HC Deb 22 February 1900 vol 79 cc794-5
MR. NUSSEY () Pontefract

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a youth of the name of Maguire enlisted at Leeds in the 2nd Dragoon Guards in January last with- out the knowledge of his parents, he being only seventeen years of age: that his parents applied for his discharge, producing a certificate of birth to the general officer commanding the North Eastern District of York, but that this officer declined to accede to their request; and whether, under the circumstances, he will direct Maguire to be discharged if he so desire.


If the man is over seventeen the settlement of the case rests entirely with the general officer commanding the district.


I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War whether any steps are taken by requiring the production of a certificate of birth when readily procurable, by inquiries from relatives, or otherwise, to verify the statements made by recruits as to their age; and if he will state by what means, if any, the relatives of boys who have enlisted under the prescribed age can procure their discharge.


On attestation the medical officer certifies as to the probable age of the recruit. If the recruiting or approving officer considers that the man is not of the age which he states, due inquiry is made. If a soldier is claimed by his parents and is proved to be under seventeen he is discharged at once; if between seventeen and eighteen, the general officer commanding has absolute discretion as to his disposal.