HC Deb 12 June 1918 vol 106 cc2194-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that numerous men of the 16th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment, formerly Sussex Yeomanry, who were mobilised in August, 1914, and are some of them time-expired men, have served successively in Gallipoli, Egypt, and Palestine, and are now in France without having been granted any leave; and whether he will endeavour to arrange that after this long period of service they may have an early opportunity of seeing their families?


As my hon. Friend will realise, the military exigencies of the moment necessarily allow only a limited number of troops being given leave, but I can assure him that the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief will give every consideration, when opportunity permits, to those who have had long service in other theatres of war and who are now serving on the Western Front.


Will the case of the men of the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Battalions of the Royal Sussex, which I had the honour to command, be also attended to?


Most certainly.

28. Sir F. HALL

asked the Undersecretary of State for War whether he is aware that a number of men serving in Egypt and Salonika have not been home for over two and in some cases more than three years; how many men have been sent on leave since the commencement of hostilities, and how many are now being sent home weekly; what is the duration of their leave; whether there is an equal distribution of such leave amongst each unit; and whether, considering that these men volunteered for service with the Colours, steps will immediately be taken to increase the number of men sent home on leave with a view to endeavouring to allow every man from these theatres of war to come back at least once in eighteen months or not more than two years?


As I have frequently explained, the facilities for transportation govern the limitation of all leave granted to troops serving in Egypt and Salonika. I can, however, assure my hon. and gallant Friend that everything possible, consistent with the military situation, is being done to increase the numbers to whom leave is granted. The duration of leave is twenty-one days, and there is, I understand, equitable distribution amongst units.

35. Mr. JOWETT

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War concerning a soldier who has not been home for three and a half years, is stationed at Amara, Mesopotamia, has undergone a dangerous operation for abscess on the kidneys, and is broken in health, if he will make inquiries into the case with a view to his being allowed leave to return home before the next hot season comes on?


A soldier suffering from a serious disability such as that mentioned by my hon. Friend would, as soon as it were possible to move him, be sent to a sanatorium in India, and, if the medical authorities considered it essential, would, when well enough to travel, be brought home as transportation permitted. As I have frequently explained, owing 1o the great difficulties of transport, it is not possible to bring home more than a very limited number of troops for leave in England.