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The Ways of the Navy.
The Ways of the Navy. 
 

Western Mail, Thursday 14 September 1933, page 2

The Ways of the Navy.

In the summer of 1916 it was my unpleasant duty to have to sit on a court martial at one of the naval bases in Scotland. It is said that comedy is seldom far removed from tragedy. The incident here related proved to be no exception to the rule. It was an ordinary case of insubordination where a stoker was arraigned for threatening to strike a petty officer when given an order in the course of duty.

As most of your service readers, will know, cases, of this description are usually not so simple as they appear on the charge sheet. There is always the risk that, underlying the accusation, is severe provocation and even bullying on the part of the petty officer. Since the offence is, under the Naval Code, a very serious one, it is considered necessary to try it in full court.

The Court was duly convened with all the solemn .and. impressive trappings of a Naval Court-Martial. The members, in full uniform, were presided over, by an extremely corpulent Post Captain.

The accused, an East London stoker of the "gor-blimy" genus, was marched in under escort. "Cap off" rapped out the Petty Officer in charge of the escort. The prisoner complied and turned a sulky, defiant eye on the assembled gathering.

The usual question was then asked; had he any objection to being tried by an individual of the Court there assembled. Stepping forward a pace, the stoker put his chin out and answered: “Object? Yus, I object to the whole ruddy lot of yer, specially that pot-bellied old blartah sitting at the top o' the tahble!"

G.L.K. (late Lieut. R.N.R.), Piawaning