HC Deb 06 August 1919 vol 119 cc360-1
72. Mr. CAREW

asked whether the 1st/4th Devons, who were sent out to India at the outbreak of the War, are now being split up into email parties and attached to other regiments; and whether this may unduly delay their return home, which has been so long promised?


The cadre of this battalion is on its way home. Such personnel as were liable to be retained under existing Army Orders will have been transferred to other units, but it is not considered that this will unduly delay their return home. I would also refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave yesterday to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Molton.


Can the right hon. Gentleman now say whether these men are now being sent to the Afghan frontier?


No, I cannot. We are endeavouring to release these men as fast as possible. Battalions are going out every week to relieve these men, but, meanwhile, the position on the Indian frontier is such as to call for a large force, and the Indian authorities must have full latitude to deal with these troops until they can be replaced to the best possible advantage.

73. Mr. CLOUGH

asked whether there are still in India any officers and men who, prior to 30th April last, had been certified by medical boards as unfit to remain in the country; and, if so, can their return be expedited?


In March, 1919, there were 6,463 unfit men and 215 officers recommended on medical grounds for repatriation before the hot weather. Of the men 5,500 were sent home and the remaining 963 unfit, taken from the least urgent cases in order of medical priority, were sent up to the hill stations. In April, on a further reduction of the garrison of India, most of these' remaining cases were sent home. It is possible on account of the recent outbreak that some of these men may have had to be retained, but they have been in excellent climates in the hill stations.