HC Deb 08 May 1940 vol 360 cc1201-2
8. Mr. Ammon

asked the Secretary of State for Air on what grounds, other than class distinction, have commissioned officers been awarded decorations of higher order than have non-commissioned officers for meritorious services performed under precisely similar conditions and of equal gallantry; and whether the Co-ordinating Committee on the grant of honours, decorations and medals in time of war have considered this matter?

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

I assume that the hon. Member has chiefly in mind the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Flying Medal, which are of equal value. The difference of form is in accordance with naval and military precedents of long-standing and the question whether any change should be made in this respect is about to be considered, by the Co-ordinating Committee to which the hon. Member refers.

Mr. Ammon

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that I was told some time back that this matter had been re- ferred to the Co-ordinating Committee; is it not time a decision was given; and cannot the Air Ministry free itself from precedent seeing it is a comparatively new service?

Captain Balfour

We are not in any way hide-bound by precedent, but of course the other two Services are concerned and the matter must be one for decision by all three Services. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, consistent with attention to matters that may have far more importance at the present time, no undue delay will take place.

Captain Alan Graham

Is not this matter one solely in the discretion of His Majesty?