§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Mr. WHITLEY in the Chair.]
§ King's Message [5th August] read.
§ [Message from His Majesty (Naval, Military, and Air Forces) (Grants to Officers).]
§ Motion made, and. Question proposed,
§ "That a sum, not exceeding £585 000, be granted to His Majesty, to be issued to those officers who commanded and directed His forces by sea, on land, and in the air, in recognition of their eminent services during the late War, namely:
|Admiral of the Fleet, Sir David Beatty||100,000|
|Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Jellicoe||50,000|
|Admiral Sir Charles E. Madden||10,000|
|Admiral Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee||10,000|
|Rear-Admiral Sir John de Robeck.||10,000|
|Vice-Admiral Sir Roger J. B. Keyes||10,000|
|Commodore Sir Reginald J. Tyrwhitt||10,000|
|Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig||100,000|
|Field-Marshal Viscount French||50,000|
|Field-Marshal Sir Edmund Allenby||50,000|
|Field-Marshal Sir H. Plumer||30,000|
|Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson||10 000|
|General Sir Henry Rawlingon||30,000|
|General The Hon. Sir Julian Byng||30,000|
|General Sir Henry Horne||30,000|
|General Sir William Robertson||10 000|
|General Sir William Birdwood||10,000|
|Lieut.-Colonel Sir Maurice Hankey||25,000|
|Air Vice-Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard||10,000"|
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It is an honoured tradition of this country that it rewards liberally those who have rendered it conspicuous and distinguished services in time of peril, and that, I venture to say, is a sound tradition for a country. Ingratitude chills the ardour of service, and no State has long thriven which does not display its gratitude to those who have served it well in its time of peril. It was really one of the marked features of the distinction between Rome and Carthage, and the lesson is not without its value. I am proud of the fact that the pensions we have voted in this House—the scale of pensions—to the men who have served us well in the field and in the air and on the sea, is incomparably the most generous in Europe. I think the amount aggregates £98,000,000 a year, which is half the whole of the national expenditure before the War. There is no scale in Europe which compares with it, and I am proud of it. But we do wisely, we shall do wisely, if we accept this Motion, in maintaining the tradition that exceptional rewards should be given to those who have borne exceptional responsibilities with exceptional success. That is the proposition which I would invite the Committee to accept.
The Duke of Wellington had voted to him two pensions, in the aggregate £4,000 a year, for three lives, and after the Battle of Waterloo a sum of £500,000 was voted to him. That was for him alone. Lord Wolseley had £25,000 voted to him for the Ashanti campaign, and £30,000 for the Egyptian campaign. Those were moved by Mr. Gladstone, who was, undoubtedly, one of the most rigid and stern of all the great economists. Lord Roberts had £12,500 voted to him for the Afghan campaign and £100.000 for the Boer War. Lord Kitchener had £30,000 voted to him for the Soudan campaign, and £50,000 for the Boer War. Those two were moved by another famous and very rigid economist, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach. That was the view taken in the past of the kind of reward that ought to be accorded to men who had rendered services of this kind to 417 the country. In magnitude, in fateful-ness for this country, there is no comparison between those wars and the War which has just come to a conclusion. Therefore, the sums which we are inviting the Committee to agree to err in comparison, not on the side of over liberality, but quite the reverse, and we have come to the conclusion that the precedents of the past should rather be fined down, not because we regard the merits of the men to whom we are going to invite the House to accord the vote as being less in comparison than those whose names I have quoted, but because we had to have regard to the gigantic burdens of the community. I need hardly tell the Committee that our greatest difficulty was in choosing—a very difficult and delicate task. There were so many who have done well, there were so many who have rendered brilliant and even dazzling service, and our difficulty is not in recommending the names which are down in the list, but in confining the appeal to the munificence of Parliament to these names I may say a few words about each of these men. There are so many that I cannot possibly do justice to any of the individuals which are mentioned. Therefore, if I say a few sentences in respect to men of great and outstanding merit it must not be regarded as in the least an indication that I do not consider that a good deal more might be legitimately said to the Committee on the subject.
I, first of all, naturally, choose Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. I have already spoken in this House, and at some length, on his great qualities. His tenacity of purpose, his dauntlessness in the face of what looked like disaster, make him an embodiment of the race which is so proud to claim him amongst its sons. But there is another quality of Sir Douglas Haig, which is known well only to those who know him well, and that is the readiness with which he has always been prepared to subordinate self to the demands of his country. That was never more clearly manifested than in the way in which he accepted the command of Field-Marshal Foch over the British forces which hitherto had been commanded by Sir Douglas Haig. There have been great men in the past who have rendered distinguished service to their country in this and in other lands, and who never hesitated to risk their lives in rendering that service, but who, somehow, failed in loyalty when it was a question of personal pride or professional 418 pride. Sir Douglas Haig has been as ready to sacrifice his own pride of position as he has always been ready to run the risk of his life. For that especially we honour and respect him. After all, modesty adds a cubit to the stature of the tallest man.
I would like to say a word now about Lord French, and I should like to say that in this day of crowning triumph we must not forget the day of small things—the time when Field-Marshal French, then Sir John French, had to lead few men, fine men, great men, never finer soldiers quitted these shores to fight for the Flag, but they were few against overpowering odds, inadequately equipped against the most finely equipped Army in Europe. He fought one of the six decisive battles in this War. That is too often forgotten. Sir John French led the British Army in one of the six decisive battles and campaigns of a war which produced hundreds of great battles. He fought the battle of Ypres— it is now clear from the German account of it—against overpowering odds. He won it. Had it been lost, the War would have taken a different turn. From the moment he won it, the faith in German military supremacy was irretrievably doomed. It is, therefore, meet that we should now, when German militarism is shattered beyond recovery, remember the great commander who, with small means, fought during the first year of the War and won a battle which covered the British Army with honour.
The name of General Allenby will be ever remembered as that of the brilliant commander who fought and won the last and most triumphant of the crusades. It was his good fortune, aided by his skill, to be able to bring to a glorious end an enterprise which absorbed the chivalry of Europe for centuries. We forget now that the military strength of Europe was concentrated for generations upon this purpose, and concentrated in vain. A British Army under the command of General Allenby achieved it and achieved it finally.
I have spoken quite recently of Sir Henry Wilson, one of the most gifted soldiers this country has ever possessed. I will add only one word to what I have said. His vision and organising gifts constituted one of the most treasured assets of this country in the trying days of 1918, and no list would be complete without Sir Henry Wilson. As for Sir William 419 Robertson, his services were rendered in the all-important field of organisation. It is he we have to thank for the fact that the General Staff was so well organised and rendered such great service, especially during the last two or three years of the War. He certainly deserves a name in this great list. As for Air Vice-Marshal Trenchard, he, by his energy and daring and drive and imagination and magnetism, which make for great leadership in war, made the Air Force become the powerful and formidable fighting machine that it was.
