Revision as of 16:25, 4 June 2012 by Jameslovebirch (talk | contribs) (→‎Naval corporal punishment: film reference added)
"Kissing the gunner's daughter". Sketch by Spankart (2007).

A sailor is someone who operates a water-borne vessel which uses sails to convert wind power into motive power. Modern navies have retained the term for their members, despite the obsolescence of sailing vessels.

Naval corporal punishment

Main article: Military corporal punishment

Historically adult male sailors would be flogged on their backs while standing upright, tied to the mast or a grating. Such whippings were typically given with a Cat o' nine tails which was stored in Captain's cabin, leading to such punishments being euphemistically referred to as being put in bed with the Captain's daughter. Such punishments applied in the UK, US and probably other navies. Flogging for adult sailors was abolished in the US Navy in 1862 and in the Royal Navy in 1881.

British ships were also crewed by adolescent sailors and cabin boys who were not subject to such adult punishments but were often chastised on the bare buttocks in bent-over-object positions, with a reduced-size cat until the 1860s and thereafter with a birch. This was called kissing the gunner's daughter.[1]

Boy sailors (under 18) in the Royal Navy, more recently termed "Junior Seamen", could no longer be birched after 1906 except in the rare instance of a court-martial for homosexual activity. However, they were still subject to caning, which was widespread, and this continued until 1969.[2]

A recreation of the "kissing the gunner's daughter" punishment, with a young sailor bent over a cannon, is seen, albeit briefly, in the historical film The Bounty (1984). This is the third film version of the Mutiny on The Bounty story.

See also