Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Field Punishment No. 1 in the British Army

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Field punishment was introduced into the British Army in 1881 following the abolition of flogging. It was a common punishment during World War I when commanders could impose what were called Field Punishments No. 1 and 2. Field Punishment No. 1, nicknamed “crucifixion” by the soldiers, entailed labor duties and attachment to a fixed object such as a post or wheel for two hours a day. Soldiers viewed Field Punishment No. 1 as particularly degrading. Rendered immobile by their restraints, soldiers could not move or scratch against common irritants such as flies or lice. Field Punishment No. 2 differed only in that the soldier was not bound to a fixed object. During World War I, Field Punishment No. 1 was issued by the British Army on 60,210 occasions. Field Punishment No. 1 was abolished in 1923 when an amendment to the Army Act which specifically forbade attachment to a fixed object was passed by the House of Lords.

Sources: Canadian War Museum, Wikipedia


  1. I'm reading Old Soldiers Never Die. The author says that Field Punishment 1 could be imposed without tying either the ankles or hands in 1916 and after. He also states that the time of punishment could be lessened by acts under fire and that many with sentences up to 90 days were exonerated. He even says that men sentenced to prison time could have their sentences suspended so they could go into an offensive. Cheers

    1. The author was Frank Richards, Blaina, Monmouthshire.