HC Deb 04 November 1918 vol 110 cc1797-8
79. Mr. ALDEN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that anxiety is felt by the older men in the Service with regard to the question of priority on demobilisation; and whether he will give such priority in the case of Gunner A. E. Dermott, No. 31428, Hut 14, Camp 15, 13th (R.) Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Larkhill, near Amesbury, Salisbury Plain, who enlisted as a boy in the service on 12th May, 1903, signing on for twelve years, who volunteered again for the duration of the War, who served in sixteen operations on the North-West Frontier in India and then in Mesopotamia from 1910 to July 1918, and has not returned home for eleven consecutive years?


I am not aware that there is any general feeling of anxiety among the older men in the Service with regard to priority of demobilisation. As I have already stated in the reply which I gave on Wednesday, the 23rd October last, to my Noble Friend the Member for Lancashire (South-West) the scheme of demobilisation provides for a certain priority to be given to long-service men, and a percentage of such men will normally be included in each draft for dispersal. I am afraid it is quite impossible at this stage to guarantee priority of demobilisation to any individual member of the forces.


Will my right hon. Friend again take into special and favourable consideration the question of the men who have served, like this man, for eleven consecutive years without coming home?


I shall be very glad to take individual cases into con- sideration, but I am really afraid it is quite impossible to give any definite promise.