HL Deb 27 March 1848 vol 97 cc1017-9

said, that he wished to ask his noble Friend (Earl Grey) the question of which he had given him notice the other day. Their Lordships would be aware that in the year 1846 he presented a memorial to Her Majesty from the veteran officers of the late war, praying for some decoration which would show that they had done their duty to their Sovereign and country; and that in answer to that memorial he received a communication from Lord John Russell, stating that Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to command that a medal should be struck. Subsequently to that period he had again called the attention of the House to the subject, by asking a question of his noble Friend opposite, who was Secretary of State for the Colonial Department (Earl Grey). Since that time, he believed, nothing had been done. He did not complain of the Government, still less of the board of general officers or admirals, to whom the claims had been sent in. He believed that a great number of these claims had been investigated, and that a very full report had been made to the Government, or, at all events, would very shortly be made, showing that there were a great number of individuals who had been in the actions for which medals were to be granted. He now wished to ask when the medals to the veteran officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and sailors, were to be issued, and to suggest, if any further delay was to take place, that the ribband be forthwith sent to all who have proved their claim, with permission to wear them. The Peninsular war took place more than thirty years ago, and as yet no decoration had been given to the officers and soldiers who served there. When the officers and soldiers who recently served in India arrived in this country they received their medals. Was it not extraordinary that, for battles only fought and won some sixteen months ago, the men should get their decorations, and yet for battles fought and won forty-five years ago no medals could be got? Most of these officers and soldiers were men of considerable age—many, indeed, had died since he had last addressed the House on the subject. He, therefore, hoped that the medals would be given as soon as possible to the survivors, and also to the representatives of those who were dead, as it would be gratifying to them to receive a mark that their relatives had done their duty to their Sovereign and their country in a time when their exertions were most valuable and important.


said, he could assure his noble Friend that there had been no unnecessary delay in carrying out Her Majesty's gracious intentions on this subject. Great difficulty had been experienced in investigating and deciding upon the claims of so many individuals. In this investigation much progress had been made, and the medal for the Navy (as we understood the noble Earl) was now ready. The medal for the Army had been unavoidably delayed in consequence of an accident which had happened to the distinguished artist to whom the preparation of the die had been entrusted, Mr. Wyon; but he believed that it would now be ready in a short time. With regard to granting medals to the representatives of deceased officers and soldiers, he should say, considering the time which had elapsed, such a measure would be not only extremely inconvenient but altogether impracticable.

After a few words from the Earl of HARDWICKE and the Earl of AUCKLAND,

Subject at an end.

House adjourned.

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