HC Deb 13 July 1915 vol 73 cc734-5
10. Mr. KENYON

asked the Under-Secretary for War, whether his attention has been drawn to the case of D. Saunders Davies, No. 22521, G Company, 3rd Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who enlisted at Chesterfield in April last at the age of 17; whether he is aware that the recruiting sergeant told the lad to state his age as being nineteen; whether he is aware that the parents have made application for their son's release and have proved his age by the production of the birth certificate; and will he state why the application has not been acceded to?


I have not yet received a reply to the inquiry I have instituted regarding this case.

11. Mr. KENYON

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Michael O'Reilly, a bound apprentice to the house-painting trade, who enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in August last at the age of seventeen years; whether he is aware that O'Reilly's mother has written, to the commanding officer drawing his attention to the fact that her son was, under age, but has received no reply; whether he is aware that the mother has objections to the lad being retained, in: view of the circumstances and of the fact that she has already given two sons to the Army; and whether he will state the policy of the War Office in cases of lads who are under age enlisting without the, consent of their parents?


No, Sir; the attention of the War Office has not been drawn to this case, but if my hon. Friend will furnish we with details as to the regimental number and number of the battalion to which the man belongs I will have inquiry made. The policy of the War Office is to allow parents to claim the discharge of their sons who are under seventeen years of age and who are serving at home. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to King's Regulations, paragraph 392 (6). I have given an answer once before, but it was misquoted in the newspapers as being nineteen and not seventeen, and I have had a shoal of letters on that point.

12. Colonel WHITE

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether there is any insuperable objection to accepting as recruits men, otherwise qualified, who are suffering from astigmatism and who require to be provided with a cylindrical or sphero-cylindrical lens?


Astigmatic men have always been accepted as recruits provided they possess one-quarter of the normal vision without glasses.


asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office if he is aware that for every recruit sworn in or attested by a justice of the peace a fee of 1s. is paid; and whether, in view of the amount of recruiting there is and the need for national economy, he will take steps to abolish the payment of this fee?


The fee is statutory under the Army Act and is paid to the clerk to the justices when the clerical work connected with the attesting is done by him. The recruit is only attested by a magistrate in cases where he cannot be taken before a commissioned officer. It is not considered necessary to make any alteration in the system at the present time.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that yesterday recruits were sworn in by magistrates?


No. I had no idea of that.


Is it within the power of a magistrate to charge this fee? One week I attested over 700 myself.


These are personal reminiscences.