HC Deb 07 March 1917 vol 91 cc376-7
26. Colonel M'CALMONT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether certain Irish battalions have already been absorbed owing to lack of recruits; whether the majority of other Irish battalions have already received drafts of men who are neither Irishmen nor of Irish descent nor of Irish regiments; and. if so, what steps he proposes to cake in the matter?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Other Irish battalions, probably the majority, have received drafts of the nature stated owing to lack of reinforcements from Ireland.

Captain W. A. REDMOND

May I ask whether the 10th Battalion Royal Dublin Fusiliers, who from the time of their inception have expressed their desire to join an Irish unit, namely, an Irish Division, are still kept against their declared wishes in the Royal Naval Division at present in France?


I have no specific information about that, but I will make inquiries.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in this House the present Prime Minister stated that he would endeavour to allow these men, who were recruited in Dublin for a Dublin regiment and an Irish Division, to fight for their own country in their own division and under their own flag, and not in the Naval Division?


I have no recollection of any such pledge having been given, but I know that each individual case is submitted to the War Office, and where an Irish soldier wishes to be transferred to an Irish regiment he invariably is so transferred.


May I ask whether it is a fact that this battalion of Dublin Fusiliers have asked the War Office to be sent to an Irish Division, and whether it is also a fact that it is nothing but a crying scandal that Members should come here and say the Irish Divisions cannot be filled up by Irishmen when Irish battalions are with other regiments?


The hon. and gallant Member is anticipating the debate.

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