§ 80 Mr. GLANVILLE
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) if he will hold an inquiry into the allegations of ill-treatment being inflicted upon B. J. Boxall, F. C. Colman, and W. E. Reynolds, all of whom are attached to the 6th (Reserve) Battalion London Rifles, at Fovant Camp, Wilts, on 1st and 2nd June; if he will, in the event of cruelties having been committed, see that proper punishment is inflicted upon those guilty and also upon the responsible officer within whose 1213 jurisdiction such cruelties were allowed; (2) who was the officer responsible for the conduct of No. 1 Camp, Fovant, Wilts, on 1st and 2nd June; and (3) by what authority B. J. Boxall, F. C. Colman and W.E. Reynolds, of the 6th (Reserve) Battalion London Rifles, were forcibly inoculated and vaccinated at No. 1 Camp, Fovant, Wilts, on 1st June; and, as this action was in direct contravention of the orders of the Secretary of State for War, will he say what action he proposes to take with regard to the officer responsible for the forcible inoculation and vaccination of an unwilling recruit?
§ Mr. TENNANT
As regards the allegations of ill-treatment of these men the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, has made careful investigation. The Officer Commanding the 6th Reserve Battalion states that these men have not been subjected to cruelty or maltreatment. The non-commissioned officer in charge of the room occupied by Reynolds states that these allegations are absolutely untrue. The Officer Commanding further states that he interviewed the men in question and they assured him that they were getting on very well indeed with the men in their hut, and that they had nothing to complain of except for the fact that they are subjected to military discipline. These men were interviewed also by the senior chaplain of the United Church Congress of the Division to which they belong, and at this interview the men told him that they had got on very well indeed with the men, and that there was nothing to complain of. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, considers the officer commanding has satisfactorily disposed of the allegations made, and in this opinion I concur. As regards Queston 82, I must at once point out that these men were not vaccinated nor was vaccination offered. In regard to their inoculation, which took place on the 2nd June, the medical officer states—and he is supported in his statement by three eye-witnesses—that no force was used and no objection raised to the inoculation. One man is stated to have refused at first to strip for medical examination, but he afterwards did so. These men are reported to have behaved themselves, well. It is obvious, therefore, that my hon. Friend has had wrong information conveyed to him both in regard to the allegations of ill-treatment and the forcible inoculation. In the circumstances I do not propose to inform him of the name of the 1214 officer who was in command of No. 1 Camp, Fovant, Wilts, but I have the authority of that officer to say that he desires to court the fullest investigation should his military superiors consider such a course necessary.
§ Mr. GLANVILLE
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the colonel in command admitted to a local doctor for Bermondsey that the man had been ill-treated?
§ Mr. TENNANT
No; and if my hon. Friend is thinking of the same local doctor for Bermondsey that I have in my mind he will find that the doctor in question admitted that the evidence submitted to him was quite satisfactory.
§ Mr. GLANVILLE
Will my right hon. Friend refer to the statement in the document sent to him to see whether it confirms the statement he has just made?