HC Deb 14 November 1916 vol 87 cc568-9

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a recent recruit from the extreme West of Ireland with an imperfect knowledge of the English language joined the Irish Guards, Caterham Barracks; that whilst being questioned on parade by Lieutenant Onslow he failed to understand, and innocently dropped into his native tongue; that the officer asked the sergeant for an explanation, and, on being told that the man was speaking Irish, ordered him to be placed in the guardroom and subsequently sentenced him to seven days' confinement to barracks; that the case has aroused indignation amongst the Irish Guards; and will he take steps to transfer this officer to some other regiment?


This man came to the Guards Depot as a recruit for the Irish Guards from the recruiting office at Edinburgh, and I do not know whether originally he belonged to the extreme West of Ireland. He was reported for being idle at his duties. On being questioned whether he had any excuse regarding the matters for which he was reported, he replied in Gaelic. He was subsequently heard to say in English vernacular that "he had pulled his company officer's leg by speaking in Gaelic," and he admitted telling his comrades this when he was questioned. He was charged with irregular conduct in the company orderly room in answering to the company officer in Gaelic language and afterwards boasting to his comrades of doing so. For this he was awarded three days' confinement to barracks. My hon. Friend will see that the facts are not as stated in the question. No action is contemplated.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the information I have obtained is from a source equally reliable with the source from which he has obtained the information which he has given to the House, and is it not quite possible that the facts are not as the hon. Gentleman has stated them?


Will the hon. Gentleman send out a circular and ask if there is some sense of humour in the Army?