§ 16. Major HUNT
asked the Undersecretary of State for War whether, as a lieutenant of the Royal Engineers, whose name has already been communicated, was in command of bodies of troops on active service in France for fifteen months, and was twice recommended for promotion in the field by officers of general rank, specially mentioned in Army Orders for conspicuous gallantry and bravery, thrice specially commended by general officers for his work in the field, and ultimately invalided as a result of active service, he can say why this officer has been refused his promotion and/or the honorary rank of captain when the War Office knows that the withholding of this honorary rank will deprive this officer, who is a married man with a wife and three children to support, of the appointment which he now holds and by which he earns his living?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
The Commander-in-Chief in the field has authority to grant the acting rank of captain when an officer with lower rank is employed in 719 place of a captain, and I know of no case where a subaltern performing captain's duties has been refused that acting rank. Whenever a subaltern serving on a temporary commission in the Royal Engineers has been recommended for promotion to temporary captain, and the recommendation has been received from an Expeditionary Force, the promotion has, I understand, invariably been carried out. I regret that a subaltern who has had to relinquish his commission on account of ill-health cannot be granted the honorary rank of captain unless he has held that rank while serving.
§ Major HUNT
As the hon. Gentleman does not dispute the officer's services, what is the reason why the red tape of the War Office prevents this man from earning his living, merely because they will not give him his military rank? It seems rather hard after his fifteen months' service.
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
I have stated the facts very fully and very sympathetically. I know the case to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers very intimately, and I think that it would be quite appropriate if the body at present employing this distinguished officer would waive the custom which they have.