HC Deb 15 March 1894 vol 22 cc320-1

The following question appeared on the Paper:—

MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that a serious assault and breach of discipline were committed by Lieutenant Colonel Coffin, at the Royal Marine Barracks, Stonehouse, on the 28th ultimo, under the following circumstances—namely, that this officer whilst inspecting men under orders to embark, and having occasion to find? fault with one of them, called the Company Sergeant, Colour Sergeant Baker, before him and ordered him to remove the man from the ranks, saying to the Sergeant "Get out of my way," "Get out of my way," "Get away, d—n you," at the same time stepping forward and pushing the Colour Sergeant with such violence as to cause him to stagger several paces backwards, and his cap to fall from his head; whether he is aware that the incident was witnessed by the following officers—namely, Captain Gordon, Lieutenants Graham, Pearse, and Barker, and by upwards of 100 noncommissioned officers and men, and some civilians; whether he is aware that Colour Sergeant Baker has been upwards of 15 years a non-commissioned officer, and during that time has borne an unimpeachable character, and is now within two months of completing his 21 years' service; and what steps the Admiralty purpose taking to protect him and others from such conduct?

As the question was not put in due course,

MR. HANBURY (Preston)

said: I should like to know whether this question, which contains a serious imputation upon an officer, is to be allowed to pass over without notice being given as to when it will be answered? Such questions as these ought to be answered directly they appear on the Paper.


It is usual to allow questions to be postponed if the Minister wishes it.


As reference has been made to me, I should explain in justice to myself that I understand communications are passing between the Admiralty and the Marine Authorities which will, I hope, put this matter in a position satisfactory to those who are aggrieved.


I rise to Order. I do not think any statement of that sort should be made.


When is the question to be answered?

[No reply was given.]