§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been directed to the fact that the chairman, in charging the grand jury at Surrey Quarter Sessions, referred to no fewer than five charges of burglary committed by soldiers with the object of getting discharged from the Army, and said that it showed a serious state of things which ought to be ended; whether he has any explanation to offer of this incident; what means, if any, does he propose to take for the abolition of the state of things which produced it; and whether he can explain the contrast between the descriptions of the advantages of a soldier's career set forth in recruiting advertisements with the desire to be discharged from the Army under any circumstances, however ignominious.
§ MR. HALDANE
It is not understood on what grounds the chairman mentioned based his assertion that these 146 soldiers committed burglary with a view to being discharged, for, in pleading guilty to the charge, they made no remarks whatever as to their object in committing the offence. Although the utmost care is taken to prevent men of bad character enlisting, and personal references or written characters are required from all applicants, still the military authorities are, like ordinary employers of labour, liable to be misled by false information. Men of bad character when they find discipline irksome do sometimes commit themselves with a view to discharge. The recruiting advertisements are in no way misleading and fairly represent the advantages of the service to well-conducted men.