HC Deb 06 July 1960 vol 626 cc432-3
17. Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the naval ratings who lined the streets on the occasion of the wedding of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret were wearing white gloves; whether this is required by the uniform regulations; and on what occasions sailors must wear white gloves.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

Yes, Sir. Wearing of white gloves is authorised for naval guards of honour at important ceremonial occasions in the United Kingdom between 1st October and 30th April. This instruction was issued last year in Admiralty Fleet Orders and is being incorporated in the next edition of the uniform regulations. The wearing of these gloves was extended as a special case to the naval street-lining parties on this occasion, as it was considered that they would look smarter.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

While I am sure that everyone will agree that, as ever, these men looked very smart indeed, may I ask my hon. Friend whether, nevertheless, he is aware that there are many people who do not regard the wearing of white cotton gloves by seamen as entirely appropriate? Can my hon. Friend at least give us an assurance that we shall not see anyone in tropical rig wearing long white cotton gloves?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

In answer to the first part of my hon. and gallant Friend's supplementary question, I would say that the Royal Marines have always worn white gloves and so have other Services. Therefore, this brings the Royal Navy into line with the other Services. I think that the House generally will agree that these men looked smart. I certainly note the last point and I assure my hon. and gallant Friend that there is no question of lengthening this issue.

Mr. Shinwell

Are the gloves an Admiralty issue or a Government issue or were the ratings required to pay for them?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

They were an issue.

Captain Litchfield

Since when has it been the custom of the Royal Navy to follow the custom of the other Services?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

When the other Services happen on something which we believe is worth copying, we copy it, but generally they copy us.

Mr. Dugdale

In whose head did this curious little hit of whimsy emanate?

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