HC Deb 15 May 1916 vol 82 cc1117-8
73. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he can state whether the four sons of Mr. G. A. Dunn, hat manufacturer, of Stockport, named, respectively, Randolph, Clifford, Howard, and Lloyd, have secured exemption from the Hertfordshire Tribunal from military service as conscientious objectors; whether he is aware that at the hearing of their appeal Mr. Frampton, a barrister, who appealed on their behalf, stated that his clients would refuse to kill rats or mice even if they attacked their crops, and if they saw a cat killing a rat they would try and prevent it; and if he will state whether the military authorities intend to appeal against the decision of the tribunal?


A report is being obtained.

78 and 79. Mr. SNOWDEN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) if he will make an immediate inquiry into the treatment of a number of conscientious objectors who belong to Darwen, Lancashire, who were taken to the military barracks at Preston and there subjected to the grossest ill-treatment, being forcibly stripped and marched round the barrack square practically undressed, and after being put in uniform one of them was taken into a room and, on the testimony of a person there, brutally kicked around the room until his groans could be heard outside; in view of the fact that statements of similar and worse treatment of conscientious objectors are coming from many other districts, will he take immediate steps to have this brutal conduct on the part of the military stopped and proper punishment meted out to those responsible for it; and (2) what action he has taken upon the allegations of D. S. Parkes, a conscientious objector to military service, who has been convicted by a district court-martial at Winchester on charges of refusal to obey military orders; that on his arrest under the Military Service Act, 1916, he was placed in the guard room at Whitehall and informed that he would be shot at dawn for refusing to give information demanded; that he was insulted by the non-commissioned officer in charge of the guard room, who also placed a bayonet to his heart; that he was then taken into another room, where a rifle was pointed at him and then he was told that he was graciously pardoned; that this action was repeated later, a rifle being loaded in his presence and an order given to a soldier to fire; and, if no action has been taken upon these serious allegations, will he order a thorough inquiry at once into the alleged conduct of the non-commissioned officers, and soldiers who tortured this man?


As my hon. Friend has not seen his way to respond to the appeal I made last week, reports have been called for about these two cases.


May I ask if an action for assault can be brought in the Courts in a case such as that alleged in this question to have been committed?


I cannot answer that hypothetical question.