HC Deb 10 May 1883 vol 279 c388

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty, If his attention has been called to the case of Frederick Graham, a warrant officer's servant on board H.M.S. "Royal Adelaide," lying at Devonport, who had on 30th April fourteen days' leave stopped by Commander Dugdale, for wearing on shore what was called an unauthorized decoration, generally known as the blue ribbon; and, whether such interference with men in the Navy wearing temperance badges while off duty meets with the sanction of the Admiralty?


It is the fact that Frederick William Graham, warrant officer's servant, belonging to the Royal Adelaide, was arrested by the patrol on the 29th ultimo, while on shore on leave, for being improperly dressed, as he was wearing a blue ribbon on his uniform jacket, which ribbon is only authorized to be worn by persons who have been awarded the Victoria Cross, Egyptian Bronze Star, or Royal Humane Society's Medal, none of which decorations have been received by him. For this offence his leave was stopped for 14 days by the commanding officer. Directly upon the circumstances being brought to the notice of the Commander-in-Chief he remitted the punishment as unnecessarily severe, in which opinion the Admiralty concur. The House will, however, see how much inconvenience would arise if it were allowed that badges, however innocent and even laudable their significance, should be worn by men when in uniform. Besides the danger of their being mistaken for authorized decorations such as those I have named, badges might come to be worn indicative of different opinions on social, political, and religious questions; and it is, therefore, undesirable that any additions should be permitted to the regulated uniform of Her Majesty's Service.