HC Deb 29 October 1918 vol 110 cc1288-9
68. Mr. HOLT

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, before any badge is granted to officers of the Merchant Service whose ship has been torpedoed, an inquiry will be made into the circumstances and the Admiralty and the shipowners consulted, so that the badge may be withheld from officers who have contributed to the loss by disobedience to Admiralty instructions, negligence, or other misconduct?


The hon. Member is perhaps not aware that torpedo badges are only issued to officers and men who, after being torpedoed, have completed a subsequent voyage in a British ship. Over 9,000 badges have already been issued. It is not considered necessary in this connection to make the special inquiries suggested in the question.


Am I to understand that a badge of honour may be given to a man who has lost his ship by gross misconduct?


There are other methods of dealing with the question of a man who has been guilty of negligence. If a case, arises where an officer disobeys Admiralty instructions, or is guilty of neglect or misconduct, such a case can be dealt with separately, so far as can be found practical and desirable, by means other than withholding the torpedo badge, which is to show that a man has been on a chip which has been torpedoed and has gone to sea again.