HC Deb 10 August 1920 vol 133 c210

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will see fit to recommend that medals should be awarded to the members of the Heugh Battery, at Hartlepool, in consideration of their gallantry on 10th December, 1914, in engaging at a point-blank range of 4,150 yards, with only three 6-inch B.L. Mark VII guns, three German battle-cruisers, who at first flew the English White Ensign before running up the German colours, firing 70 11.2-inch, 8.2-inch, and 5.9-inch guns, thereby causing the death of 130 persons, the injury of 454 others, and great damage to buildings and property, during which action the Heugh Battery, manned by Territorials, registered many hits on the said cruisers, dismounting two guns, killing 10 men and wounding 19 on the flagship "Blucher," and inflicting such damage on her that she lay in Kiel for a considerable time, repairing and refitting, and also seriously damaging the "Seydlitz" and "Von der Tann," besides killing on them 80 men and wounding 200 others?


The question of the award of a medal to the troops referred to is being considered with other exceptional cases.


May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his answer, which at last recognises the maxim Summa lex, summa injuriai But may I further ask him whether he will see that equity is restored also at the other end of the scale, and that those Falstaffs may be deprived of their spurious military honours, who never heard a shot fired in the War, and many of whom never so much as mastered that complicated manœuvre known as the goose step?


I hardly know how to answer that question.