§ 70. Mr. IRVING
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the refusal of the medal branch of the War Office to grant the 1914–15 Star to the men of the 11th Battalion. East Lancashire Regiment; whether this battalion left England on the 18th December, 1915, and proceeded to Egypt and were in the AEgean Sea on the 28th December, where they were attacked by a German submarine and chased to the African coast, eventually driving off the submarine; whether the battalion then proceeded to Alexandria, where they were disembarked and re-embarked owing to a shortage of rolling stock; whether they then proceeded to Port Said, and eventually disembarked on the 3rd or 4th January, 1916, being held up by submarines and awaiting an escort; whether a ruling in France was received before the men were demobilised that they could put up the ribbon; whether the naval ratings who sailed on board the same ship as the battalion referred to have been granted the decoration; and whether he is aware that a letter on this subject was addressed to the Director of Personal Services at the War Office on the 7th October last to which no reply bas been received?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I understand that the battalion to which the hon. Member refers did not disembark in a theatre of war until after the 31st December, 1915, which is the closing date qualifying for the 1914–15 Star. It is not proposed to extend this date. I have no knowledge of the ruling in France referred to. There was no authority for any such ruling. The ship which conveyed the battalion was a hired transport, and I should think it improbable that any ratings of the Royal Navy were on board, but I have no information on that point. I am informed that a letter on this subject dated the 8th October was received from the hon. Member, and a reply sent him on the 21st October.