta , Singapore etc etc.
    Used to be a common thought with guys who got DQ punishment that they would be flown /shipped home to do their time . No chance the army always had punishment cells that took in all services.

    Don't know about Dartmoor --could have been for the guys who were
    discharged dishonorably /no longer required and sentenced to imprisonment aswell .

    :nemo: :nemo:
  17. janner

    janner War Hero Book Reviewer

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    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Excellent find @janner.
  19. Is this the programme that changed DQ's for ever?

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