HC Deb 29 September 1915 vol 74 cc822-3

asked whether permission for Major Sitwell, of the War Office, to hold a recruiting meeting at the Dinorwic slate quarries during the meal hour was refused; and, if so, whether such refusal will be dealt with under the Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Act as calculated to discourage recruiting?


My hon. Friend's question does not, I think, state correctly the attitude taken up by the manager of the Dinorwic slate quarries. He found himself unable, under the rules and regulations at the quarry, to allow a meeting to be held during working hours, but suggested that the meeting should be held after working hours, or any time on a Saturday, and, furthermore, offered to do anything to assist in the matter. If no meeting has yet been held, the reason is that the representative of the War Office has not yet been able to find time to make the visit. I may add that I understand that all men who have left their employment at the quarries in question to join the Forces or to do munition work have been told that they will be reinstated when the War is over, provided they are capable of doing the work allotted to them.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he is aware that at recent inquests two soldiers, of forty-six and forty-three years of age, respectively, were shown to have committed suicide, the one because he was a chronic invalid and the other because he was unable to keep pace with young men; and if he will say why such men are recruited while millions of young men remain unrecruited?


I am not aware of the facts stated in the first part of the question, and if I were aware of them I should not, I think, have drawn the conclusion suggested by my hon. Friend. I am willing to believe, and I do believe, that at the time the two men in question were enlisted they were found by the military and medical recruiting officers to be in all respects suitable to be recruited so far as these officers were able to judge. I do not know whether it was so in this case, but it does, I am informed, frequently happen that men, in their eagerness to be accepted, suppress material facts affecting their suitability for enlistment and that these facts only come to light afterwards.