HC Deb 05 January 1916 vol 77 cc937-8
11. Mr. CLOUGH

asked what are the grounds for regarding unmarried men as superior to the married and for regarding the married as inferior to the unmarried men as members of His Majesty's Forces; and whether he will give the data which tend to show that unmarried men make better and braver soldiers than married men?


I am not aware that it has ever been authoritatively stated that unmarried men necessarily make better and braver soldiers than married men, but I am aware that the latter have greater responsibilities as regards persons dependent upon them and I am also aware that many Members of this House have constantly pressed upon the notice of the Government the avoidable expense which is incurred in taking married men when unmarried men are still available. No one has ever suggested, so far as I am aware—and I would be the last to suggest—that any stigma rests upon married men as a category. I think there can be little value in sweeping generalisations of this nature.


Are we to understand that the reason why single men are preferred is because they make cheaper soldiers?


It is impossible to say that they make cheaper or better soldiers. All I say is that it is ther duty to go first.


Is it not the case that the reason the single soldier is preferred is that the married man leaves dependants and the rich men are not prepared to pay for them?