I have another name, the name of one who took no part in battle, but who was as essential to our success in this War as any name—I mean Sir Maurice Hankey. It is difficult for those who know to speak about Sir Maurice Hankey's services without appearing to exaggerate. His services were known only to a few, but none rendered greater service, and none, therefore, is more worthy of honour and of thanks. If any Member of this House will take the trouble to ask the leaders in any sphere of this War or. of the Peace about the services of Sir Maurice Hankey, they will realise what I mean. Let them ask naval leaders or military leaders, let them ask M. Clemenceau or President Wilson or Signor Orlando, and they will all bear the same testimony. He was the first to recognise before this War that if a great war ever came it would be a matter not merely of fighting men, but for the organisation of the whole sources of a country, and he it was who initiated, organised, and inspired that war-book that is one of the most remarkable productions any man could peruse. Going through it now, one can see how he foresaw things which were perhaps not visible except to very searching minds like his at the time, and which have now become part of the horrible realities of war. He served under my predecessor for a good many years, and I am permitted to read a letter Mr. Asquith wrote to him in November of last year, after the signature of the Armistice. This is Mr. Asquith's letter:No one knows as well as I do how much we owe to you for our (ignorantly derided) prewar preparation, nor the extent and value of your daily, and almost hourly, contribution during the first two and a half years to every measure in all spheres that was thought out and done. I know that you have continued to the end, under constant strain which cannot be measured to render the same invaluable service. I 420 should like you to know that in my judgment you have been in a true sense what Carnot was called, 'The Organiser of Victory.'I am in accord with every word of that. He refused a highly remunerative offer in order to remain in the service of Britain. If Sir Maurice Hankey's name were left out of this list I should feel ashamed of it. There is no one who has a better right to be in it, and there is no one I recommend to the House with less hesitation.
With regard to the Army Commanders whose names are very well known and whose achievements are known, no Army ever had better fighting commanders, and those who take an interest in the history of war know how much a Commander-in-chief depends upon his fighting commanders, and how much they contributed to Wellington's success in the Peninsula and to Napoleon's success in his great European campaign. As a matter of fact when Napoleon was deprived of the support of his great Marshals he failed, and Sir Douglas Haig and Field-Marshal Foch were the first to recognise that it would have been impossible, especially in 1918, to have turned the tide of battle had it not been for the brilliant leadership of General Plumer, General Home, General Byng, General Rawlinson, and afterwards General Birdwood, and I certainly commend their names to the generosity of the House.
I come to the Fleet. As for Admiral. Beatty everybody will recognise that he is worthy of the highest traditions of British seamanship. By his great fighting qualities in the War he established finally the-supremacy of the British Navy over its foes. There is no bettor tribute to his leadership than the fact that the fleet of the foe, having contested that leadership once, thought it wise to avoid putting it to any further test. As for Admiral Jellicoe, his services before the War and during the War were incalculable. His chief work was the work of organisation, not so well known to the public but just as essential to the success of a fleet in war as that of the fighting leaders who went into battle. Those are the services that Admiral Jellicoe rendered to the British Navy. As for Admiral Sturdee, the Committee will remember the brilliant action he fought off the Falkland Islands by which he rid the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic of raiders who interrupted our commerce and threatened to put an end to it for some years. As for Admiral 421 de Roebeck his services in the Ægean are well known. Admiral Tyrwhitt, who commanded the torpedo flotillas on the East coast is the outstanding representative of that special branch of naval service which embodies that ceaseless vigilance ever watching, over pursuing, ever chasing, ever striking, night and day, summer and winter, fair weather and foul, which ultimately ended in completely baffling the designs of the foe. Then there is Sir Roger Keys. His name will be ever quoted in naval history as the chief figure in one of those dramatic exploits which enrich the story of the Fleet and enter into the character of the Fleet. Those are the stories which attract children and attract the human mind when impressions sink deep into it and remain firmly in it, and this is one of the stories that will help to build up the character of the race. No list would be complete without Sir Roger Keys, the hero of one of the most dramatic exploits of the War. There is also Admiral Madden who undoubtedly rendered invaluable aid in the organisation of the Grand Fleet and of the Navy.
That I think completes the list. I think it will be agreed that they are all men who deserve well of the bounty of the House. I have taken the trouble to examine the precedents for grants of this character covering two or three centuries, and I think if Members of the House will take the same trouble they will find that we have fallen short of precedent, if at all. I think the Members of this Committee would do well, remembering this tradition, which is an honourable and high one, not to depart from it, and I therefore, remembering the great services these people rendered, and remembering what might have befallen this country if we had not had skilful leadership, earnestly say to the House that this is but a small part of the recognition which we owe to these great men.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £385,000.
I desire to associate myself with all that has been said by the Prime Minister regarding the splendid services which have been rendered by the officers named by him, and we realise as clearly as the Prime Minister the value of the services rendered by those gallant officers. At the same time, we do not take the view that those services can be measured by a money payment. We are not against a moderate sum being given in recognition of the in- 422 valuable services rendered, but we think that the sum given should be a less excessive amount than the amount named the Resolution moved by the Prime Minister. We think that the granting of such a sum is out of all proportion to the monetary rewards that have been given to the rank and file, and we recognise that the granting of such a sum as has been moved by the Prime Minister will give us a very powerful lever to use in trying to secure a more generous recognition of the services of the rank and file than has been secured up to the present time. Until we are able to secure a more generous recognition for these parties, we are strongly of the view that the sum that has been moved by the Prime Minister is an excessive sum. I want it to be clearly understood that we do not in any degree seek to minimise the value of the services that have been rendered by these distinguished officers. We recognise that as fully as anyone else, but we believe that these distinguished officers themselves would be the very first to place a proper value on the services rendered by the rank and file. As a matter of fact, I think we have had a striking example of that in the case of Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig within the last few weeks, and I want to pay my tribute to him for the invaluable service he has rendered in presenting the claims of the. Service men, particularly in the rank and file. But until we get a more generous recognition of the services of the rank and file, we are against the granting of such an excessive sum as has been moved by the Prime Minister. Not only looking at the payments that have been made to the rank and file in a general way do we say that their services should have been given more recognition than has been given up to the present, but, in addition to that, there are many cases yet where no recognition, so far as payment of money is concerned, has been made, and until these cases are fairly and generously treated, I do not think the Government is well advised in, moving the sum that is named in the Resolution of the Prime Minister.
