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Caned Wrens

January 31 2007 at 8:06 PM

The following appears on the web in response an article published by the Sunday Telegraph, last year, personal accounts of canings received by Wrens from male officers.

The Navy being flogging mad and the Cira 1950’s accounts could stand some truth, although sceptical.

Not much luck locating the Original Sunday telegraph article , anyone have the link or remember reading such.

further link to or for fuller accounts

New Statesman, London, 27 February 2006
The media column

Peter Wilby gets down and dirty with Sarah Sands

It is several months since I last highlighted the exciting innovations of Sarah Sands, newish editor of the Sunday Telegraph, which she relaunched last year as "something lovely". But her drive to change this "absolute core Conservative paper" (her words) has not diminished. Her latest decision is to run readers' letters normally confined to publications purchased (or so I am told) in the Soho area. Readers of a sensitive disposition should now turn to another page.

The correspondence began last month after a news story revealed that army instructors were struggling to enforce discipline at training centres because they feared accusations of bullying. "Douglas Dickins, London NW11" wrote that, at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in the 1920s, miscreants "received six of the best on a bare bottom". What happens now, he asked, given Dartmouth has women?

Next week, "Gwen Lawes, Cobham, Kent" wrote that she and others were caned at a Wrens' school in the 1950s, "though it wasn't bare but over our knickers". "Mavis Parker, Quorn, Leicestershire" could, so to speak, beat that. At "the Royal Naval School in Portsmouth" in the 1940s, she got "30 of the very best and I could not sit down for five days".

Some editors might then have closed the correspondence. Not the daring Sands. "Any advance on 30?" asked an optimistic reader the following week. There was. Last Sunday, "Doris Benson, Bristol" claimed 36 in four days, also in Portsmouth, on "my bare backside . . . with . . . a big bamboo cane".

But "Beryl Smith, London NW8" could cap that. At an Irish convent school in the 1950s she twice got "a barely credible 144" (pun intended?) with a 12in tawse, tied to a whipping horse in front of the whole school.

Sunday Telegraph, London, 5 February 2006
Bare bottom caning
Your correspondent who as a Wren was caned over her knickers had it easy (Letters, January 29). In the 1940s, it was a daily routine for cadets at the Royal Naval School in Portsmouth to be beaten on their bare buttocks.

Once, for carelessly discharging a clip of live ammunition, the commanding officer gave me 30 of the very best and I could not sit down for five days.

Mavis Parker, Quorn, Leicestershire

Sunday Telegraph, London, 29 January 2006
Errant Wrens
If Douglas Dickins (letter, January 22) is interested, I attended a Wrens' Naval Cadets training school in London, in the early 1950s. We were subjected to similar discipline, which did sometimes include being caned on the behind, though it wasn't bare but over our knickers. I don't think it did me any harm, but I don't think it did me any good either. What I do know is, bullying still went on, but we did tend to show more respect to authority and we were certainly not as rude as our modern-day counterparts, male and female.

(Mrs) Gwen Lawes, Cobham, Kent

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Big John Peacehaven

Re: Caned Wrens

January 31 2007, 8:35 PM 

More on these letters, including a picture of the fragrant Sarah (known as ‘Super Saz’) can be found on page 7 under the threads ‘sunday telegraph letter’ and ‘schoolgirl bottom smacking in 60’s 70’s papers’.

The word on the street is that Super Saz wrote the letters herself.

Steve M

Re: Caned Wrens

January 31 2007, 9:21 PM 


This looks even more now than when first posted to be a load of old cobblers.

No naval authority would countenance WOMEN being treated in this manner and never has.

If the errant cadet or sailor before you is capable of receiving "The Golden Rivet", that might be a different matter.

But neither you nor Lotta, for example, would know what that means, so don't worry about it.

The Telegraph is one paper known to be great at inventing letters, rather than being the victim of hoax letters.

Steve M


Re: The navy has it all

February 1 2007, 5:24 AM 

Cheers lads.

The gunner's daughter, the golden Rivet, Kiss me Hardy, Gays coming out, the Navy's had its moments!!

How else are you going to get the beggars to enlist life on the ocean waves, Unless you offer, enough rum and as many wrens as you can spank, before being flogged over a gun, rammed up the jacksy and given a kiss by your commanding officer.

