HC Deb 14 August 1857 vol 147 cc1682-3

said, that he rose to put a question to the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to the medals so graciously bestowed by His Majesty the King of Sardinia, and to call the attention of the House to the circumstance of those medals having been awarded to the officers; and soldiers of the British Army engaged in the Crimean war, on the recommendation of his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief and that none were awarded to the officers and seamen of the British Naval Brigade, who served and worked side by side in the trenches with the army during the siege of Sebastopol. Nothing was farther from his intention than to make any complaint of any reward bestowed on the army, for the navy, on the contrary, gloried in the triumphs of the army; but he thought it hard that the men of the Naval Brigade, who had shared in the same privations, and who were distinguished for the devil-may-care manner and rough and ready way in which they surmounted all difficulties, should have been altogether excluded from a share in the Sardinian medals. He could imagine when the floating bridge at Portsmouth brought over from Gosport some soldiers, who would be employed, perhaps, in putting down the atrocities which had occurred in India, from the mutiny of the troops, that one sailor might say to another, "Look at those soldiers, they are good and gallant men, and we grudge them nothing; but see, they have got the Sardinian medal, and why haven't we got it too?" and that the other might reply, "Those who sit up aloft ought to look down and take care of the fortunes of poor Jack, but they do not." He, therefore, trusted he should receive such an answer to his statement as would remove a sore from the mind of the men and officers of the Naval Brigade.


said, he could not but regret that he was not able to give so satisfactory an answer to the hon. and gallant officer as he could wish, but he could not refrain from paying his tribute of respect to the hon. and gallant Officer, who always showed so great and kind a sympathy with the members of his profession. The Board of Admiralty, however, had nothing to do with the distribution of the medals in question. The matter lay in the department of the Minister for War, and he confessed that it was matter of wonder to him that no medals had been sent to the Admiralty. This he thought must have arisen from some oversight, for the officers and men of the Naval Brigade had deserved well of their country. Some inquiry was now being made into the matter.


said, he considered that it would never be the wish of the Sardinian Government to cast a slight on such a body of brave men; and he was satisfied that a communication on the subject from the Secretary at War would be at once attended to.