§ 55. Mr. HOUSTON
asked the Minister of National Service whether he will urge upon the War Office the need to employ coloured men in the fighting line and so release skilled workmen from the Army 807 for employment in the shipbuilding yards, engine shops, and mercantile marine; whether, as there are many coloured men from Africa in the Labour Battalions in France, it has been proved that they can stand the climate; and whether many coloured men are anxious to fight for the British flag, but have not been permitted to do so?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
My hon. Friend has pressed this question on more than one occasion, and I can assure him that the question of the employment of coloured men in the fighting line has received, and is now receiving, the most careful consideration. Every possible use is being made of their services in the various theatres of war.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that I have been pressing this question on the notice of the War Office since October, 1914, and that if my suggestion had been adopted, and the great reservoir of fighting men in South Africa had been drawn upon—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is making a statement with regard to his own action, and is not asking a question.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
May I ask whether, if the great reservoir of fighting men in South Africa had been drawn upon, it would not have been of very great effect and have had a beneficial bearing on the question of man-power in this country?