In 1846 Private Frederick John White was awarded 150 lashes by Courts Martial and flogged. He died 26 days later on the 11th July and is buried in Heston Churchyard, Gt. London. The headstone was initially re-erected in 1886, but after re-lettering in 1962 and subsequent damage by vandals in 1974 and again in 1977, The Regiment finally replaced the complete headstone.
What follows is an extract from:
The History of The 7th Queen’s Own Hussars Vol. II, by C.R.B. Barretts
15 June a private of the Regiment at Hounslow who had been guilty of
insubordination was sentenced to receive one hundred and fifty lashes.
The punishment, it was proved, was not severely inflicted, if the
subsequent evidence given by the doctor is to be credited, and there is
no reason to impugn his testimony.
name of this man was Frederick White. It appears that for the purpose of punishment he was tied to
a ladder, the ordinary triangle not being, it would seem, available; and
as far as one can see this was the only departure from the ordinary
method of inflicting corporal punishment.
Warren, the surgeon of the Regiment, who had of course been present at
the punishment, did all that he could to relieve the man.
Paralysis of the lower extremities, however, was
discovered, and the unfortunate soldier died at 8.15 p.m. on 11 July.
was given in evidence that the man had, on 4 July, when seemingly in
good health, been employed in cleaning out the mortuary and also with
other patients in his ward in the hospital on the ordinary duties
performed by those in hospital.
was endeavoured to be made out of the fact that the mortuary was a small
room with a stone floor, and damp.
It was sworn that during his punishment White made ‘little or
no motion with his body and kept his breast towards the ladder without
the least struggle or twisting himself.’
Dr. Warren stated that ‘never did I witness so little muscular
effort in all the punishments I have witnessed, as I did in this case.’
There was no spasmodic action of the muscles of the back on
either side, and being close by, if there had been I must have seen it.’
was stated that on receipt of a letter from his brother in America on 7
July, White was ‘observed to be despondent,’ but how this affected
the matter cannot be exactly discovered, as the first serious symptoms
appeared on 6 July. Public
attention was of course drawn to the matter, and it came before the
House of Lords on 14 August in connection with a petition for the
immediate abolition of flogging in the Army.
to abolish flogging in the Army were unsuccessfully made in 1876 and
1877. In 1879 flogging was
reduced by the Army Discipline Act and rendered commutable to
imprisonment. The total
abolition of this form of punishment did not take place until 1881, when
other penalties were substituted therefore.
It is curious to note that there seems to be no record of the
details of the offence for which this man was flogged.
According to the rules of the service at that date, the amount of punishment awarded was not stated to be excessive.
A book entitled: "The Strange Death of Private White” is available on-line at www.militarybookworm.co.uk
Harry Hopkins. Published 1977,
Weidfenfeld & Nicholson