The end of “beastings” in the Army?

Army infantry parade

It has been reported in the British media that soldiers will no longer have to undergo “excessive” physical exercise or even be shouted at by an NCO as part of a punishment. Known as a “beasting”, the changes have come about following an inquest in to the death of Private Gavin Williams who died in 2006 during one such “beasting”.

The inquest concluded that Private Williams had died after being forced to do intensive exercise after turning up for duty intoxicated with a mix of alcohol and ecstasy and setting off a fire extinguisher at his Wiltshire Barracks. He had also been absent without leave and had missed guard duty. The “beasting” he received included lifting weights and undertaking a gym session with a physical training instructor during which he died. The inquest stated that the Army had let down Private Williams by not taking in to account his physical condition during the session.

Additionally, at the Army’s training centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, it has been claimed that out-of-hours inspections, swearing and shouting in recruit’s faces has all been banned.

A number of observers have stated that the Army’s culture needs to change particularly when it comes to the treatment of new recruits going through training. There have been a number of fatalities in recent years during such training bringing the Army and the MoD’s health and safety procedures in to question. Traditionalists, however have argued that the new measures will go too far and soften the Army up.



4 responses to “The end of “beastings” in the Army?

  1. This was always going to be a contentious issue. In my day, such practices were the norm and thought to be ‘good for us’.nowadays, such practices can be considered abuse, assault, even attempted murder – and rightly so in some cases. But we are supposed to be training our soldiers for the rigours of combat. Where do we draw the line between preparation and punishment?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s two sides to this. If a soldier is captured he would not be spoken to or treated ‘nicely’ by his captors, a soldier needs to be strong, highly disciplined and able to withstand some pretty difficult treatment. The ‘accepted’ methods have certainly worked for many years and created an ethos admired the world over. However, as a punishment, this may well be ‘over-the-top’ and unsuitable for someone in his ‘condition’. Does running someone into the ground (as a punishment) really achieve anything? Maybe there other ways to make someone realise their actions are not up to the high standards expected of our armed forces!

    Liked by 2 people

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