HC Deb 17 March 1913 vol 50 c696
38. Mr. PETO

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider the question of granting, through his Department, some form of reward for specially meritorious service in the Merchant Service in order to encourage the officering of British merchant ships by British subjects, and to give national recognition to the heroism and endurance so often displayed by officers in the Merchant Service?


Acts of personal heroism and gallantry performed by officers or other members of the Merchant Service are at present recognised by the award of the Albert Medal, or of the medal for gallantry in saving life at sea. Meritorious services rendered by British seamen to foreign ships or subjects at sea are frequently rewarded by the foreign governments concerned just as similar services rendered by foreign seamen to British ships or subjects are rewarded by the Board of Trade. It is not the general practice for the Board of Trade to make awards for meritorious services performed by members of the British Merchant Service, except in cases where there has been special gallantry or risk in saving life at sea, and while I yield to no one in my admiration of the splendid services performed in the ordinary course of their duty, and without expectation of special recognition, by a large number of officers and seamen on British ships, I have very grave doubt if it would be to the public interest for the State by a system of reward to attempt to assess the relative merits of these services.