If one cared, many examples could be given to prove the statement which I have made, but I do not want to weary the Committee by quoting numerous examples, as one could, of cases where service has not been recognised in the way that we think it should be, and I want to confine myself to giving only two cases on this occasion. A lot has been said during 423 the afternoon about the valuable services that has been rendered by the men of the Mercantile Marine, and I think that neither this House nor the country can pay too high a tribute to the value of the services of these men. But for their services the work of the Royal Navy would have been made much heavier, and the life of the nation itself would have been endangered. In the course of the services that have been rendered by the men of the Mercantile Marine, my attention has been called to the following incident. A boy, whose home is at Burnley, went to sea at the age of sixteen in the course of the War, and on his first voyage his ship was torpedoed. At the moment the ship was torpedoed he was right down in the hold of the ship and was seriously injured. He attempted to crawl on to the deck to escape with the other men, but just as he was leaving the hold in great difficulty and danger he saw that one of his fellow seamen was still in the hold and more seriously injured than himself. With great difficulty, this lad got hold of his fellow seaman, and after a fierce struggle was able to bring him to the deck, along with himself, and to put him in the position of being rescued by a destroyer. This boy was so seriously injured that he is now at home a cripple, and his widowed mother, who was dependent upon him, and himself are not in receipt of any monetary reward for the gallant service that he rendered on the occasion to which I am drawing the attention of the Committee. The second example I want to give is this. I have in my hand a telegram which I have received this afternoon from a number of demobilised soldiers, who wire me that they are unable to reconcile the lip-service of thanks to the forces with the fact that they have been deprived of their war gratuity. They ask your sympathy and support to-day so as to bring this question before the House, and they further protest against the awarding of huge financial grants to officers of high rank for doing their duty whilst withholding the beggarly pittance from the other ranks, who also did their duty.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I have heard of these cases for the first time, and, like my right hon. Friend, I have not had the opportunity of investigating them. The first case struck me very much. I cannot understand why that gallant boy was not compensated, and I promise that investiga- 424 tion shall be made into the case. I do not quite understand the second, but if my right hon. Friend will give me the particulars, I promise to see that both cases are thoroughly looked into, because certainly no man who has suffered injury in the cause of his country should go uncompensated.
§ Mr. ADAMSON
I am very grateful to the Prime Minister for the promise he has made in respect of the two cases I have named, and I will certainly see that he gets the fullest particulars 1 can give him regarding them; but I can assure him and the Committee that, while I have only given two examples, there are many such cases that can be brought to the notice of the Government and the Prime Minister. Surely, before the Committee grants such a very large sum of money as is involved in the Resolution that has been moved by the Prime Minister, bare justice ought to be done to the men of the rank and file, who have done their duty as splendidly and nobly as it was possible for any officer to do it. We are going to take this opportunity of moving a reduction of £385,000 in the Vote that has been moved by the Prime Minister, leaving the sum of £200,000 to be divided, in the same proportions as are provided for in the Prime Minister's Resolution, among the gallant officers named. We hope that the Committee will support us in this Motion. If one cared to give elaborate reasons for moving such a substantial reduction in the sum named, of course we could deal with it from the point of view of the financial position of the country at the present moment. That itself is a very strong reason indeed for the strictest economy being exercised, but we take what appears to our minds to be the higher reason, and we say that until the rank and file are treated more generously than they have been up to the present, we disagree with what appears to us to be the moving of such an excessive sum as a monetary reward to those gallant officers.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
I do not think the Leader of the Labour party will get much support in the Division Lobby. He proposes to reduce the payments to Sir Douglas Haig and Sir David Beatty to about the level of an Ashanti campaign after all the great services which they haves rendered. I rose mainly for this purpose. I wanted in the first place to say to the Government that we did not get the information in the Vote Office in the usual way—and I think 425 we ought to pay respect to the forms of the House—as to the details of these different Grants. They were read from the Chair, but there is no White Paper or Blue Paper, and they are not circulated with the Votes, nor are they on the Order Paper. It is only a detail, but it is a growing practice, and I think attention ought to be called to it. [A copy of "Votes and Proceedings," 5th August, containing details of the Grants, was produced]. I must respectfully apologise, but I asked at the Vote Office and looked through the Order Paper, and I did not find it. My next point is this: The Prime Minister said ho had studied the records for 200 years. He will find that in those 200 years it was the invariable practice of this House to give Votes of Thanks to distinguished generals and admirals, but we are not doing so to-day. We thank the Services, but we are not giving any Vote of Thanks either to Sir David Beatty or Sir Douglas Haig. Among those records he will find that in 1814 and 1816 a Vote of Thanks was voted by this House to the Duke of Wellington. A Committee of the House waited on the Duke of Wellington and subsequently the Duke of Wellington attended on the floor of this House, was accommodated with a seat on the left of the Bar, and then returned his thanks, and the only other speaker was Mr. Speaker Abbott. I think that gave a formality to our Vote of Thanks, and I do not know why the precedent is being departed from now. I, for one, would like to seethe thanks of this House given to the principal commanders by land and by sea, and if thought desirable that they should return their thanks either by letter read on the floor of this House or in person at the Bar.
I want just to refer to two of the naval officers—Sir Charles Madden and Sir David Beatty. I think nothing moved the admiration of the nation more than when Sir David Beauty, a junior officer, was put over the heads of admirals like Sir Charles Madden. They served under him, and gave him the most loyal, wholehearted support. They were senior to him, but it is known throughout the Grand Fleet how splendidly Sir Charles Madden seconded all Sir David Beatty's efforts, and no two men could have worked more harmoniously together. As regards Sir David Beatty, it is difficult indeed to find words which are adequate to the abilities which he has shown in this War, and the great courage and spirit which he enthused into all ranks of the 426 Service. Merely as a naval student, may I say in studying all that Sir David Beatty has done, one feels exactly like the poet Keats when he read Homer—Like some watcher of the skies,When a new planet swims into his ken.He is the one great naval discovery of the War, and I think the whole country may congratulate itself on the fact that they have a great naval genius still in the prime of life available for future service. It is a subject of regret that for some eight months Sir David Beatty's services have not been utilised in this country. I have never been able to understand the reason why. The Prime Minister quoted from Collingwood's letters, and I want to show the responsibility which Sir David Beatty has borne compared with the responsibility which Collingwood bore. Writing to his wife in 1808, Collingwood said:I seldom read the newspapers, having quite enough of war without them. I have now as large a fleet as was ever employed by England, consisting of thirty ships of the line and eighty ships of war of different sorts. You may easily conceive that in the common occurences of such a fleet, I have not much time to amuse myself.He spoke of that fleet of thirty ships of the line and eighty ships of war as the largest fleet that ever was employed from England, but the responsibility of Sir David Beatty far transcended that. I suppose if the German High Sea Fleet had come out, Sir David Beatty's Fleet would have been considerably more than 200 ships of war, in addition to a large number of aeroplanes and various other craft. That takes no account of the various mine flotillas and armed merchant ships, and so forth. One of the greatest qualities of Sir David Beatty was the way he enthused other people. He has some of the qualities of radium, which gives its qualities to surrounding bodies. Sir David Beatty, in the same way, used to draw the very best out of the officers and men under his command, and the whole Service will regard itself, I am quite sure, as honoured in the title which has been given to Sir David Beatty, and the Grant which this House, as a recognition, is going to make to him.
§ Rear-Admiral ADAIR
I only regret that any discussion has arisen at all on this subject of Grants to these distinguished officers who have led our Fleets. our Armies, and our Air Service to a victorious conclusion of this great War. 427 But, since a discussion has arisen, I feel bound to speak and oppose the Amendment. I had not the honour myself to serve in this War, so that anything I say is purely impersonal. The seaman, as a rule, is a humble-minded person, whose ideal is to do his duty and to seek for no special praise or exceptional reward for having done it. But he is very jealous of his reputation, and jealous that those who have merited some great distinction should have their due. I feel sure that the Navy, as a whole, will be satisfied with the thanks that this House has proferred them to-day as an expression of the gratitude of the whole of their countrymen. This Vote of Thanks conveys to the ranks and ratings of the Navy and the Royal Marines that, in the eyes of their countrymen, they have done their duty. They have upheld the glorious traditions of their great Service and they have maintained the reputation which they have inherited from generations of forbears. But, in addition to this, the ranks and ratings of the Navy, I am convinced, do expect that there shall be adequate, tangible reward to those who have led them during these four years of war to such a glorious conclusion as has been achieved by them. You cannot measure in terms of money the value to this country of a great commander in war; but of this I am convinced, that the Navy will expect nothing less in reward to their great leaders than has been put to this House by His Majesty the King, I presume on the advice of his Ministers. That, I feel sure, is the least the Navy expects should be given to these great leaders, and it is the least which is their due. I will make no reference whatever to the relative sums which are distributed to the different officers. There might be much comment on this, but I am satisfied that the decision of His Majesty is the correct one, and I will express no opinion whatever as to that.
