HC Deb 06 March 1918 vol 103 cc1963-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether it is proposed to sanction the continued employment of seventy-five Army orderlies on civil duty in lunatic asylums in Scotland, the men to be transferred to Class W Reserve; whether he is aware that when attention was drawn in the first instance to the transfer of soldiers who had formerly been asylum attendants to certain asylums in Scotland a promise was given that the men would be withdrawn; whether he is also aware that the Board of Control for Scotland have issued a circular pointing out that these seventy-five orderlies are to be transferred to Class W Reserve, but that they will be subject to military discipline, inasmuch as in the event of their proving unsatisfactory in any way they will at once be replaced in the Army and substitutes provided in their stead; and whether, as a method of punishment, these men may be so treated?


Yes, Sir; it has been decided, with the concurrence of the Ministry of National Service, to have these men placed in Class W of the Reserve, with a view to their continued employment The names of those willing to transfer have been called for and action is being taken The delay in the transfer is due to the difficulty which the General Board of Control for Scotland have found in obtaining suitable men to replace those not willing to transfer. Every effort is being made to expedite the transfers, but should any of them prove unsuitable they may be retransferred to the Army. I have not seen the circular to which my hon. Friend refers, but I am afraid I cannot accept his interpretation, as these men are in the same position as regards their liability to be retransferred or called up, as munition workers or any other men eligible for military service.