HC Deb 16 September 1915 vol 74 cc160-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether the Secretary of State has yet considered the suggestion made in July last that the remnant of the original Expeditionary Force should be brought back for a compulsory rest of two or three months; and whether, having regard to the numbers of the New Army anxious to go to the front, he could now arrange for this to be done?


Yes, Sir; the hon. Member's suggestion has received sympathetic consideration, but it has not been possible to find a way to give effect to it. I am stating, in answer to Question No. 41, what is being done to grant leave to individual men as distinct from units and formations.

41. Major HUNT

asked whether all the non-commissioned officers and men who have been serving abroad for a year or more have been given short leave to come home; and, if not, is it the intention of the Government to grant these men leave in the near future?


I cannot say whether all non-commissioned officers and men who have been serving abroad for a year or more have been given leave. I dare say that is not so. As I have previously stated, leave is given at the discretion of the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, as far as the exigencies of the Service permit, and the grant of it must, of course, depend entirely on the military situation existing at the time. Subject to this consideration, the hon. and gallant Member may rest assured that all possible concessions in the matter of leave will be and are being made to men who have served for long periods. Steps have, in fact, recently been taken by which it is possible to give greater facilities in regard to the matter of leave.


Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to put before him the case of a large number of units who have not had any leave since August of last year?


As I stated in reply to a previous question, the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief has not found it possible to give leave by units, by formations, but individuals in the formations are given leave by rotation as far as the exigencies of the Service permit.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the granting of leave depends on the importance of the military service which is being rendered by the officers?


We were considering the leave of men, not of officers.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the case of East End doctors who have been serving as workers in France for more than a year, few of whom have had any holiday yet?


I can only say that I will certainly make a representation to the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief. It cannot and ought not to rest with the War Office to give leave.