OK , I did say Sceptical, Don’t read the Telegraph, apart from F Footy, (there’s a disaster,) airports aren’t the best, with clapped out laptop, no sleep, fantasy and reality merging, No spottings of Bozo's boy/girl scout neckerchief brigade yet, avoiding the sushi bars and colonic irrigation is enough.


Thanks for an idea!!

‘KAZABO’ along with ‘BENDOON’, (that Golden Rivet has some meaning), now registered, Such great name for companies.

I pity the embarrassed government officials that oneday suddenly twig, what's been going on under their noses for months,

Golden Rivet!!! there's a thought.


Steve M

Re: The navy has it all

February 1 2007, 6:08 PM 


Well done!

It always surprised me, given the presence on board of Master Bates and Mr Seaman, that Captain Pugwash's ship was called the Black Pig and not the.....

Perhaps Tom the Cabin Boy kept quiet and said nothing for a good reason-rivetus auriculus essurant silencium!

Sorry, but was in the oiks stream at Grammar & never did Latin, so the above may not be grammatically pure.

Steve M


I would do the Fantasy Football if you could have Lotta in your team, but she's not recognised in any squad-shame!


Re: The navy has it all

February 1 2007, 8:18 PM 

Sorry Steve but (doing a Lotta) the idea that Pugwash's ship had mariners with smutty names is an urban myth:-

Steve M

Re: The navy has it all

February 1 2007, 9:00 PM 


To quote another nautical character from cartoon land(and one who definitely seemed a bit suspect!)


You are probably right. Without an early videotape of the show, we shall never know for certain.

If only J's cousin had been there at Television Centre in 1958-67 with a bloody sound camcorder!

Actually, I'd never heard of ROGER the cabin boy before, so it may indeed be an invention en bloc. I only remember Black Jake in fine detail, as we applied that witty epithet to our Head of French, with his permanent 12 o'clock shadow, black courderoy jacket and very large Citroen Avant-Quinze.

Now there was a style guru-a clear spiritual precursor of Eric Cantona and Goths. Never needed to resort to CP, either-far too great a wit to need it!

Steve M


Re: The navy has it all

February 2 2007, 6:10 AM 


Pugwash was much better in the glory of his alternate crew, with young cabin boy roger, surprised you missed that one

'ch latins cyfieithadwy - your Latin’s translatable, on par with my Welsh, not up to standard the Cymraeg ddraig expected.

Ah yes, Billions of Bilious Blue Blistering Barnacles, as spoken by Tintin’s mate the alcoholic Captain Haddock, the crab with the golden claws, another naval infliction??

the Navy Lark a wasted TV opportunity.

FF. Only one position for our Lotta, referee, might have a slight problem with red cards and the opposition, would make for a good match,

‘J’ and his cousin?????


Research Assistant 2

Another fantasist writes...

February 24 2007, 11:30 AM 

…to the FemaleFirst Forum, a message board where contributions from several of our old, and new, friends can be found:

Posted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:59 pm Post subject: Naval discipline for Wrens

My Grandmother used to tell me tales about when she was in the WRNS during WW2.

Gran joined the Wrens when she was just turned 18 and after a few months training in England was posted to Malta where she worked as a clerk/typist at a large base near Valetta. She said that once overseas the discipline was a lot stricter than in England. And that Wren ratings were subject to corporal punishment in the form of caning if they misbehaved.

The judge and jury for imposing such discipline was the commandant of Wrens on the base. Gran described her as being in her 40s and spoke with a very "posh" accent. She said though she was a fair woman but had a reputation for giving very short shrift to any Wrens who misbehaved. I suppose with over 200 hormonal young women in charge she needed to be firm. So she would frequently order a caning for any ratings who misbehaved if she thought it needed.

My Gran’s first experience of such naval discipline was soon after her arrival in Malta. She and three of her pals were not back to base before the time were supposed to be after being out one night. They were caught trying to sneak back on to the base through the fence.

Appearing before the commandant the following morning she ordered all four of them to be given six strokes of the cane on the seat of the knickers. The punishment was carried out nearly straight away. Gran and her three co-offenders who were all a similar age to her were taken to an adjacent gymnasium and had to change into their PT kit. Each in turn then had to bend over a vaulting horse and were given six strokes of the cane on the seat of their gym-knickers. The canings were administered by a Chief Wren (equivalent to Chief Petty Officer). Gran described her as being a very stout woman, quite masculine looking with a very sour face. She tanned their arses using a slim and whippy crook handled cane of the type normally used on the backsides of juvenile boys in the navy. Gran said it hurt worse than anything other than childbirth.

