HC Deb 22 January 1918 vol 101 cc797-8
16. Mr. G. LAMBERT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he is aware that soldiers home on leave reaching Exeter after seven o'clock on Saturday night cannot, owing to lack of train accommodation, reach their homes in North Devon until Monday morning unless conveyed by motor vehicles; whether he is aware that free petrol for this purpose has been refused by the military authorities and a request to have petrol supplied by payment has been ignored, consequently men home for a short respite from France will have to hang about Exeter for thirty-six to forty hours unless petrol is obtainable; and will petrol therefore be made available for the purpose of getting men to their homes at the earliest moment?


In view of the drastic restrictions on petrol I am afraid that it is not possible to grant this concession without raising similar claims all over the country. I would suggest to my right hon. Friend that a solution might be found in the fitting of some of the vehicles to consume gas.


Is the lion. Gentleman aware that these soldiers offered voluntarily to pay for the petrol, and surely the military authorities should be allowed to provide petrol under those circumstances?


Similar cases have occurred in that part of Scotland with which I am connected.


Does the hon. Gentleman not think that the awkward position these men find themselves in constitutes a very good reason why an extension of leave should be made in their case?


In all reasonable cases of delay the War Office is always anxious to give further leave if possible.


Is the hon. Member aware that soldiers on leave in Bangor cannot stay until Monday morning without their leave being extended by two days?


We usually try in all cases to make up for lost time.