HC Deb 23 December 1915 vol 77 cc603-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if, when the "Gazette" of promotions and rewards for the fighting of the last eight months is published, he will state the number of officers mentioned therein who have since been killed without knowing of their honours through the procrastination of headquarters or the War Office?


I am afraid that my hon. Friend is under some misapprehension. There is no procrastination in issuing an honours' "Gazette," the system being to issue them twice a year, namely, at the New Year and in June. No honour is awarded until it is gazetted, and once gazetted it is bestowed whether or not the recipient dies before the actual investiture. In order to meet specially meritorious cases, a certain number of awards are placed at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief in the field for immediate award, and these awards are gazetted monthly. Awards of the Victoria Cross are dealt with separately, and published as awarded.


asked the Under-Secretary for War whether he is aware that the "Gazette" containing the promotions and rewards gained in the first battle of Ypres, which ended on 21st November, 1914, was published within one month; and, seeing that the second battle of Ypres ended on 24th May, 1915, will he explain why no "Gazette" for that battle and subsequent fighting has yet been published?


The "Gazette" relating to the first battle of Ypres was published nearly three months after the battle, not one month as stated by my hon. Friend. The second battle of Ypres took place too late for inclusion in the June Honours' List, and the honours have had to wait for the list which will be published at the New Year. Several honours in connection with the battle have, however, been awarded from the supply of decorations which were placed at the disposal of the Field-Marshal for immediate reward.


Would it be possible for the Army Council to consider the advisability of issuing quarterly honours, having regard to the fact that these are now seven or eight months overdue, and that many of the officers and men must naturally have been killed in subsequent battles? There is very strong feeling about this at the front.


I know that the hon. Gentleman fully appreciates the immense amount of labour involved in the issue of such lists. I will, however, consider the point.