Gran and her for [sic] mates had to get back to work soon after their punishments. Gran said she couldn't sit down afterwards her bum was so sore. She had to stand at her desk for the rest of the day. This brought a few wry comments from the people she worked with and visitors to her office. It soon became common knowledge that she had recently been caned. She couldn't sit comfortably for days and it was a few weeks before marks faded altogether.

Gran also told me of another caning she witnessed some time later. This was of three young Wrens who had been found guilty of stealing stuff from the stores where they worked and selling it on the black market. The commandant thought in this case an example needed to be made. The three were sentenced to a period of detention. But the commandant also ordered that they would be caned in front of the whole "Ships Company".

All the Wren ratings on the base were assembled in the same gymnasium where Gran had been caned to witness the punishments of the three miscreants. There were two younger girls who were about 18/19 who were to get 10 strokes of the cane each and an older girl aged about 20 who was considered the ringleader was going to get 12 strokes.

Gran said punishments were carried out by the same Wren Chief Petty Officer who had caned her and her gang. She was also using a similar cane to one that she had felt on her own backside.

The three were marched into the gym under escort dressed in their PT kit. Each girl was then in turn was held bent over a gym horse. But unlike gran and her mates once over the horse these three had their navy gym-knickers pulled down! Their bottoms bared for all to see!

As Gran knew from her own painful experience that the sour-faced female CPO had a strong arm. She said her own behind tingled in sympathy as the whippy cane relentlessly did its job reddening the three bare behinds one after the other! Each girl raised as they got their arses tanned good and proper, naval fashion!

Gran said by the end of their punishments the trio were bawling as though they would never stop. All three were lined up handcuffed with their arms stretched up on gym's wall-bars with their caned backsides on display for all to see as the rest of the Wrens filed out of the gym.

Gran said witnessing the canings and the sight of the three red-raw striped backsides they produced certainly had the intended deterrent effect on the rest of the young women.


Steve M

Re: Another fantasist writes...

February 24 2007, 11:32 PM 

Judical corporal punishment was abolished in the services sometime in the 19th century.

As all Granny's fantasy Wrens were above the age for enlistment to the services(17 in the war),they were not cadets, and therefore servicewomen.

In other words, the Commandant would have been court-martialled had she or any one else laid a finger on the fantasy Wrens, which, given the story is the biggest insult to the intelligence ever seen on here, would not be easy.

Given the handcuffing rubbish as well, one can only bemoan the lack of imaginative fantasy on the other site.

Steve M


Bob T

Re: Another fantasist writes...

February 25 2007, 12:33 AM 

I agree. The only reason I didn't post something earlier was because I was trying to decide who I thought wrote that rubbish.

I've decided it must be one of the Brian's. Most likely the one Gillian used to deride on a weekly basis.

This message has been edited by larry1951 on Feb 25, 2007 6:01 AM


Re: Caned Wrens

January 3 2008, 1:56 AM 

did wrens wear slips

American Way

Female thieves publicly punished on their "bare doup".

April 13 2013, 5:15 PM 

News to me in the USA but I'm sure known by many of this estimable Forum so forgive me if it is old hat. I'm sure it may capture someone's attention: it didn't escape mine. The UK military use to inflict corporal punishment on the "bare doup" of female thieves. Judicial flogging in the UK history involved stripping from the waste up and laid on the back. Had they not it would have make for an even more spectacle.

A History of the Coldstream Guards, from 1815 to 1895. By Sir John Foster George Ross of Bladensburg




"Wellington's Provost Marshal became so infuriated with the women who believed that they could plunder with impunity that he once flogged more than a dozen at a time, giving them 'sax sic and thirty lashes a piece on the bare doup. And it was lang afore it was forgotten on 'em', according to a Highland soldier who witnessed the punishment."Annabel Venning, Following the Drum: The Lives of Army Wives and Daughters Past and Present (London: Headline, 2005), 139 May 11, 2010).

My fellow Forumites it's time for another sabbatical. Even busy beavers need to hibernate from time to time. happy.gif


Re: Caned Wrens

April 13 2013, 5:38 PM 

"My fellow Forumites it's time for another sabbatical" Farewell American Way, and may you come back soon!

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