HC Deb 02 April 1919 vol 114 cc1182-3
58. Lieutenant-Colonel DALRYMPLE WHITE

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, with a view to prevent undue delay in the demobilisation of men who joined the Colours in 1914–15 or those over age, including those serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Service Corps, and other Departmental units, an inspecting officer of field rank, or over, may be appointed in each theatre of operations to investigate all cases of men who, though eligible by age or service, have not yet been demobilised?


I regret that the proposal put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend cannot be entertained. Officers commanding units are in possession of full instructions regulating the demobilisation of personnel under their command, and I am of opinion that they are the most fitted to judge whether it is necessary temporarily to retain men who are otherwise eligible for demobilisation. I would also refer to the answer given yesterday to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Northern Midlothian and Peebles, from which it will be seen that the decisions of officers commanding units must be referred to higher authority in the case of men in certain categories.

Lieutenant-Colonel WHITE

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the War Officers Commanding hospitals, in particular, were notorious for employing a far larger number of orderlies and fatigue men than was necessary, and if he does not consider therefore that such officers may now retain an unnecessarily large number of men?


I have been putting on the greatest possible pressure to accelerate the demobilisation of medical personnel of all ranks.