HC Deb 02 March 1899 vol 67 cc1049-50

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that William Sprowson, aged 17 years, was enlisted on the 10th November 1898, under the name of William Taylor, and as of the age of 18, in the 47th Regiment, the true facts being known to those who enlisted him; that his father, John Sprowson, in writing, demanded his discharge on the 11th February 1899; that the adjutant commanding at the depot, instead of forwarding the claim to the competent military authority, pursuant to section 100, sub-section 3, of the Army Act, 1881, replied that the recruit was so near the age of 18 that the general commanding would not approve of his discharge: whether, upon further remonstrances, the commanding officer at the depot requested a fresh claim to be sent in by the father, and, upon receipt of same on the 19th instant, interviewed the recruit and told him that if he would stay in the Army the matter would be settled, but if not he would be placed under arrest, which was immediately done; and whether inquiry will be made into the matter, and the recruit be discharged?


If a recruit makes a false declaration of age, and his true age is found to be over 17 years, his retention in the service or his discharge is entirely a question under the Queen's Regulations for the general officer commanding the district. In this case the general officer saw no ground for discharging the recruit. The attesting officer was not aware that this man was under 18 years of age, nor is it correct to say that he was informed that if he would remain in the Army the matter would be settled. He was made a prisoner at large for making a false answer on attestation, and released on receipt of the general's decision.