HC Deb 04 June 1874 vol 219 cc962-3

asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether his attention has been called to a Statement which appeared in the evening newspapers of the 21st of May, to the effect that Lord Aylesford, with a troop of Yeomanry Cavalry, demanded admission at the Leamington Railway station as a guard of honour upon the occasion of Her Majesty's passing through that station on the 20th of May, and that on being refused admission by the Railway officials he forcibly obtained it; and, whether Lord Aylesford had received orders or authority from his superior officer to form a guard of honour on that occasion?


In re-ply, Sir, to the Question of my hon. Friend, I think I had better state the circumstances as they have been ascertained by inquiry. I told him on a former occasion that inquiries were in course of being made, and I have now received reports from different sources, which all, practically, give the same account of the transaction. It appears that the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry were at Warwick, under the command of Lord Warwick. It is usual every evening to tell off a troop for picket duty, and on the evening in question, the 20th of May, Lord Aylesford's troop was told off for picket duty. It was at that time known that Her Majesty would stay for a few minutes at the Leamington station on her way to the North, and Lord Aylesford's troop were very eager to pay Her Majesty a mark of respect as a guard of honour, and Lord Aylesford asked Lord Warwick if he might be permitted to go over to Leamington to see if his troop would be permitted to act as a guard of honour to salute Her Majesty. He arrived at Leamington, and while his troop remained in the road outside the station, Lord Aylesford rode up to a temporary barrier, and asked for admission for himself and his men. There were there some railway officials—platelayers—who told him he could not have admission. He thereupon asked to see the station-master. In the meantime, as he came up to the barrier, one of the men took hold of his horse, and attempted to put him back. Lord Aylesford then dismounted, and attempted to go under the harrier, that he might speak to the station-master, whom he had asked for. He was seized by the men, and I may say, on the authority of all the reports, that he used no more violence than was necessary in order to release himself from them. One of his troop dismounted, and Lord Aylesford immediately reprimanded him, and told him to re-mount. The troop remained perfectly quiet, and when the train came up, Lord Aylesford asked to speak to the Equerry in Waiting. General Ponsonby came up, and spoke to him through the railing. He said Her Majesty did not wish to hurt his feelings at all, but She desired that her short stay in the station should be quite private, and that She did not wish to encourage volunteers to appear at all in the station. Lord Aylesford immediately returned to his troop, and went back to Warwick. So that I may say, in the first place, that Lord Aylesford did not obtain admission to the station by violence; and, in the second place, that he had the permission of his commanding officer to go to Leamington as a guard of honour.