I do not think that the Mover of this Amendment really fully appreciates the great value to the country of leaders such as those who are included in the list of admirals, or to how few is given the genius of command so necessary in war. I do not think those who support this Amendment fully appreciate the appalling responsibility which is borne by a man in such a position as that of Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet during the War. The hon. and gallant Member who spoke last referred to Sir David Beatty. Let me draw 428 the attention of the Committee to the other great Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Fleet, Sir John Jellicoe. Only those who know the circumstances can appreciate the terrible anxiety that Admiral Sir John Jellicoe was bearing in the winter of 1914–15, and let the Committee contemplate for a moment what the consequences would have been then if by any failure of his we had lost, even temporarily, the command of the sea. I refrain from elaborating on this. Suffice it that the genius, the endurance, and the indomitable courage of Sir John Jellicoe tided us over that most difficult and dangerous period—the most difficult and dangerous period to the Navy throughout the War. I have mentioned Sir John Jellicoe, but I take him as typical only. All the admirals included in this list come into the same category as does he. Their extraordinary genius in one direction or another, their endurance, their indomitable courage are common, I am happy to say, to all of them. But I think the Committee must realise, as must the whole country, that they have to be very thankful indeed that these great men were available to achieve the great service they did achieve when this country was in peril, and I think it is the bounden duty of this House to reward these great men, at least, to the extent that His Majesty the King has decided.
§ Mr. INSKIP
I hope the House will grant me indulgence while I call attention, in as few words as I can use, to a disparity in the amounts that are proposed for these sailors and soldiers. I am very conscious of my unfitness to speak on the matter which I propose to lay before the Committee, and I do so unwillingly in the absence of at least one other who would have been more qualified than I am, but I think there is in these proposals one proposal at least which is so out of harmony with the general scheme that the Committee should have its attention called to it. It will be noticed that the Army commanders, with one exception, are to be awarded an equal sum. The one exception—that of Sir William Bird-wood, the distinguished general in an enterprise which will never be forgotten so long as the history of this War is told, and also the commander of the Fifth Army—is to be offered a sum out of all proportion to the other sums for the Army commanders. This is likely to cause—nay, I believe, has caused—dismay and amazement in the hearts of the 429 members of the Australian forces. It has been already said, and we all must appreciate it, that these Grants are not intended to reward the recipients. They are but to express the gratitude of the nation towards those great leaders. They do not pretend to stand as money's worth to the men who will receive them, and I am quite sure they will not be received in that spirit. They will be received as an inestimable possession, which nothing can buy. It is not because either £10,000 or £30,000 is sufficient or insufficient that I desire to call attention to this matter, but because there is, apparently, an attempt to distinguish between the value of the services which these gentlemen have given to the country, which, I think, is unfortunate, and is likely to divert the attention of the nation and of the Empire to what some people believe to be the money value of the service which they have performed.
These Grants are likely to be successful in their purpose—which, as I have said, is offered as an earnest of gratitude to these men—in so far as they allow attention to be directed to the greatness of the occasion, the greatness of the deliverance, and the services of the men, from field-marshal to private, who wrought that deliverance for us. These Grants do honour not only to the men who receive them, but they do honour to the incomparable men led by those recipients. And, again, I repeat that I am not calling attention to the value in money's worth. What I want to call attention to is the difference in the grants proposed to be made to the commanders of the four Armies compared with the grant which it is proposed to make to the one man who commanded the Fifth Army. It may be said that the commander of the Fifth Army only commanded it for a short time. At any rate, he commanded that Army during some of the most notable months of the War. I gather that there has been no attempt to measure the services of the other four Army commanders in regard to the number of months' service. General Sir Julian Byng has been credited—and rightly credited, in my humble estimation—with the same award and the same position as those occupied by the other distinguished generals who preceded him. No attempt has been made to measure these services by the period over which they have been spread. I am, then, more at a loss when I observe that, to all appear- 430 ance, Sir William Birdwood's services have been measured by the length of the time over which they nave been performed. It cannot be said that it is the smallness of his services which merit the less amount. It cannot be said that his services are not so great as the services of others by reason of the inefficiency with which he performed the tasks allotted to him. It is certainly not to be said that the value of his services are less because he is held in less estimation or regarded with less devotion by the men whom he led ! There is not a general throughout this War who has been regarded with more honour and affection by the men whom he has the honour to command than General Bird-wood.
There is another circumstance which leads me to think that this is an unfortunate distinction. Sir William Bird-wood, the Commander of the Fifth Army, it is true, was not engaged in some of the most serious fighting which took place in the last six months of the War. But he commanded that Army with a loyalty towards the other Armies which, I venture to think, enabled them to win the great victories which they did win. He trained division after division, with incomparable loyalty for the general cause, for other commanders. More than this, during the whole of that time Sir William Birdwood occupied the position that he now occupies of General Officer Commanding the Australian Forces. He made the appointments. He did everything that the General Commander of the Australian Forces then did, and now does. During the whole of that time he was Commander of the Fifth Army. He is regarded as the spokesman of the Australian Forces. They regard him with a devotion and affection which finds, I will not say, no parallel but, at any rate, no superior in the annals of our Army. Already the members of the Australian Forces are asking why this man is to be treated in a manner different from those who have occupied the position I have mentioned, and who have carried out their duties with only the same efficiency and devotion as has General Sir William Birdwood.
