§ MR. O'SHAUGHNESSY (Limerick, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the commanding officer of the 5th battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, who were camped at Lydd on St. Stephen's Day, when asking them to volunteer for service in Malta or Egypt, carried out the requirements of the Militia Act, 1882, by explaining to every man in the battalion that the offer was purely voluntary on his part, and how many of the men volunteered; were the men of the battalion who were on furlough on St. Stephen's Day, on their return to the camp asked to serve in Malta or Egypt; and did they or any of them volunteer to do so; and will the Government see that the men who did volunteer are not deported beyond Malta or Egypt.
I beg also to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a 1026 number of men belonging to the 5th battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, who did not volunteer for foreign service and whose period of service has expired, have applied for their discharge to the proper authorities but have not yet obtained it; if so, will directions be given for the discharge of these men without further delay.
In reply to the two questions put by the hon. Member, I have no information to enable me to reply to the first two paragraphs. It is not, nor has it ever been proposed to order this battalion to perform any service abroad for which it has not volunteered. As to the reported applications for discharge, I am not aware that this is so.