HC Deb 17 July 1916 vol 84 cc675-6
95. Mr. WATT

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that many men in the 52nd Division have been for over twelve months serving in Gallipoli and in the desert round Suez without having any days of rest given them, much less the opportunity of returning home for any time; that preference in the way of rest changes seems to be given to men who have been wounded or sick and who, for these reasons, have had rests and home visits; that therefore many of the hardest and best soldiers have been for these twelve months without any break; and whether he will see that in the future every man in these climates gets opportunity of change and home visit before the breakdown of his health?


The War Office does not, of course, receive reports as to how particular men or groups of men are or may be situated in regard to the grant of leave. This matter is one for the discretion of the Commander-in-Chief concerned, to whom all the circumstances and considerations involved are far better known than they can be to anyone in this country. I cannot, therefore, give any undertaking that the men referred to will be given leave, but I can say with confidence that points such as those mentioned, are fully considered by the military authorities concerned.


Does not the hon. Gentleman see that the system, as outlined in the question, puts a premium on men falling sick?


No; I should not say that it puts a premium on men falling sick. Obviously, men who do fall sick must have consideration.


Will the same principle be applied in a climate like Mesopotamia?


Of course, the whole question must be governed by the exigencies of the military situation.

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