HC Deb 14 July 1915 vol 73 cc813-5
14 and 15. Mr. HUGHES

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether Mr. Hedley F. le Bas was in Ireland for three months on behalf of the War Office; if so, what were his duties and what was the remuneration paid him; and (2) whether Mr. Hedley F. le Bas is responsible for the placing in newspapers of the various recruiting advertisements that are issued by the War Office; and, if so, what is his remuneration?


As I have informed the House on more than one occasion, Mr. Hedley le Bas has given very valuable service to the War Office in this matter. He was in Ireland for some months in the capacity of adviser to the military authorities on the means to be adopted to make public in all quarters the need for recruits, and has received no remuneration whatever.


May I ask a supplementary question of my right hon. Friend—whether it is not recognised in all Ireland that the services of Mr. le Bas have been most valuable in attracting new recruits to the service, and whether he has not done all this at great expenditure of his own time and of his own money?


I am very glad to be able to answer all those questions in the affirmative.


Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that all those questions were put down in consequence of the repeated and unfriendly attacks that have been made upon Mr. Le Bas?

17. Sir A. MARKHAM

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Mr. G. W. Blyth has recently addressed numerous recruiting meetings in Wales stating he will shortly leave for the front with the gas-fighting battalions, which would consist of 4,000 men trained in gas and rescue appliances; that any miner who wished to join must make his application through his commanding officer, and that the scale of pay was at present under consideration; whether it is the intention of the War Office to raise these battalions; and what is this gentleman's actual position with the War Office in connection with gas and rescue appliances?


Mr. Blyth's statements that he is raising a battalion are unauthorised. His services have not been asked for, as the number of men who are required for the class of work mentioned are included in the tunnelling companies. He has been informed that such a corps as he proposed is not being raised.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that this man's real name is Sykes, that he has served a number of terms of hard labour after conviction on indictments for embezzlement, defrauding railway companies, and deserting his wife and children, and will he, therefore, have nothing more to do with him?


I hope I have given a sufficient amount of information be the House to enable it to realise that we have as little to do with him as possible. Mr. Blyth has not been encouraged in any way by the War Office, and he will not be.

19. Mr. PETO

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether it is intended to continue to enlist men for Home defence only who are physically fit for Foreign service?


Men are being enlisted who are temporarily fit for Home service only, provided they are willing to accept the liability for Imperial service should they become fit.