The Leader of the Labour Opposition this afternoon attempted in a manner which, I am sure, will not commend itself to the House, to measure the services of these persons by distinguishing between £680,000 and £200,000 or £260,000 or thereabouts, as if it were possible to measure these services in money even 431 when you are offering money. It is for this very reason, although I feel myself unfitted to bring this matter to the attention of the Committee, that I venture to do so. It is for this very reason that there has been some attempt to measure the services of these five gentlemen, by placing four in one category and one in another, that I hope, even, at this moment, that the Government will find an opportunity of reconsidering the matter so that satisfaction may be given, not, indeed, to the gentleman concerned—because I am perfectly certain he cares for none of these things, and regards more highly the work he has performed, the position he has held, and his association with the Army. The Government, I trust, will look into this matter out of consideration for the feelings of the Australian forces. I have discharged what I conceive only to be my duty, the matter having been brought to my attention by some of those who most deeply feel it. I ask the Committee to consider whether they will not agree to any proposal which the Government may bring before them for placing Sir William Birdwood in a position which, I am sure, the House agrees he occupies in the estimation, not only of the citizens of another country, but in the estimation of the people of the great Dominion where his name is a household word.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I am perfectly certain that when the Prime Minister brought this list down to the House he felt that he was leading the House into the temptation of listening to the kind of speech which the hon. Gentleman opposite has just made. Not that for a single moment I disagree with his speech, or would offer any opinion upon it; but immediately you bring down a list such as this, in which the Government seek to distinguish certain degrees of capability, capacity, and reward, amongst a large number of officers, you at once lay yourselves open to a discussion here about the qualifications of the officers. This, in my view, is to be regretted. There are two lines upon which this proposal can be discussed. There is the personal line beginning with Sir Douglas Haig and Admiral Beatty, and going through the list, attempting to assess the value of these men according to the views held by hon. Members; or there is the other method of dealing with the general principle upon which these awards should be made. I have neither 432 the information or knowledge of military, naval, or air points of view to assess the value of the work done by any of these hon. and gallant officers. Therefore, I propose, in the few remarks with which I shall trouble the House, to deal with the principle underlying the proposal laid before us. Incidentally. I may say that I do not think I can vote for the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Fife, because, as has already been pointed out by the hon. Member who spoke last, the Leader of the Labour party is attempting to do the same thing as the Government. I shall be prepared to vote—and presently I will give reasons why I should be prepared to vote—against any Grant at all. People may not agree with that position, but, at any rate, it is a more intelligible position than the attempt to assess, either in the form the Government has done it, or in the form suggested by the Leader of the Labour party, the capacity of these men. I cannot for the life of me understand why a distinguished general or a distinguished admiral who has all the prizes of his profession open to him should receive these Grants at the close of a war. It is not done in any other profession. If a Law Officer of the Crown wins a case for the Crown he does not get a reward for it.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I was under the impression it was £5,000 a year. But put it at the figure of £3,000. Call it, as some one hon. Member suggests, X pounds. It is not the amount of money that matters: it is the principle. In addition, mark you, to the amount of the salaries they receive, the promotion they receive, the honours they receive, and the further salaries they 433 will receive—in addition to the ordinary gratuities they will get for service, these men are getting what is here suggested. If you are going to deal with these men on the basis of principle that is a point I want to make. But lot us get back. You want to have war service gratuities proportionate throughout the whole of the Army and Navy. The Prime Minister was interested in a telegram which the Leader of the Labour party read to the House. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Labour party, it is apparent, understood the telegram, because the Prime Minister offered to go into the particular case that was mentioned in the telegram. There was no particular case mentioned in the telegram. What the telegram attempted to deal with is the question which has vexed the whole of the rank and file of the Army, as we very well know—the question of war service gratuities. The telegram said that the men were being deprived of their gratuities. It stated what was perfectly right, because with the introduction of the war service gratuity the Government has taken away from the man his ordinary service gratuity. Every man who is paid a war service gratuity to-day has deducted the service gratuity to which he was otherwise entitled. Does the House really realise what are the conditions given to the men who have made great the generals and admirals whom we are trying to honour this afternoon? I want to say incidentally that, so far as I am concerned, I have no objection to them having all the money if the basis is made proportional from top to bottom. Let us examine the injustice which, I think, the average rank and file are suffering under to-day. The average rank and file member of the forces, in the first place, is not so well off as the officer. Roughly speaking, the officer is entitled to a war service gratuity of 124 days' pay for his first year of service, and sixty-two days' pay for subsequent years' service—that is the officer who joined for this War. Incidentally, he is very much better off than is the Regular officer.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Yes, he is. The Regular officer gats very much less war service gratuity. [An HON. MEMBER: "A pension!"] My hon. Friend reminds me of pensions. The Regular officer has rights of pension which the temporary officer does not have if he gets demobilised out of the Army at the present time. At the same 434 time there are many Regular officers in the Army who have suffered as much materially as the special category of men who join for the War, and there are temporary officers being demobilised from the Army who are receiving large gratuities, and who are no more entitled to them than the others who fought during the War. The officers are very much better off than the men. The average man gets £5 for his. first year and if he has been overseas, £6 for each subsequent year of service. If you take the average of four years which is the length of the War then the service gratuity amounts to £23. That is subject to deduction, and it is paid to the rank and file. I wonder if hon. Members have looked into the conditions under which other men were asked to re-enlist in the Army of Occupation, and if they have they will find this extraordinary anomaly, that a man re-enlists into the Army of Occupation who may not have seen any service, and may only be eligible for one year's service, but ho gets a bounty of £50 for four years new service with the Army of Occupation A soldier who has not carried the burden of the War and who remains in the Army of Occupation, and they are largely new soldiers, gets twice the amount of money, although he will be called upon practically to do no fighting as the man who was in the Army and served during the War, and who comes out with only £23.
I have already mentioned what the-officer had. I am sorry that neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the House, nor the War Secretary is here to deal with this point which has been, put before, and it is really a vital matter upon which the Government have never given this House a satisfactory answer. If a man's gratuity was determined on the basis of the officer's gratuity, in the typical case I have taken, the man would receive not £23 but £46 10s., which is £3 10s. above the bounty which the Government pay to a man who has never fought, but who has re-engaged in the Army of Occupation. There would be some sense in an arrangement of that kind, but we cannot justify giving these large sums to special officers this afternoon and also to the officers of the Army a bigger gratuity proportionate to the man who has fought. We cannot justify it either to the country or to the men we asked to fight. If the Government really want a unanimous decision on the question of these rewards to the great generals and 435 admirals, let them come with a proposal which runs from the heads of the Army and Navy down to the ranks on a basis that can be defended. If you can defend it in the way I have suggested, you would then have your officer and man receiving his war service gratuity in proportion, and you would have your distinguished generals and admirals receiving their gratuity on the basis of their large pay, and the only other honour they require is that which the State has showered upon them quite deservedly up to the present. I suggest the Government will be doing themselves an injustice if they attempt to proceed this afternoon to force the House to a Division upon a topic in regard to which hon. Members are not divided, and that is the question of doing honour to these men. The Government, by this proposal, may force into the Division Lobby many hon. Members whoso votes might be misunderstood, but will not be misunderstood after the kind of speech which I have tried to make. I am quite certain that it is worth the Government's while to take a little time over this matter and bring their proposals more in accord with the sentiments not only inside but outside this House amongst millions of discharged and demobilised men.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I regret very much the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down. The question whether the men of the rank and file have been properly dealt with is not the point before us this afternoon, and we are not discussing the question of giving grants to officers or to generals as distinct from privates, but we are simply singling out for great honour some six or ten men from the three branches of the Service who performed services of super-eminent value to this country. I do not want to say it offensively, but I think hon. Members on the Labour Benches must remember that in the Army and the Navy no men are born equal.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
I know that is true, but we are only offering this reward to certain picked generals, and I think everybody will agree that those who have been selected deserve exceedingly well of their country. But for the super-eminent work, the brain power, and the ability of those particular generals and admirals far more of the lives of our soldiers and 436 sailors would have been lost in this War. It is not a question between soldiers and generals, but of selecting for further high honour the men who have performed such wonderful service. I rose really to suggest to the Government two names which I rather think must have been omitted from the list before the House. The Prime Minister is not here, but I hope my right hon. Friend (Major-General Seely) will take a note of the two names I shall mention, and ask the Prime Minister whether they have not been left out by an oversight. The first I would mention is that of an Army Commander who fought with distinction and ability throughout the early part of the War. The Prime Minister has referred to the work of General French during the first battle of Ypres, and the House knows that General Sir Charles Munro commanded the Guards at Ypres, and subsequently became an Army Commander and commanded the First Army from the end of 1915 and all through 1916, and who went out on the instructions of the Government to Gallipoli to carry out the evacuation, which he did with a very small number of losses. Afterwards he resumed his post as Commander in the First Army, and he gave up that post in order to take up the position of Commander-in-Chief in India.
