HL Deb 16 May 1916 vol 21 cc1056-8

LORD BERESFORD rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether it is a fact that certain British and Australian military officers attached to the Royal Naval Air Service during the Gallipoli Campaign were mentioned in Despatches by their commanding officer and by the Vice-Admiral commanding the Eastern Mediterranean Naval Forces, and that their names were omitted when those of the Naval officers belonging to the same Service and mentioned in the same Despatches were published in March last; if so, what was the reason for such omission; whether a supplementary list of awards will be published relative to these military officers, and giving effect to the Vice-Admiral's recommendations; and, if not, what is the reason for differentiating in the matter of rewards between naval and military officers of the same Service mentioned in the same Despatches.

The noble and gallant Lord said: My Lords, I have put this Question on the Paper as there is a very keen feeling in the Naval Service, a chivalrous feeling, that these military officers who were working together with them at the same duty—a very hazardous and dangerous duty, executed with wonderful ability—should receive the same treatment. The Naval officers were mentioned in the Despatch by the Admiral, and I desire to know whether the military officers were mentioned in the same Despatch, and, if they were, why they were not gazetted and why they did not get the same reward. The Naval Service feels this, and justly so, to be rather a slur on their comrades in the sister Service who were doing exactly the same work and doing it with the same gallantry. My noble friend the Civil Lord of the Admiralty made a mistake when he answered my noble fiend Lord Sligo on this subject on March 22. The noble Duke said, "The Military wing of the Royal Flying Corps was not represented, except in the person of one officer." That is true. But there were officers taken from their regiments who had been working with the Navy for a considerable time. My noble friend said at the end of his remarks on March 22, "There will, I understand, be another set of Despatches published later, and no doubt due mention will be made of the work of the Air Service on that occasion." I would ask the noble Duke whether those Despatches are going to be published sooner or later, and I would also ask him whether he can answer the detailed Questions which I have put upon the Paper, more particularly whether or not these military officers were mentioned in Admiral de Robeck's Despatch, and, if they were, why they were not gazetted afterwards.


My Lords, I am afraid I am only able to answer the Question in the broadest terms. The list of names sent in by the Vice-Admiral was too large, judged by the scale generally adopted for other operations of the war. It was therefore returned to him to reconsider, and the list as gazetted was in accordance with final recommendations. Some names which were included in the first list were not included in the final list, but in all cases their services have been noted. This applies to both naval and military officers; there is no differentiation between them. I am not able to make a statement as to the further question raised by my noble friend, but I will make inquiry as to whether any further Despatches will be published in due course.


Thank you.

House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before Six o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Four o'clock.