HC Deb 16 February 1854 vol 130 cc735-6

said, he wished to put a question to the First Lord of the Admiralty as to certain complaints, whether well or ill founded he could not say, made on behalf of that portion of the coast guard which had lately been transferred to the Royal Navy, with regard to the disadvantageous position in which they were placed in some respects by their change of service. It appeared that the men enrolled in the coast guard were entitled to a pension for their wives and children in case of loss of life. By the Act of last Session they were compelled to enter the Navy when called upon, and he wished to know whether, under those circumstances, those men entering the Navy from the coast guard would lose their right to a pension which they had formerly enjoyed? He also wished to know whether it was true that the wives and children of the men so transferred had been turned out of the coast-guardhouses which they had formerly occupied, under circumstances of some hardship?


said, that the appointment of sailors to stations in the coast guard was a very great reward for long and continued service on board ship. That service must be at least five, and was generally ten years—it was the reward of meritorious conduct. The pay of the coastguard man was considerably higher than that of a sailor on board ship, even of the highest rate. When that reward was given, it was always with the condition that the men should be liable to serve again afloat, leaving the coast-guard service. While in the coast guard, there was a civil pension given to the wives and children of the coast-guard men whose lives might be lost in that particular service; but of course, when the men left that civil service, in compliance with the engagements into which they had entered, they stood upon an equal footing with their comrades on board ship, and their right to the civil pension, if they should incur any danger or loss, either of limb or life, on board ship, would be the same as that of seamen serving afloat. That the wives and children of the coast-guard men had been compelled to leave their dwellings on the coast appropriated to the coast guard had no doubt led to some inconvenience, but he had given orders that every effort should be made to make that inconvenience as light as possible. The House would learn with great satisfaction that 1,500 coast-guard men had in the course of ten days embarked on board Her Majesty's ships, with the greatest good-will and the greatest enthusiasm, and amid the acclamations of all their comrades.