HC Deb 20 November 1940 vol 365 cc1971-2
33. Major Milner

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any reward or special recognition has been conferred on any of the officers or men serving on the "Rawalpindi" at the time of her last fight; and will he give particulars?

Mr. Alexander

There were only eleven survivors from the action of the "Rawalpindi" against overwhelming odds. From the evidence of these the ship was fought in accordance with the best tradition of the Naval service but none of the officers or ship's company could be specially singled out for a decoration. The Board of Admiralty thought fit to send to Mrs. Kennedy a special letter of appreciation of Captain Kennedy's gallant conduct. Captain Kennedy was also awarded a posthumous mention in despatches.

Major Milner

While appreciating that in the case of the "Jervis Bay" the proper recognition was given to the com- manding officer, is my right hon. Friend aware that there is considerable public feeling that appropriate recognition was not given to someone on the "Rawalpindi," and will he have the matter reconsidered, as it does not appear adequate merely to send a letter of thanks to the widow of the commanding officer of that gallant ship?

Mr. Alexander

The matter of the "Jervis Bay" led me to look into the comparative circumstances of both actions. Nothing I can say could detract from the gallantry of the action of the "Rawalpindi," but the circumstances of that action were very different from that of the "Jervis Bay" when being considered by the appropriate authorities in connection with the conditions in which the Victoria Cross should be awarded.