The Admiralty, terrified that rampant homosexuality in the Royal Navy would be used as a basis for subversion and blackmail, launched a repressive policy in the 1960s to rid the institution of homosexuality after a report claimed that half of the sailors had had homosexual sexual relations, according to documents released by the Public Records Office on Wednesday.
In 1969, a great number of photographs showing Royal navy servicemen and their ships indulging in gay sexual relationships were found in Bermuda, where up to 400 sailors had been involved in acts of “gross indecency”. Elsewhere, it was revealed that many British sailors on leave in Singapore had been tricked by transvestites into having sexual relations when they were drunk.
Admiral Sir John Bush, Commander-in-Chief of the Western Fleet, claimed in November 1969, that “there is, regrettably, ample evidence that homosexual practices are rife in the Fleet” from the MacIntyre Report, issued in 1968, which claimed that a “considerable” number of men had indulged in homosexual practices, and that “on the security side there are many difficulties” since it was feared that a sailor who wanted to keep his tendencies hidden, would be more open to blackmail.
It seems that Winston Churchill’s description of the Royal Navy as “rum, sodomy and the lash” was far from being untrue.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru London United Kingdom
In a weary world of endless US military interventions, sanctions, trade tariffs and chaos, let’s pause and take stock of the shining house on the hill