I have no authority to speak on behalf of General Sir Charles Munro and I have had no communication with him. but I do feel that perhaps his name, because he is no longer commanding an Army Corps, has been overlooked; but every soldier who served under him will realise that he was equal in ability—and he earned the devotion of all ranks who served under him—to any of the other Army Commanders whose names are to be honoured to-day. There is another name which should be mentioned in this list, whether it be in the form of a money reward or those other honours which have been announced in this morning's papers—I refer to General Sir Frederick Sykes, of the Royal Air Force. The Royal Air Force has been a great object in my life for years past, and I have glorified in its successes during the War. The words which the Prime Minister spoke with regard to General Trenchard are none too high. We all know the magnificent work he has performed, and the inestimable service his spirit gave to the young men of the corps. They all swore by him, and when he gave an order they were always 437 ready to go and carry it out. I am very pleased to see the Under-Secretary for Air present this afternoon. He knows the very great services which General Sykes rendered at the time when General Trenchard resigned his post and General Sykes was appointed to take the command in the field, and the very good services which he performed. I ask whoever is taking charge on behalf of the Government to mention these two names to the Prime Minister, and if they have been overlooked I ask that the matter may be reconsidered, and I feel by including them you will be doing honour not merely to those generals but to the whole community at large.
§ Captain LOSEBY
It strikes me to be very mean and ungenerous upon an occasion when the House has been called together for the purpose of doing honour to the Army as a whole through its great soldiers to indulge in what I venture to describe as nothing less than electioneering tactics in this House. I should not have risen but I think that I may claim to speak as one of the junior members of His Majesty's Army whom it is suggested have been wrongly treated. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Hogge) complained that the junior officers, the privates, and the non-commissioned officers have not been singled out for rewards of equal magnitude. I say that whoever else you disgust when you criticise this Vote to-day you will disgust nobody more than the rank and file of the British Army, because the rank and file will consider they have been insulted when at any rate you venture to criticise these small rewards to their own great leaders.
I would like to see any right hon. Gentleman go into a canteen filled with men who served, for instance, under General Plumer. They might not know General Birdwood very well, but let them go to their own Army Commanders and say, "My dear fellow, that money should have gone to you," and I venture to say that in that canteen inside five minutes there would be twenty broken heads. It must be apparent to everybody that we cannot reward the entire rank and file, because the numbers are so immense that it is quite impossible. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Then do not reward anybody!"] We might desire to give every man £1,000,000 each, but we cannot tackle a sum like £5,000,000,000,000. No, Sir. 438 All we can do, I venture to assert, is to honour the Army through its great representatives, and to frankly recognise that although we have only picked out ten we should have liked to have picked out 1,000 men. In regard to the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) I am sure he will agree that no one is more anxious than I am to see pension and other grievances remedied. But this is not the occasion for the discussion of questions of that nature. This is an opportunity which I believe the House at large will seize upon to honour the Army through its great leaders who steered us through the crisis with such wonderful skill, energy, and ability. I hope if hon. Members do divide on this question they will be unable to carry with them either the united Labour party or the Liberal dissentient party, because by dividing on this particular point they are only dishonouring themselves and the party they represent.
I do not propose to follow hon. Members who have suggested that further names shall be added to this list, but I wish to protest against a very important departure from precedent by the inclusion of officials who, however eminent their services, can in no way be said to be a part of our fighting forces. May I first say that I have nothing but admiration for the valuable services which I believe have been performed during the War by Sir Maurice Hankey. They were services largely performed out of the view of the public, and the House is quite ready to accept the statement of the Prime Minister that his work was, absolutely essential to our success in the War. In what I say as to the inexpediency of including Sir Maurice Hankey's name in this list I am speaking on entirely impersonal grounds, and upon a matter of principle. There is no precedent whatever in former Grants of this kind for the inclusion of any but leaders of the fighting forces on sea and land. Strictly speaking, I believe there is no precedent for the inclusion of such Staff officers as Sir William Robertson and Sir Henry Wilson. Formerly these Votes have been limited entirely to those who have commanded in the field, and although Sir Henry Wilson commanded a corps in the field he would not have been included in the general standard of Army commands which has been adopted in this list. But at the same time, though the Government has perhaps departed from the narrow interpretation of precedent in this matter, I think they were 439 well advised to extend their list to the chief of the Imperial General Staff, because nowadays in war the distinction between the Staff and the higher command is rapidly breaking down. A successful commander must have far more of the attributes of Staff officers than was necessary in former wars. Personal presence on the battlefield is no longer possible, and a military commander nowadays does work which can only be successfully carried out if he appreciates the task of his Staff officers. Therefore, when I say that it is a mistake to depart from precedent I make this exception, that it was right to include these important Staff officers.
Still, if we leave the path of precedent and no longer restrict ourselves to giving Grants to the leaders of the fighting forces, we find ourselves on very slippery ground indeed. Sir Maurice Hankey, before the War and during the earlier stages of the War. was Secretary of the Imperial Defence Committee, and since 1916 he has done very valuable work as Secretary to the War Cabinet. His work, however, approached far more closely in its nature to the work of the Civil servant than to that of the military leader, and why should you single out what in essence was one civil functionary from amongst the others; There are many names that will occur to Members of this House, names of men eminent in war work on the civil side, who have I think equal claims to consideration. What about Sir Eyre Crowe, who did so much to ensure that we got the full fruits of the War in the Peace negotiations? What about the officials responsible for our munitions supply and for our financial arrangements? if such a Grant is to be made to anyone outside the fighting forces, surely you cannot ignore these officials. You ought, indeed, to make a Grant to the Prime Minister himself, who stands out among all others for the tremendous strain and responsibility which he carried—a strain far greater and a weight of responsibility far heavier than that which rested on the shoulders of any of these naval or military commanders. Apart from the question of making an invidious choice between practically one civil function and another, it surely is inopportune to create a precedent for new expenditure. As a matter of principle while fully recognising the eminent services of Sir Maurice Hankey as Secretary of the War Cabinet, I do feel it is most 440 regrettable that his name, or indeed any name, should be included outside the ranks of the fighting Services.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I rise to support the Amendment which has been moved by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Adamson). At the same time, like the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), I could wish that it had been a clear-cut Amendment to reject these Grants altogether, rather than to reduce them pro rata. My ground is really based on the fundamental fact that all those who took part in this War, particularly those in the Army and the Navy, did their best according to their ability, and any man who does his best according to his ability, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, should receive equal thanks from his country and should also be treated equally so far as any monetary reward is concerned. I profoundly dislike this selecting of certain names with a view to the giving of special gratuities. It is bad morally to lead people to believe that if you happen to be in a certain position, although you have only done your duty like the rest, you can obtain a special reward—a special financial reward. Honours and titles are certainly due to people who have held distinguished positions, but money grants bring down the honour to a very low basis, and do not add to the reputation of the generals or admirals who obtain them. We have heard this afternoon names suggested of men who rightly demand equal honour. It is held that we are measuring the honour and gratitude which we owe to General Birdwood or to General Hankey, or to General Robertson, by the amount we pay them, and that everybody who has commanded an Army who is left out of the list feels he has been slighted. At the same time we know quite well that there are many men behind the Army commanders who have been far more the brains of the movement that carried us to victory than the generals themselves. The people who are left out are relegated not only by the House but by history itself to the background. That seems to be most deplorable. We should base ourselves on the thanks of the nation alone, and those thanks ought to be the finest reward which can be given. These generals and admirals have in many cases big salaries. Sir Julian Byng is a rich man, so too is Admiral Beatty. Indeed. they are all well-to-do. They have no need for money, no need for these Grants. 441 Every one has a large income, and the country is by no means called upon to make these Grants, especially when it is well known that by so doing it is creating the gratuitous feeling that certain people have been slighted while other people have been given an unfair advantage. The only sane way of rewarding generals is to give them the thanks of the country.
