HL Deb 26 June 1855 vol 139 cc112-3

wished to refer to an answer which he had received to a question that he had put on the 7th of May to the noble Lord at the head of the War Department (Lord Panmure) with respect to the conferring of the Order of the Bath on officers who had distinguished themselves in the East. In that answer the noble Lord said he deeply regretted the delays that had occurred in distributing the higher class of rewards; that, before conferring the Order of the Bath, it was necessary (to comply with the statutes) that the names of those who were to receive it should have been mentioned in the Gazette and also in a despatch; and that, consequently, he had some months ago written to Lord Raglan, requesting him to send home a despatch containing the names of those officers whom he considered to be entitled to receive that distinction. Now, after this declaration on the part of the noble Lord, he (Lord Vivian) did not conceive that he could refer to precedent to show that these honours were not given until the termination of the campaign. Indeed, that precedent was in his (Lord Vivian's) opinion so bad that the sooner it was abandoned the better, inasmuch as, according to such a system, those who were most deserving of such a reward were those least likely to receive it, while those who were furthest from danger would be those who would most probably survive to obtain it. He (Lord Vivian) had received a letter from Colonel Yea, in which the writer said— To return to the Order of the Bath. Poor Egerton was one of those who used bitterly to complain of the treatment experienced through neglect by the officers commanding regiments, and more than once he has said, while pointing to Sebastopol, 'We shall lose our lives there without having the satisfaction of knowing that justice has been done us.' His words were prophetic, and I dare say such will be the fate of all of us who have not the luck to be wounded only.


said, it was true that, according to precedent, the honours of the Order of the Bath were not usually conferred on officers who had distinguished themselves in military operations until the conclusion of the campaign; but when the gallant services which had been rendered during the present war were considered, he for one was of opinion that the established precedents in the distribution of such honours ought not always to be followed. He very much regretted the delays which had taken place in the distribution of the honour of the Bath; but those delays had been unavoidable, it being necessary that the names of all those officers who were deserving of such marks of distinction should be included in the same distribution. Under these circumstances, it must happen, in a war of this description, that many of those who had been recommended for such honours should fall before they received them; and on the present occasion we had much to lament, among other eases, the death of Colonel Egerton, who fell in battle, and who not only distinguished himself in the field, but during the distresses endured by the army in the course of the severe winter campaign. Colonel Yea and Sir John Campbell were also distinguished for the manner in which they had conducted themselves in the midst of great difficulties, and won the love and affection of those who were under their command, and these gallant officers had also fallen. He had no hesitation in saying that Colonel Egerton, Colonel Yea, and Sir John Campbell were recommended by Lord Raglan for the honour of the Bath, and it was a matter of great regret that they had not lived to receive the honours they had so well deserved of their country.