HC Deb 07 June 1917 vol 94 cc300-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether he has now been able to inquire into the methods of re-examining recruits at Hulme Town Hall; whether he is aware that men there are still being passed for Class A, though previously rejected once or more times, and without proper examination; whether in many cases at this station the man's previous medical history is either not available or not made use of; what steps he proposes to take; (2) with regard to the case of T. D. McKelvey, of 5, West Richmond Street, Cross Lane, Salford, whether this man was rejected at Pendleton Town Hall on 24th June, 1916; whether he was cursorily re-examined by the same board that previously rejected him at Hulme Town Hall on 9th May last, and is now passed as B 1; whether he is suffering from deafness and varicocele; (3) with regard to the case of T. Cross, of 8, Santley Street, Longsight, Manchester, whether he is aware that he was three times rejected as medically unfit, and has now been passed at Hulme Town Hall in C 1; whether his previous medical history was examined by the board when they passed him; (4) with regard to the case of William Jones, of 11, Carter Street, Salford, whether this man was discharged from the Army as medically unfit for further service in February, 1914; whether he was subsequently twice rejected for the Army, namely, at Holdsworth Town Hall, November, 1915, and Pendleton Town Hall, September, 1916; whether he suffers from double mitral murmur and severe varix in left leg and is unable to perform hard physical work of any kind; whether, in spite of all this, he was passed at Hulme Town Hall on 11th May last and classified A for service abroad; whether it is proposed to send such a man to the front in view of the waste of public money and effort involved; (5) with regard to the case of Private Edmunds, of 2, Lynton Street, Salford, whether he is aware that this man twice volunteered at the outbreak of war and was rejected as permanently medically unfit, and was given a certificate to this effect; that he was again examined under the Derby Scheme and given complete exemption; that he has now been examined a fourth time at Hulme Town Hall and passed Class A; and whether he has any official information showing that such a man is likely to be of any effective military value at the front; and (6) with regard to the case of H. J. Nicholson, of 244, Moss Lane East, Moss Side, Manchester, whether he is aware that this man received a certificate as over age in September last, but has now been re-examined at Hulme Town Hall, the certificate of over age taken from him, and he has been classified as C 1; and whether he will explain under what statutory authority this action has been taken?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether he will secure a further consideration of the case of Alfred Cree, 29, Scholes Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, who was first rejected in October, 1915, then in December, 1915, under the Derby scheme, again in March, 1916, and again on 14th August, 1916, at Hulme Town Hall by Lieutenant-Colonel Collie, in spite of which he was passed B 2 by Lieutenant-Colonel Gullam at Hulme Town Hall on 15th May and commanded to join the Colours on 30th May; and whether the reasons for his rejections were not sufficiently valid as he was born with cataract of the right eye, which has proved incurable, and this has greatly impaired the sight of the left eye, and has also undergone an operation for vari-cocele, the effects of which have not disappeared; (2) whether he will secure a reconsideration of the case of Gilbody, the son of William Gilbody, 97, Fenney Street, Higher Broughton, Salford, on the ground of gravely defective health, attested by two well-known Manchester doctors, Dr. Moreland and Dr. G. Reynolds; whether Gilbody has valvular disease of the heart, vomiting attacks which require a special diet, and has lost 10 lbs. in weight since he was rejected, finally as he believed, last September; whether he is aware that Colonel Crawford told him at Pendleton that he was totally unfit for military service, and that on 22nd May he was summoned before Major Cox at Pendleton, who passed him Class B3; (3) whether he will secure a further reconsideration of the case of H. Boyes, 39, Arrow Street, Broughton Lane, Salford, who was rejected by Dr. Burgess, of the 8th Lancashire Fusiliers, on 15th October, again rejected at Broughton Town Hall on 8th December, 1915, under Lord Derby's scheme by Dr. Boddy, was re-examined at Hulme Town Hall on 21st August, 1916, and rejected by Major Reid, Royal Army Medical Corps (being told that this rejection was final), and was called up to Pendleton Town Hall on 18th May, 1917, and passed as B1; and whether he is aware that Boyes was rejected three times because he had a fractured right leg which was badly united?

153 and 154. Mr. JACOBSEN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) if he is aware that Mr. Sam Leigh, of Hyde, was called up under the Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act for medical re-examination; that this man lost his left arm some years ago and had notified the authorities of this fact; and that nevertheless he was instructed to proceed to Chester Castle on 17th May, where he was ordered to strip in the usual way, although it was obvious that the arm was missing, and he could only do it with great difficulty; whether he is aware that no classification card was given to him and, in consequence of this, he was required to attend at Chester Castle again for still another examination; if under any Regula- tion Army medical authorities are allowed to accept for service in any category men who have lost the entire use of one limb; (2) if he is aware that early on 22nd May some twenty to thirty men residing in Hyde, all previously rejected, were sent from Hyde to Chester Castle for re-examination under the Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act and that the medical board were unable to make the examinations on that day; that the men were therefore detained and placed in the married quarters of the castle with a mattress and two blankets, but that no food was given to them on either that or the next day, although they were told that food was available and would be supplied on payment; whether he is aware that many of these men, unprepared for such treatment, were penniless and unable to buy such food; and if he will ensure that men not in the Army through no fault of their own and called up for re-examination receive ordinary rations or allowance if unduly detained by the Army authorities?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that the medical board at Ulverston recently passed as fit for general service a man who is dumb and who has to wear a strait-jacket to keep him from collapsing; whether he is aware that when the Ulverston Tribunal gave this man exemption Mr. Chapman, the military representative, appealed on the ground that the local tribunal had no right to set themselves over the decision of the medical board; whether a local tribunal has the power to grant exemption when it knows that a mistake has been made; (2) whether he is aware that at the Hulme Town Hall, Manchester, a man was passed for military service who at the outbreak of war tried to enlist in the 6th Manchesters, but was refused on account of flat foot, bad eyesight, and two operations (one for appendicitis and the other for hernia); that this man on subsequently trying to join the Public Schools and also the Manchester University Officers' Training Corps, was rejected for the reasons stated above; when Lord Derby's scheme came out he again attested, but was marked medically unfit by Captain Maclure, Royal Army Medical Corps; in June, 1916, he went into Manchester Infirmary for an operation caused through stoppage of the bowels, and had a large part of his intestines taken out; after leaving the infirmary a pink form calling him up for re-examination was received, when he was again refused, the form this time being signed by Captain Hallewell; that after another week or so he had again to go into the infirmary and have the gall bladder taken out on account of gall-stones; that Dr. Platt will verify this, and that Dr. Howart Lea, Cheetham Hill, and Major Roberts can verify other particulars; and whether, seeing that a man with such a record would not be able to stand the strain of military training, he will see to it that competent men are employed to examine recruits and that each man's previous medical history shall have proper consideration?


I am inquiring into these cases, and will write to my hon. Friends as soon as I am in a position to do so.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is grave dissatisfaction in regard to a very large number of these cases, and will he undertake promptly to have them dealt with, and to send an inspector down and inquire into these particular recruiting stations?


We are sending inspectors over the country now.


Is my hon. Friend aware that his attention was called to this matter before the Recess? Has he had any inquiries made in the interval, and cannot he tell us the result of his investigations?


In view of the large number of cases that my hon. Friend has to inquire into, would he like the assistance of hon. Members of this House, who might place some of their time and ability at his disposal?


Can we have a day to discuss it?