HC Deb 12 July 1916 vol 84 cc308-10

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Thomas Merrick, a conscientious objector at Bristol, who had declined to join the Army and was living at home liable to arrest, was induced by a Mr. Brownrigg, acting for the recruiting authorities, to go to the recruiting office to see a Major Carr, on a pledge that he would not be detained there; that Merrick did this and was then arrested, and was thereby deprived of the civil trial he would otherwise have been entitled to; and will he take such steps as will reinstate Merrick in his right to have the question of his arrest decided by the Bristol magistrates?

24. Mr. WATT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there has been a widespread outbreak of scabies among the soldiers in Dublin during the last few weeks; and, if so, whether this has been traced to the uncleanliness of the bedclothes used; and whether any precautions are now being taken in Dublin and elsewhere to have the blankets, etc., thoroughly cleansed at much more frequent intervals?


asked (1) whether Willoughby Perrin, No. 4992, a conscientious objector conscripted into A Company, 2/7th Cheshire Regiment, now at Old Warden, Bedford, was forcibly vaccinated in June, his arms being held by soldiers whilst the operation was per performed; seeing that this was a violation of the undertaking given to this House, whether the officer who performed this operation will be punished, and what disciplinary measures will be taken with officers guilty of such conduct in future; (2) whether he is aware that Private William Good, No. 24495, 3rd Battalion K.S.L.I., G Company, who joined the Colours on Friday, 2nd June, and was sent to Pembroke Dock, whilst suffering from inflamed arm and sore throat following vaccination, was compelled to attend drill on 20th June, when he complained of giddiness, became unconscious, and died in Pembroke Hospital without re covering consciousness at five o'clock the next morning, 21st June, and that in the last letter received from him by his wife four days before his death he complained of his suffering from vaccination; whether he was buried without an inquest, though his wife, had been informed that an in quest would be held; whether, after his burial on 24th June, she was informed that the cause of death was meningitis, though the illness resulting in death commenced with vaccination; and whether any and, if so, what compensation the widow will receive for the loss of her husband in the Army service; and (3) whether he is aware that smallpox recently broke out among the ⅙th Battalion Essex Regiment, C Company, encamped in Egypt, that out of seven men in one tent two vaccinated men, Corporal Jackson and Private Edrey, contracted the disease, that the only unvaccinated and uninoculated man in the tent, Private Crofts, escaped infection, and that Private Crofts was selected, by his own desire, to nurse the small-pox patients for three days pending their removal to the base hospital; whether he is aware that two other men subsequently fell victims to fever and were nursed a further three days by Private Crofts in an isolation tent; whether, in view of these facts, it is still maintained by the War Office that un vaccinated and uninoculated men are a danger to their comrades; and whether he will honour the last promise given by Lord Kitchener that no pressure should be put upon conscientious objectors to vaccination and inoculation by punishing officers guilty of using such pressure?


Inquiry will be made about the matter dealt with in these questions, and with the permission of the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State will send them the results of the inquiries by letter.

77. Mr. E. HARVEY

asked the Home-Secretary whether he is able to state the progress that has been made with regard to the arrangements for the conscientious objectors to military service who have been transferred to civil prisons from the Army?


The Committee appointed by me have now, practically completed the necessary arrangements for the transfer from prison to work of national importance of those men whose objection to military service may be held to be genuine by the Central Appeal Tribunal. The arrangements can be put into operation as soon as the cases are dealt with by the tribunal.