HC Deb 07 July 1953 vol 517 cc1049-50
45. Sir I. Fraser

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider recommending the striking of an Everest Expedition Medal similar to the Polar Medal.

Mr. R. A. Butler

No, Sir. There is no such present intention. The House will be aware of the awards made by Her Majesty The Queen to members of the recent Everest Expedition.

Sir I. Fraser

Will my hon. Friend realise the usefulness of this suggestion as a means of rewarding all ranks who have taken part in this magnificent expedition, and is he aware that by an extraordinary coincidence, of which I have only just learned, the two hon. Members sitting one on each side of me—the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay) and the hon. and gallant Member for Merton and Morden (Captain Ryder) happen to have the Polar Medal?

Mr. Butler

I am gratified to hear that the two hon. Members concerned have the Polar Medal. I trust that they will stick to their Parliamentary duties and not become involved in further travel at present in those regions. Coming to the serious point made by the hon. Member, Her Majesty's Government fully realise the importance of this Question. The difficulty is that no medal is given for exploration in other areas, and no medal is given for particularly difficult mountaineering. There are really, therefore, serious difficulties in the face of deciding upon a medal for this particular and gallant expedition.

Sir I. Fraser

But is there really any distinction between gallantry and service to exploration in going to the Pole or going to Everest?

Sir J. Lucas

Is not Everest just as cold as the North Pole?

Mr. Butler

It is true that there have been for some time medals for most of the members of successful exploring teams within certain well-defined limits of the Polar regions, but there have not been medals for other mountaineering expeditions besides Everest, nor have there been medals for exploration in, for example. Africa. Therefore it raises very wide questions.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Chancellor consider that Everest is unique, and that the proposal of the hon. Gentleman would have widespread support I believe in many parts of this country?