HC Deb 20 November 1917 vol 99 cc1152-4

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House, of the 12th February, proposed the Question, " That this House do now adjourn."

Major HUNT

I want to bring before the House the case of Lieut.-Colonel Browne. The Under-Secretary for War, whom I do not blame at all, told us that efficiency was a matter of opinion. I want to invite the opinion of the House of Commons on the question of the conduct of Colonel Browne during the War through which we are now passing. I would remind the House that Colonel Browne received the South African medal with five clasps, that he was at the front in France for thirty-two months —about eighteen months of that time as commanding officer—and that he was wounded two or three times. Service members will recognise the enormous strain this must have been on any man. The hon. Member who first took up this case and then turned it over to me was very strongly of the opinion that Colonel Browne at the time was suffering temporarily from shell shock. I went into the case very carefully with a well-known brigadier who has made study of military law, and his opinion was most distinctly that even if colonel Browne's record had not been half as good as it was, he should have been sent home to a medical hoard, and then he would have had a chance of getting six months at home. I have only time to read the recommendations of one general as to Colonel Browne's efficiency and he is a Guardsman, very well known to be very strong on discipline. The first remendations have been sent to the War office for confirmation, and they have not been disputed. It would be very difficult indeed for any officer to have a better record than Colonel Browne had in the War until he went into Colonel McCalmont's Division—

Notice taken that forty Members were not present: House counted and, forty members not being present,

The House was adjourned at Seven minutes after Eleven o'clock.