you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
21st November 2003flogging
By l.j.knight
i have read and led to believe that at the time of the A.Z.W.flogging on the whole was being phased out in the british army. why then under chelmsfords generalship was flogging so prevelant.[over 500 ] was he after his recall censured in any way.? what was a typical flogging offense,? how many blows, how was it carried out. etc! sorry if this subject has been done to death before.
25th November 2003Adrian Whiting
The development of army law leading to punishments such as flogging is not really an area of expertise for me, but in the interest of trying to help answer your question, I will attempt to have a go !

In 1879 the law relating to army punishments etc was contained within the Mutiny Act, Articles of War, Queen's Regulations and Army Orders. In July 1879, so too late for the war in question, the Mutiny Act and Articles of War were formalised into one statute, the Army Discipline and Regulation Act 1879. This was subsequently replaced with the Army Act 1881. Section VI of the Queen's Regs then continued to supplement this, along with Army Orders.

Basically the legislation enabled the handing down of more severe penalties for offences committed whilst a soldier was on active service. Thus in 1879, whilst flogging was not available as a judicial disposal during Home service, it was available on active service.

It is my understanding that flogging was available to any of the three types of Court Martial, for application to summary offences i.e. those triable in the civil magistrates courts. A Court Martial had powers to try civil offences as well as military ones in order to be able to maintain discipline within the military setting.

Flogging was therefore available for offences such as drunkeness. Bear in mind that the potential penalty for an act of falling asleep whilst on sentry duty could be death.

I do not know how many lashes would be awarded, it may be that other contributors can add what offences were flogged during the war, and how many lashes were awarded - basically it would appear to be applicable to what in civilian life might be seen as minor matters, but in war were pretty critical.

I hope this helps,

26th November 2003l.j.knight
thanks Adrian,
that of course was very helpful,i have printed off your reply so i can digest it at my liesure,
i am very interested to know the mechanics of the thing ie.was the individual's flogged at company or battalion level. and as said the a.z.w. was a very brutal campaign with such an high proportion of floggings was there no cotempory records[ not counting Isandhlwana
of course ] where i could check for myself, and is Chelmsford's private papers available to scrutiny by joe public,ta.
27th November 2003paul naish
If memory serves me correctly, there were 513 recorded cases of flogging during the Zulu campagn.

1st December 2003Mike McCabe
And, a member of 5th Fd Coy RE was flogged for drunkeness on the troop transport whilst at sea in early January 1879 - it being considered that those deploying to a future theatre of war were already 'on operations'. Source: 5th Coy RE Pay and Muster Rolls, WO series in PRO.