Documents reveal concerns of gay sex in the British navy

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 01 2002 12:00 AM ET

A series of documents released by the British Public Record office on Thursday reveal that the British navy ordered an inquiry at the end of the 1960s after officials discovered that up to half of its sailors may have indulged in gay sex acts, reports Agence France-Presse.

Apparently, reports that large numbers of sailors would use male prostitutes when they sailed into places such as Singapore and Bermuda so concerned the Royal Navy that it launched a full investigation. "Senior naval officers have told me that they reckon that at least 50% of the fleet have sinned homosexually at some time in their naval service life," declared Capt. Donald MacIntyre, who was commissioned in 1968 to write a report on homosexuality in the Royal Navy.

The documents detailed how numerous sailors ended up with male prostitutes dressed up as women on Singapore's infamous Bugis Street. "Many senior staff have visited Bugis Street to see for themselves and agree that they also could easily be fooled once," MacIntyre said.

British sailors were also living it up in Bermuda, having been photographed in a male brothel where they were lavishly entertained and given presents for sexual favors. The case led to three sailors and two Bermudians being jailed for indecency and to at least 40 sailors being discharged. In total, some 400 sailors were believed to be involved.

"All such persons are blackmailable," the report said. "This is just the sort of information a foreign intelligence organization would like to get hold of."

The then commander in chief of the Western Fleet, Adm. Sir John Bush, wrote that the Royal Navy "must be made to accept responsibility for stamping out this vice...since it is doubtful that there are any ships where such practices are unknown."

The ban on homosexuality in the British armed services was lifted in January 2000.

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