HC Deb 28 November 1944 vol 404 cc2380-1
26. Mr. Manning

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state the facts elicited from his inquiries into the punishment in Belgium of Private P. C. Felton, of the Queen's Royal Regiment, and the crime of this soldier which led to the punishment; and whether he is aware that since 17th October this soldier has been further punished by continuing to wear handcuffs and by having his regimental flashes removed.

Sir J. Grigg

As my answer is necessarily rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

In accordance with King's Regulations, paragraph 1001 (a), Private Felton's commanding officer issued an order on 18th September, 1944, that all emblems must be removed from buttonholes and caps. This was a lawful command and Private Felton obeyed it. On 19th September in disobedience of this order, Private Felton was seen wearing the Belgian colours on a ribbon. He was ordered by the company-sergeant-major to remove the ribbon. He refused. He was then placed on a charge and brought before his company commander, who ordered him to remove the ribbon. Felton again refused. Felton was then brought before his commanding officer, who explained why emblems should not be worn. When ordered by his commanding officer to remove the ribbon, Felton refused. The commanding officer then ordered the regimental sergeant-major to have the ribbon removed. Felton threatened to fight anyone who tried to do so. Felton's blouse was taken off and the ribbon removed. His attitude remained so threatening that he had to be placed in handcuffs while under arrest. The unit was holding an extended front against the enemy and extra guards could not be spared. Felton was, on more than one occasion, told that his handcuffs would be removed, if he abandoned his threatening attitude; owing to persistent refusal to do so, the handcuffs were not removed. Felton was finally convicted by a field general court-martial of disobeying a lawful command and insubordinate language, and sentenced to one year's detention. The action taken by the commanding officer was approved by the corps commander.