HC Deb 13 February 1917 vol 90 cc432-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Colonel Allett, who was mentioned in dispatches for his work in the Dublin rising is the same officer who was present at the raid on Mr. Sheehy-Skeffington's house on the 28th April and who, being apparently senior officer to both Major Roxborough and Sir Francis Vane, took a party of soldiers with Captain Colthurst to effect this raid, which has been publicly declared by the Royal Commission to be disgraceful; whether the Secretary of State for War is aware that the raid was without the knowledge of the officer commanding the troops in Portobello and directly in contravention of an agreement made between Sir Francis Vane and Major Roxborough, which was, in effect, that Captain Colthurst should not be allowed outside barracks in command of troops; why has Colonel Allett, the leader, in company with Captain Colthurst of the raiding party on the house of Mr. Sheehy-Skeffing-ton, who had been murdered on the previous day, been mentioned in dispatches, whereas Major Sir Francis Vane, who was recommended in dispatches by Colonel Maconachie, C.B., brigadier-general of the 178th brigade, and who was acknowledged by the Royal Commission to be the officer who reported the murders in London, has been left without any mention of his services and without any command; and whether any steps will be taken to remove the impression calculated to be produced under such circumstances that Colonel Allett was the recipient of an honour for his participation in an outrage, and Sir Francis Vane was passed over for bringing to the knowledge of Lord Kitchener the perpetration of murders of which he had been kept in ignorance?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Being a retired officer, reemployed as draft-conducting officer only, Colonel Allett exercised no command, and Accompanied the party on his own initiative. The answer to the second part is in the affirmative. Nothing is known of the agreement referred to in the third part. Such an agreement would, I understand, be irregular. Recommendations for mentions in dispatches are dealt with by General Officers Commanding in Chief, And the Army Council are not concerned with recommendations made to these officers by subordinate commanders, nor is it their practice to interfere with the discretion of the General Officer Commanding in Chief in these matters. I cannot accept my hon. and learned Friend's suggestion in the last part of the question, and see no ground for supposing that such an impression will be created.


Do I understand then that the reason why Colonel Allett was mentioned in dispatches was that he was present, an aider and abettor in this raiding party conducted by Colthurst on the house of the man Colthurst murdered?


Certainly not.


Will the hon. Gentleman be able to reconcile how it is that Colonel Allett, whose only military service was this, was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished conduct in the field, whereas Sir Francis Vane, who communicated for the first time to Lord Kitchener the fact of this murder, and in whose presence the late Prime Minister's private secretary wrote a telegram at his in stance——




May I conclude my question. How is it that he has not been mentioned having regard to that service which brought to Lord Kitchener's notice the murder and originated Lord Kitchener's telegram?


The supplementary question is almost as long as the question on the Paper.

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