HC Deb 12 July 1897 vol 50 cc1592-3
SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) will he explain why the Royal Marine Artillery with their guns had no representation in the Naval portion of the Procession on the 22nd ultimo, and why no Marine brigade took part in the Review at Aldershot on the 1st instant, in accordance with the precedent of 1887; (2) who is responsible for the result that the Royal Marine Forces were the only branch of the regular service unrepresented in the Procession in London or at the Review at Aldershot; and, (3) whether lie is aware that this exclusion is keenly felt by all ranks of a service which has fought, both by sea and land, with the Navy and with the Army, in all parts of the world for more than two centuries?


As regards the first question of the hon. and gallant Member, I have repeatedly stated the case of the Jubilee procession in London. It was a mounted procession in which no Infantry of any kind was represented, and the only exception made was in favour of the small contingent of bluejackets with their field guns. The Royal Marine Artillery do not, I am informed, parade with field guns. It is not true that the Royal Marine forces were the only branch of the Regular service unrepresented in the procession. Time whole of the Infantry of the Line were unrepresented in the sense of the hon. and gallant Member's question. The Garrison Artillery, like the Royal Marine Artillery, were not in the procession, but were represented by a stationary detachment of troops. On the route of the procession the Marines were strongly represented, there being a battalion of Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Marine Light Infantry posted at prominent positions. The Marine forces mounted one of the few guards of honour which were mounted on that day. As regards Aldershot, the difference between this year and 1887 was that in the present year ships were mobilised in such numbers as has never been the case before; and, of course, the flower of the force of Royal Marines was employed in the ships. It was held that no thoroughly representative brigade could have been sent to the review, and rather than that the Marines should be represented there in any manner which would not do the fullest justice to their splendid reputation—["hear, hear"]—it was better that they shun Id not be present at all. Till the hon. and gallant Member put his question on the notice paper, I had not heard the slightest whisper of any feeling such as that suggested in his last paragraph. My information is to the contrary, and I cannot believe that the Marines would consider for one moment that there could be neglect or slight where none most assuredly was intended nor could be intended. ["Hear, hear!"]