HC Deb 20 November 1918 vol 110 cc3410-1

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the 2nd King Edward's Horse was a regiment raised by private subscription and effort at the beginning of the War and subsequently adopted by the War Office as a British Regular Cavalry unit; whether he is aware that the men who originally enlisted in this regiment were Britons from Overseas who in many instances abandoned their positions at the call of duty; whether the men of this regiment have experienced hard fighting and distinguished themselves and are now entitled to prompt discharge and conveyance back to the foreign lands from which they came in the same manner and on the same terms as Colonial troops; and whether, notwithstanding several squadrons of this gallant regiment have been distributed amongst other British units, the men who at one time formed the regiment, whether in it now or not, will individually receive the same benefit and treatment as Colonial troops so far as discharge and transportation to their foreign homes is concerned?


I am aware of the facts mentioned in the first two parts of my hon. Friend's question, and I am pleased to acknowledge in this House the gallant and distinguished services rendered by the 2nd King Edward's Horse. Members of the regiment will receive the same benefits as other soldiers discharged from units of the British Army, and those who came from overseas will be entitled to repatriation at the public expense under the conditions applicable to officers and men who came from abroad and joined the British Army. I can assure my hon. Friend, who has taken a great interest in this unit, that every possible consideration will be given to them.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of these men came from the Argentine, leaving important businesses and positions, and that the Germans are particularly active in the Argentine against British interests; and will the right hon. Gentleman see that those men are allowed to return at the earliest possible moment?


As the person responsible for raising this regiment, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give his most favourable consideration to these men, who came to this country in answer to a cable that was sent broadcast over the world, and will he see that they are given free passages back to the places from which they came, if they were properly attested?


Yes; I promise that all these men will be given free passages back overseas to the places from which they came. Unfortunately, as my hon. and gallant Friend knows, this unit has been disbanded and there are many individual men belonging to this unit serving with other detachments, and it is extremely difficult to treat the unit as a whole, but any individual case presented to me by my hon. and gallant Friend will receive my sympathetic consideration.


May I ask whether various other men who came from the Colonies to join the Army will be given free passages back?