HC Deb 21 July 1898 vol 62 cc638-9
MR. LOWLES (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether it has been brought to his notice that on 26th May last Private White, of the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade (formerly of the Royal Horse Artillery and Army Service Corps), while on parade at Milton Camp, Gravesend, was ordered to take off the Egyptian medal and clasp and the Khedive's star he was wearing sewn on his best clothes; that the said medal and star were publicly cut off by his colour-sergeant in the presence of the whole battalion of 600 men; that later in the day, having been ordered to appear at a ceremonial parade, he wore his medal and star, which were again removed; and that, because he protested against their removal, Private White was made a prisoner and confined to the guard room; whether the commanding officer s would have sent Private White to prison but for the intercession of the adjutant, who gave him an excellent character, whereupon he was fined only; whether he is aware that Private White made respectful application to the War Office on 31st May and 7th June last, without receiving any reply to his communication; and seeing that Private White has worn his medal and star at previous trainings without any complaint being made, and has now been warned that he must leave the battalion owing to the incident referred to, the Secretary for War will prevent this soldier being driven from the service merely for wearing decorations honourably obtained?

MR. E. G. WEBSTER (St. Pancras, E.)

Is it not the fact that the regulations provide that no medals shall be worn on undress uniforms?


By the regulations medals are worn in review order, i.e., on tunics, and ribbons only are worn when troops parade in "marching" or in "drill" order. Several men in this battalion have medals, but Private White alone appeared on parade in marching order wearing his medals, and was consequently ordered to remove them. The colour-sergeant of the company cut them off, Private White lending him a knife for the purpose. In the afternoon the battalion paraded again in "drill" order, when Private White, having replaced his medals, refused to take them off, and was confined for disobedience to orders. Nothing is known as to what the adjutant said to the commanding officer, but the man went before the bounty board, by whom he was fined 1s. Private White's communications have necessitated various references in order to verify the facts. No communication has been made to him that he should leave the battalion. The commander-in-chief holds that a serious act of indiscipline was committed, and that some punishment was necessary. At the same time, he considers that militiamen should be allowed to wear their medals on ceremonial parades and when walking out; and regulations will be issued providing that in the case of militia regiments which have not got tunics medals may be worn on these occasions.