HC Deb 01 November 1916 vol 86 cc1685-6

asked the Secretary to the Admiralty if Ernest Walter Dickes, who is employed by the Admiralty at a salary of £485 per annum, and who recently appeared before the Lambeth Tribunal as a conscientious objector, is the same Ernest Walter Dickes who when deputy cashier at Portsmouth Dockyard "was ordered to leave that district by the military authority, acting under the Defence of the Realm Act; if so, why was he so removed; and why is he retained in the Government service?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question, Mr. Dickes was tried at Portsmouth last year at the instance of the competent military authority on a charge of having a false certificate in his possession, and, after the case had been dismissed by the magistrates, the competent military authority issued a notice prohibiting Mr. Dickes from remaining in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth. As regards the last part of the question, Mr. Dickes has been retained because, after careful review of all the circumstances of his case and consultation with the military, it was not considered that sufficient grounds existed for his discharge from the Government service. He is, I should say, an established Civil servant with over twenty years' service under the Admiralty, married, and nearly forty-one years of age. After leaving Portsmouth, where he served as deputy cashier, Mr. Dickes was transferred to the National Debt Office. He is now employed in the Accountant-General's Department at the Admiralty in connection with the claims from dependants of deceased sailors. He was exempted as a conscientious objector by the Lambeth Tribunal, subject to the proviso that he should undertake work which, not being under military control, was nevertheless useful for the prosecution of the War, and the Committee on Work of National Importance have informed the tribunal that they could not recommend any work of national importance more useful for the prosecution of the War than that in which he is at present engaged. The present position is that the Lambeth Tribunal refuse to recognise this arrangement as fulfilling the condition on which they were prepared to exempt Mr. Dickes from military service, and the question of his further retention is now under consideration.


I beg to give notice that I shall call attention to this matter.