HC Deb 05 December 1906 vol 166 cc938-9
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will state on what, if any, principle the award of the meritorious service medal is made in the Army; whether his attention has been called to the case of Quartermaster-sergeant, William Pettigrew, late 52nd and 77th Foot, who served for twenty-one years, 133 days, and was present as a corporal in the 52nd through the whole Siege of Delhi and when General Nicholson fell, has the good conduct medal, and was for six years quartermaster-sergeant of the 77th Regiment, to which he was transferred after the Mutiny and retired in 1871, being now seventy-seven years of age, but has received no medal; whether all officers who fought at Lucknow and Delhi were allowed two extra years to count for pension and the rank and file nothing; why the claims of this veteran have been overlooked for thirty-five years and subordinated to those of juniors, as for instance of as ergeantmajor in the Worcestershire Regiment, who was born in the year of the Siege of Delhi, and was awarded a medal in 1905 whilst still on the active list; whether any records of claims to decorations or honours among the rank and file are preserved at the War Office; and who is responsible for bringing them forward for attention in due course.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) The principle on which the meritorious service medal and annuity are awarded was explained on the 29th ultimo in answer to a Question put by the hon. Member for South Belfast. † My attention has been drawn to the case of Quartermaster-sergeant Pettigrew. He did not apply to have his name noted till the 1st May last, and there has been no vacancy since that date in his late battalion to which he could have been appointed, even if his claims were considered stronger than those of other candidates. The records of soldiers are preserved with their regiments while they are serving, afterwards at Chelsea Hospital, and finally at the Public Record Office. The claim to this decoration must be put forward by the man himself and be supported by his commanding officer. † See Col. 280.