HC Deb 02 March 1899 vol 67 cc1039-40

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether his attention has been drawn to the ceremonies used last week at the funeral of the late Rev. E. J. Vaughan, chaplain of the "St. Vincent" at Portsmouth; whether he is aware that the evening before the funeral vespers for the dead were sung, whilst throughout the night watches were kept beside the bier; and that on the day of the funeral, at eight in the morning, requiem mass was sung, whilst the usual funeral service was held in St. Michael's Church at two in the afternoon; whether this service was attended by several naval chaplains, besides naval officers, and also by a large contingent of boys from the training ship "St. Vincent"; and whether it was with the sanction of the Admiralty authorities that these ceremonies were observed and the boys brought to attend them?


As this funeral took place from the private residence of the deceased chaplain, and not in a naval cemetery, the arrangements for the religious service and the selection of a church in which a portion of it should take place were in the hands of the widow of the deceased officer. The Naval authorities took no part in arranging the religious part of the ceremony. Naval honours were paid, as they are always paid, irrespective of the religious denomination of the deceased officer or seaman. Whether an Anglican, a Dissenter, or Roman Catholic is buried, the purely naval part of the ceremony is, and ought to be, the same. The honourable Member must surely know that in civil life too respect is often shown by attendance at a funeral service quite irrespective of religious differences.