Booty slap: Royal Marines court-martialed over spanking initiation

British Royal Marines Commandos © Goran Tomasevic
Four members of the elite Royal Marines – navy soldiers colloquially known as boot-necks or booties – are being court-martialed over a drunken hazing ritual in which junior personnel were injuriously spanked with a 2ft computer wrist support named ‘Big Red.’

The senior marines, all in their 30s, are being court-martialed over the incident in which 50 commandos turned up to be ‘reefed’ (punished) with the red keyboard wrist support during a drinking session at Bickleigh Barracks, Devon.

The hazing took place during the corps’ 350th birthday celebrations in 2014.

Junior marines were forced to stand on a table with their trousers and underwear down and entertain the others with a song or ‘dit’ – slang for a story.

Two sergeants, Richard Melia and Ian Spence, and a pair of corporals, Robert Wake and John Arnett, admitted failing to perform their public duty by allowing the event to continue and are to be sentenced Friday.

The number of lashes inflicted with “Big Red” appears to have been determined by the roll of a dice. Some marines were reportedly unable to sit down for a fortnight afterward.

One junior soldier who complained he needed antiseptic for his injuries had his bottom doused with vodka by Spence.

They were under a duty to stop what took place. Due to their presence and actions, they encouraged what took place,” Lieutenant Colonel Victoria Phillips, prosecuting, told the court.

In May three other marines were jailed for subjecting new commandos to a “depraved” ordeal which included waterboarding and drinking a mix of urine and alcohol from a paddling pool.

Marines Ian Tennet, Scott Simm and James Taylor were all sentenced to custodial sentences for mistreatment of a subordinate.

Also in May it was reported that several British soldiers were facing disciplinary action after a video emerged allegedly showing an abusive hazing ritual where troops bare-knuckle box and drink human waste.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) ordered an inquiry into the video footage, which was filmed at Britain’s largest army base, Catterick Garrison barracks.

Video footage shows men in the communal area of the barracks drinking what is alleged to be human waste from cups, while those who have already taken part vomit into a plastic box.