§ MR. NIELD
To ask the Secretary of State for War, whether, on 2nd Decem- 1734 ber, 1907, the War Office officially stated that there was nothing against the character or efficiency of Captain Wilson; and whether, in view of that fact and the desirability of establishing public confidence in the decisions of the military authorities, he will state why Captain Wilson was dismissed or retired from the service in view of such official declarations.
§ MR. NIELD
To ask the Secretary of State for War, whether he is aware that Captain Bryce Wilson, late of the 5th Lancers, was dealt with upon the basis of a confidential report made by Lieutenant-Colonel Graham, which it was alleged was wholly untrue and at variance with the previous Reports made by the said commanding officer; and whether, in the interest of the service and the public, he will direct an investigation to be made into the circumstances and truth of such Report.
§ MR. NIELD
To ask the Secretary of State for War, whether he is aware that in October, 1907, Captain Wilson was placed on half-pay and subsequently gazetted out of the 5th Lancers, not-withstanding the fact that on 25th November, 1907, his late commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Graham, admitted his fitness to remain in the service, while objecting to his continuance (for private and personal reasons) in the 5th Lancers; and whether he will insist upon a full explanation being given why two inconsistent and contradictory Reports were allowed to be given by and received from the same officer with regard to the subject.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) In replying to these four Questions together, I take the opportunity of stating the facts as to what took place. On receiving from Lieutenant-Colonel Graham a Report that Captain Bryce Wilson had not a good influence in his regiment, the Army Council called upon General Sir John French, Commanding-in-Chief at Aldershot, for his views. He reported that in his opinion Captain Wilson should not be permitted to rejoin the 5th Lancers, on account of the bad influence he exercised over the junior officers of the regiment. These 1735 Reports are regarded as fully justifying the action taken by the Army Council in placing Captain Bryce Wilson on half-pay. It subsequently came to the knowledge of the War Office that the removal to half-pay of five officers of the regiment, of whom Captain Wilson was one, had given rise to rumours which reflected upon the character of these officers. Having regard to the fact that other officers, besides Captain Bryce Wilson, had been placed on half-pay, it was decided to make a general announcement to the effect that the action taken was not taken on grounds detrimental to their characters. At the same time Captain Wilson's retention in the regiment was considered to be undesirable for the reasons given by Sir John French to which I have already alluded. It is true that, after reporting adversely upon Captain Wilson, Lieutenant-Colonel Graham recommended him for promotion into a cavalry regiment serving or about to serve in India, but the Army Council did not agree with the recommendation. In expressing the opinion that this officer was not unfit to remain in the service Lieutenant-Colonel Graham intended to imply that in extra-regimental employment, the special reasons which rendered Captain Wilson's retention in the 5th Lancers so undesirable would not operate at all events to anything like the same extent. The whole circumstances have been considered by me personally as well as in consultation, and in my opinion, and that of my military advisers, it would not be in the interests of the Army or the public to restore Captain Bryce Wilson to his former position.