Then I object to these Grants on another ground. The country is already semi-bankrupt, yet here we are proposing to spend £700,000 when as a matter of fact we have no money to spend. If we had got a balance-sheet in which our income equalled our expenditure we might afford to give away this £700,000, but we are now proposing to give it away at a period when we are borrowing £300,000,000 a year. In the past when these Grants have been made to successful generals, the country has been in a solvent state. Now, however, it is in an insolvent condition, and to go on squandering the money, thereby bringing the nation nearer and nearer to bankruptcy is one of the most terrible mistakes this House can make. We have agreed to pay £18,000,000 for pensions to the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force. We have had the salaries of Secretaries of State raised. What is the natural result of all this extravagance on the working classes of the country? Naturally when they see money being squandered in this way they think they ought to have more. I know hon. Members call me a Bolshevik, but I can assure them from my knowledge of the country at the present moment that by this policy they are doing more to create Bolshevism here than I ever did. It is this perpetual extravagance on the part of the Government, unaccompanied by any attempt to make both ends meet or to secure retrenchment that is making the people in this country desperate. They are getting in the habit of thinking on these lines: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. "That is the basis of most of the extravagance that is going on. They sec the Government squandering money, and both the working classes and middle classes are getting that feeling. The surest way to create strikes and other troubles is to continue this policy of extravagance, a policy which, in my opinion, must be put a stop to. Although many Members here—not myself—might like in ordinary circumstances to give big gratuities to Army Commanders, at the same time, when you have not got the money, it is a 442 very bad time for going further into debt and promising people money you have not got.
There is a third reason why I object to these Grants. It is because we always have on these occasions a perfect orgy of hypocrisy, nothing more or less. We have been told by speaker after speaker that all these generals and admirals are geniuses, and that they are the greatest leaders this country has ever had. We all know in our own souls that such is not the case. They are human beings, and have done their best, but it was not a very good best. We all remember the joy-bells being rung for Cambrai, and that that was a little premature. We all remember Passchendaele, with its 270,000 casualties, and the battle which went on a month after it ought to have stopped, and thereby blunted the finest weapon in the world—the British Army. I know that these things are not talked about in this House, but they are known to everybody who fought in these battles. What will the people who fought at Passchendaele say of these Grants being made to the generals who were in charge? Are they going to be grateful to them for it, or for all the gush that has been ladled out to the leaders? We all know that mistakes were committed. All this talk about these heaven-sent geniuses in the upper ranks of the British Army is not based on sound fact. It will be a bad thing for the British Army if young officers in future are to be taught that genius was shown by our Army in this War. If they are to take our strategy as displayed in this War as an example for all future time it will not be very good for the education of the Army. We won this War because the men fought it like men. We won it very often in spite of the generals and the brass hats. I, for one, must enter a protest against this sort of idea that it was divine leadership which carried the British Army to victory.
Mr. T. THOMSON
Notwithstanding the remarks which fell from the hon. and gallant Member for East Bradford (Captain Loseby), I submit to the Committee that it is possible to be unanimous in desiring to do honour to these generals and yet differ as to the means of bestowing that honour. Are we not lowering honours and titles, or taking from them, by reducing to a cash basis the honour which we seek to do to these generals and other officers'? I know that the Prime Minister referred to precedents, but some precedents are honoured more in the 443 breach than in the observance. He went back two or three centuries. If he had gone back further he would find that the origin of these Grants is really to be found in the days when the King called his nobles together and they raided a neighbouring territory and divided the spoils between them. I do not suggest for one moment that that is at the back or underlies the principle of these Grants— far from it; I know it is not so. But if you appeal to precedents, a precedent such as that is one which might well be departed from in these days. We have been told on many occasions that we are a new world. Cannot we, therefore, break with some of these old precedents; cannot we get back to the fundamentals of life, to the verities, and give honour for honour's sake? We were told in the Debate in this House last night that it ought to be considered a sufficient honour to be a Cabinet Minister without salary, merely for the honour of public service. I submit that something of the. same spirit should be observed in regard to the honours we are giving to the distinguished generals who fought in this War. Honours for honour's sake, such as titles. and decorations, are excellent, but you depreciate them if you bring them down to a cash basis.
I hesitate to make these remarks, because one might be so easily misunderstood. As one who served as a non-commissioned officer for two years overseas under some of these commanders we are honouring to-day, I should regret vary much if anything I said should be taken as in any way suggesting that I was not with the rest of the Members of the Committee in seeking to do them honour for the magnificent service they have rendered. At the same time, why differentiate? Out there we all stood the same risks, the same difficulties, and the same privations. Our opportunities were unequal, and I do not suggest for one moment that those of us who served in the ranks did equal service, although we may have done what we could. At the same time, having stood equal risks, having been comrades together in all the hardships, why now differentiate? The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) pointed out that the man in the ranks gets his gratuity according to his length of service. Would it not have met the justice of the case if, in the same way as officers receive higher gratuities than 444 the men, these higher commands should be put proportionately on the same basis for gratuity for service, and that we should not make a special monetary Grant, such as we are asked to consider to-day? I suggest, with all respect, that we should break with the old traditions, and that we should be doing greater honour to these great men by not attempting to reduce their services to a cash basis. Member after Member who has spoken has taken pains to explain that the sum indicated would not in any way represent the debt due to them. I agree with that. Why introduce the cash basis at all? Seeing that you cannot do justice on a cash basis, why not eliminate it altogether? I disagree with the Leader of the Labour party, who suggests that we should reduce the amount. If you are to give an amount, let it be a just one. Let honours, titles, and distinctions which are awarded and the honour in the memory of a grateful public be the reward for the magnificent services these officers have done, but do not belittle that honour by bringing in a cash payment.
