HC Deb 10 September 1914 vol 66 cc637-9

asked whether the Government will take steps to utilise the services of some civilians to organise the feeding, equipping, and accommodation of new recruits reporting at various military centres where congestion at present exists?


Officers in charge of depots have full powers to make all arrangements for the comfort of recruits in respect of such questions as accommodation, food, and the local purchase of necessaries. They have recently been reminded of their responsibilities in this matter, and it is hopel that further cause for complaint will not arise.


I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War if he is aware that eligible married and other men are hesitating to join the Army because, while their employers are promising to keep their situations open, they have no assurance that in case of being incapacitated for work through loss of limbs provision would be made for them by the State? Would he say what is proposed to be done in such cases if they arise?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Tennant)

I have only just received the hon. Member's question. In the case of all wounded provision will be made.


I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is prepared to make any statement as to the measures which the War Office propose to take in regard to the matters to which I drew attention yesterday; and whether he will state in particular what course is being taken in regard to men enlisted on or before Friday last, who have been improperly transferred to the Reserve?


My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already answered a question on this point. As regards the men alleged to have been improperly passed to the Reserve, inquiries are being made, and I shall be glad to look into any cases of which the hon. and gallant Member will give me particulars. The following telegram was sent between 3 and 4 p.m. yesterday to all General Officers Commanding-in-Chief, Officers Commanding districts, and Officers Commanding depots:—

"From numerous complaints which are being received at the War Office, it would appear that all officers in charge of depots do not realise that they have full powers to make all arrangements for the comfort of recruits by billeting, local purchase of necessaries, arrangements for cooking, etc., etc. Understand that you have full powers and will be held responsible for exercising them, so as to prevent continuance of these complaints. If you require assistance and cannot obtain it locally, you should apply to the Headquarters of Command. Lord Kitchener holds all officers in command of commands, districts and depots, personally responsible, and he trusts there will be no recurrence of these complaints."

May I point to the hour at which this was sent? It was between 3 and 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, before my hon. and gallant Friend asked his questions.