HC Deb 17 May 1916 vol 82 cc1518-9
34 and 36. Mr. KING

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that Mr. H. Charles Woods, formerly of the Grenadier Guards, is an acknowledged authority on Asiatic Turkey and the Balkan Peninsula and has obtained a certificate in the Turkish language; whether any steps have been taken, or will be taken, to utilise his services in some special direction where his peculiar knowledge of and experiences in the Near East may be of value; and (2) whether, in the face of public declarations by the Army. Council or by his then senior officers that he was inefficient as a regimental officer, that he never was a really efficient regimental officer, that he was never likely to be fitted to command troops under service conditions, and that his retention in the Service was not in the interests of the Army, Mr. H. Charles Woods, formerly of the Grenadier Guards, has been offered a commission carrying with it those very duties for which he is disqualified, namely, those of a regimental officer; whether it had been suggested to him that the best way of securing extra-regimental (special) work was to demonstrate his power and efficiency regimentally; and whether he was officially informed by the Secretary of the War Office on 28th February that no appointment was available in which his peculiar qualifications could be utilized?


I understand that Mr. Charles Woods has written articles in the Press on "Near Eastern Questions," and that he passed an examination in Turkish in July, 1907. He is not the only person who has written such articles or passed such an examination. This officer was told that his services were not required extra-regimentally, but he was informed that, if he put forward an application for regimental employment, a commission would be granted.


Does not that amount to saying that an officer who has been proved or stated to be regimentally inefficient would be received as a regimental officer, and one who has proved his efficiency in other respects will not be received to serve in those other respects?


No, Sir. What it really means is this: the officer might become regimentally efficient as a regimental officer and opportunity was given in order to demonstrate that.