HC Deb 16 March 1937 vol 321 cc1833-6
22 and 23. Captain Macnamara

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether lie is aware that the Essex Yeomanry have been ordered to wear blue on the Coronation parade; that green is their normal colour, and that many of their men have already purchased green privately; and whether, as the issue of rifle-regiment green, which is suitable to them, would add no extra burden to the State, he will change the orders to meet their wishes;

(2) whether he is aware that officers of the Essex Yeomanry are only in possession of a green undress uniform; and who will pay for the blue one if they are ordered to wear blue on the Coronation parade?

Mr. Cooper

I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend for bringing this matter to my attention. Inquiries are now being made and I will communicate with him as soon as a decision has been reached.

25. Captain Macnamara

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a public appeal to employers of Territorials in London to let their men off work on 19th May, on the occasion of the King's visit to the City, when the streets are to be lined by London Territorials?

Mr. Cooper

Yes, Sir. I am glad to have this opportunity of urging employers in London to release as many of their employés as are members of the Territorial Army on the day in question.

48. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Lord President of the Council whether officers and men of the Merchant Navy are to be given recognition in the Coronation procession similar to that to be given to the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve?

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

I regret that it has not been customary to include in the Coronation Procession civil organisations of this character.

49. Sir Archibald Sinclair

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he is in a position to make a statement regarding the representatives of the Forces taking part in the Coronation procession and lining the streets; and what arrangements have been made for the accommodation of these troops in London?

Mr. R. MacDonald

The number of officers and men from home and overseas in the procession and the lining of the streets at the forthcoming Coronation will amount to approximately 32,500. In the procession will be detachments from the Royal Navy and the Naval Reserves, from all corps and units of the Regular and Territorial Armies, and from the Royal Air Force and the Auxiliary Air Force, the Navy providing 4,000 and the Air Force 3,000 men respectively out of the total. The Indian Army and Navy will also be represented. Contingents from the Dominions will take part in the procession, and also a contingent representing the permanent and volunteer defence forces in the Colonial Empire. In addition some 6,500 men will be required for reserves and administrative duties in camps, etc. Personnel required in connection with the Coronation will be housed or in camp in London from 10th to 13th May. The camps will be in Kensington Gardens (processional Army troops and Royal Air Force), Regents Park, Primrose Hill, and Olympia (Royal Navy, the Dominions contingents and three Guards battalions), and at Hampton Court (Indian and Burmese contingents). The Colonial contingent will be accommodated in barracks in London.

The length of the return procession from Westminster Abbey will be approximately 3,500 yards and will take 40 minutes to pass a given point. Composite guards of honour from the three Services will be mounted at Buckingham Palace and outside Westminster Abbey (West Door). Bands, including a Service band from Canada, will take part in the procession and bands will also be stationed along the route. A party of 50 of the King's Company Grenadier Guards will be present in Westminster Abbey.

67. Mr. Lennox-Boyd

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is yet in a position to say what native representatives of the peoples inhabiting the High Commission territories of South Africa are to be invited to the Coronation?

The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Malcolm MacDonald)

An invitation was addressed to the Paramount Chief of Basutoland but, though he was anxious to accept, I understand that his health will not permit of his undertaking the journey to this country. Sir Cecil Fforde, the President of the Special Courts of the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swazi- land, and Judicial Commissioner of Basutoland, will represent the High Commission Territories at the Coronation.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Would it not be possible for some native substitute to take the place of the chief who could not come; and may we have an assurance that no pressure of any kind by a more powerful neighbour has been exercised to prevent any of these invitations being given?

Mr. MacDonald

There has been no pressure from any quarter in regard to this decision. I did consider the possibility, with every desire of getting other natives to come, of getting a substitute but no other chief in the territory was more entitled to an invitation than some half-dozen others who would have had an almost equal claim. In view of that situation it was impossible to pick one of them out.

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