HC Deb 07 November 1916 vol 87 cc9-10
12. Mr. MacVEAGH

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can say if a draft of 200 men from the Connaught Rangers have been taken from Kinsale, county Cork, and sent, not to the Con-naught Rangers, but to the Seaforth Highlanders and compelled against their will to don the kilt; whether he can say who is responsible; whether the men will now be restored to their own regiment; and, seeing that a number of similar instances have occurred, whether he can state how the War Office proposes to keep the Irish regiments up to strength if men are withdrawn from them to fill up gaps in English and Scottish regiments?


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will publish a Return of the number and strength of all drafts from Irish regiments sent to other than Irish units?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Lloyd George)

Inquiry has been made, and the Officer Commanding the Reserve Battalion of the Connaught Rangers states that none of his men have been transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders. The Officer in Charge of Records concerned also states that he has no information regarding such a transfer. I am afraid I cannot publish the return asked for, as I am advised that it would be undesirable to do so on military grounds.

13. Mr. MacVEAGH

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Gunner M. Cowan, now serving with the 32nd Battery of the Royal Field Artillery, at Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow, was arrested in Rathfriland, county Down, on 16th August, whilst working on his mother's farm, and forced into the Army; whether he has ascertained that Cowan was only a few months in Scotland in his life, was not ordinarily resident there, and had returned permanently to Ireland a year before his arrest; and whether, as he is therefore illegally detained and has, moreover, been found to be physically unfit for drill, he will now be released?


To the answer I have already given on the first part of this question, I can now add that Cowan is reported to be physically fit for general service.


Is my hon. Friend aware that this man is at present in hospital, and how can he be fit for general service?


It is quite possible that he has been passed and reported fit for general service, and it may be that he is suffering from some purely temporary illness.


Has the hon. Gentleman received any report from the doctor? As a matter of fact the doctor has not seen him at all. May I ask will the hon. Gentleman communicate with this doctor and see if he is gifted with second sight?


We have communicated and that is the report I have received that he has been passed for general service.


Does it state that he has seen him—can I have an answer to that question?


I have given all the information I have.


Is it not the fact that in many cases the doctors do not see them at all?


I beg to give notice that I shall put this question down again, because the answer I have received is most misleading.

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