HC Deb 19 July 1916 vol 84 cc1008-10

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Lieutenant Lawrence Joseph Petre gave up his business and was granted a commission in the 10th Royal West Surrey Regiment soon after the commencement of the War, that he worked hard and satisfactorily in that capacity, and that on the battalion going abroad he was kept behind on the ground of age; whether he is aware that he was recommended by his commanding officer as a very hard working and industrious officer for appointment as officer in command of details at home and he was so appointed; whether he is aware that he was then asked to relinquish his commission on the ground of age, that he then applied for a vacancy in the mechanical transport section of the Army Service Corps, and after an interview at the War Office proceeded to various tests, all of which he discharged satisfactorily, and that on the 22nd June, when he was expecting his transfer to the Army Service Corps, he was gazetted out of the Army without any further communication whatever; and whether the Army Council has the slightest complaint against this officer, or whether this is to be taken as a sample of the way in which the Army Council treats those officers of whom they were glad to avail themselves earlier in the War?


I cannot, I fear, follow my hon. Friend through all the numerous points of detail raised by this question. Broadly, the case is that Lieutenant Petre's retention as an Infantry subaltern in a service battalion was not, on account of his age, considered to be in the public interest and Lieutenant Petre stated in writing that he appreciated what was said as to his position as subaltern. He asked to be transferred to some branch of the Army Service Corps. This was considered, but as it was found that he could not suitably be employed, a notification was sent to this effect. On receipt of this Lieutenant Petre asked for and was granted an interview, after he had submitted details of his qualifications. It was not, however, found possible to employ him in the Army Service Corps and this was notified on 19th June. Lieutenant Petre was gazetted as relinquishing his commission on 21st June. The concluding sentence of my hon. Friend's question does not represent correctly the attitude of the Army Council to this officer, and consequently the generalisation is also incorrect.