§ Major-General Sir JOHN DAVIDSON
I had hoped it would not have been necessary for me to take any part at all in this Debate. I regret very much the turn it has taken. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) mentioned the subject of war gratuities to the men. I do not see what that has to do with the subject we are discussing to-day. That particular subject was brought up on the Army Estimates last Tuesday, and, if I am not mistaken, the hon. Gentleman was either not in his place to discuss the matter or he did not raise it in Debate. It was raised by hon. Members on this side of the Committee and by the Army Committee, who would probably back him up if he raises it another time. It strikes me that some hon. Members think that an election is not very far off when they begin to mix these subjects up together. I am a new Member of the House, and that is my opinion. I am not going to discuss the merits of the Army commanders, of the Commander-in-Chief or of any of the other officers of the Army who have been mentioned. I should like, however, to point out that Sir Douglas Haig has hitherto refused to accept any honour until he saw that the men and the officers were being properly and adequately treated. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle- 445 under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) mentioned the Chiefs of Staff and of Armies by name, and said that they were very largely responsible for the success of the operations of their Armies.
§ Sir J. DAVIDSON
I do not agree at all. If the Chiefs of Staff of the two Armies were here to-day, they would say that the entire credit was due to their Army commander, and they would support him as much as possible. That is my opinion from close find intimate know ledge of them. I should like to tell the Committee a good many stories about the anxieties and responsibilities of these Army commanders, whom I know very well, but I am not going to waste the time of the Committee in doing that. There is one matter on which I feel it is necessary for me to say something. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme mentioned the battle of Passchendaele. I should like to tell the Committee not only my views but the solid facts. One hears a great deal of discussion of that battle. I have heard it during the last six months all over the country. I am going to tell the Committee the facts of the case, and what I think about it. First, I should like to explain what was the general situation at that time. At the beginning of 1917, just after the battle of the spring, the Russian Army ceased to exist altogether as a fighting force. Then the French Army, to a very large extent, ceased to exist as a fighting force, owing to the troubles they had within that Army. That may not be generally known to members of the Committee. With all respect to the French, I think it is very important that we should ascertain the facts and not hide them up. The French had a lot of trouble inside their Army, and were not really of very much value to us during the summer and autumn of that year. The third point is that the Italian Army was completely out of operation altogether, owing to the attack in the autumn. The fourth point is that America was not in the War at all, and could not give us any assistance. That is to say, in other words, the Allies were of little value to the British during the summer, autumn, and winter of 1917, and the British Army had to bear the whole brunt of the world war.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Sir J. DAVIDSON
These are absolute facts, and there is no question about them. Another point which added very greatly to the anxieties and troubles of those in high command was that the Admiralty were extremely anxious about the communications across the Channel. They sent over to the High Command in France, through the ordinary channel, to say that unless the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge could be brought under our control our communications across the Channel would be very greatly endangered. That was a matter of very serious consideration. The fifth point I have to make is the weather. Normally speaking, the good weather lasts certainly up to the middle of September, and should be quite good enough to go on with operations. The weather broke, as we know, in July or early August, and the operations were carried out under a great disadvantage. Had the weather held from the beginning, I have not the least doubt that we should have brought the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge within our long-range-gun fire. There is a. strategic principle, with which perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will not agree I have no doubt that he is a great strategist, but there are others—that is, that when all the enemy forces have been released from the Eastern Front, and are pouring over the Western Front, and when your communications—
§ Major HAYWARD
On a point of Order. Would it be in order for us to discuss the operations on the various fronts on this Vote?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have thought it right to permit a number of hon. Gentlemen, particularly the one (Colonel Wedgwood) sitting behind the hon. and gallant Member for Seaham, to travel rather wide in this discussion. I thought it would be better not to interfere, but I do suggest to hon. Members generally that the discussion is tending to go too wide, and I think they might now come back to the question of the Vote before the Committee.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Will it be in order to reply with reference to Passchendaele when this Amendment is disposed of?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I would suggest to the hon. and gallant Member and to others that it would be undesirable.
§ Sir J. DAVIDSON
I would never have touched on this question at all—I dislike it intensely—if the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme had not mentioned it. I was saying that when the enemy's forces had been released by the collapse of Russia from the Eastern Front, and were swarming across, both formed bodies of troops and reinforcements, and when our own communications were in danger, the only thing to do, considering that the British forces on the Western Front were working single-handed, was to attack. I am perfectly convinced that history, when it is written, will say that the right thing to do was to attack, and to stick to that attack as long as that menace existed and until the winter shut down the possibility of the Germans themselves attacking. I believe, seeing that France, Russia, Italy, and America were of very little use during that period, that the action of the British Forces did prevent the War being finished a year earlier, and finished the wrong way. The British came out on top during that period, because they stuck to it in their bulldog way, as perhaps they can do better than any other nation. When the history is written of that period, from June or July, of 1917, until the end of that year, I believe it will be found that it was the most critical period of the whole War,
§ and that the greatest credit was due, not only to this country but to the Commander-in-Chief and his Army commanders, for sticking to it during that time, fully realising the appalling conditions under which tine troops were operating. I believe myself that history will prove that, although possibly the hon. and gallant Member on the other side may be able to prove something else in the meantime.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I would make an appeal to the Committee whether the time has not come for arriving at a decision on the subject before the Committee. A discussion of such points as have been dealt with in the last two speeches would be endless, and I am perfectly certain that there is no one in this House, whatever may be his views as to mistakes or absence of mistakes, who does not realise the great part which has been played, not only by our soldiers but by the leaders of our soldiers, during the War. The real question is whether or not the amount suggested by the Government shall be granted. On that point I think the Committee has made up its mind, and I think it would be well that we should now come to a decision.
§ Question put, "That a reduced sum, not exceeding £200,000, be granted for the said services."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 66; Noes, 288.451
|Division No. 85.]||AYES.||[7.5 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Hartshorn, V.||Sexton, James|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hirst, G. H.||Shaw, Tom (Preston)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Hogge, J. M.||Sitch, C. H.|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Capt A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Briant, F.||Jones, J. (Silvertown)||Smith, W. (Weilingborough)|
|Bromfield, W.||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander||Spencer, George A.|
|Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)||Kiley, James Daniel||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Cairns, John||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Cape, Tom||Lunn, William||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thome, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thorne, Colonel W. (Plaistow)|
|Davies, Alfred (Clltheroe)||Neal, Arthur||Tootill, Robert|
|Davies, Major David (Montgomery Co.)||Newbould, A, E,||Walton, Sir Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||O'Connor, T. P.||Waterson, A. E.|
|Dawes, J. A.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wedswood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)||Rendall, Athelstan||Wignall, James|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Roberts, F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Williams, J. (Gower, Glam.)|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
|Grandy, T. W.||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES. —Mr.|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)||Rowlands, James||T. Wilson and Mr. T. Griffiths.|
|Hallas, E.||Royce, William Stapleton|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Baldwin, Stanley|
|Agg-Gardner, sir James Tynte||Astor, Major Hon. Waldorf||Balfour, George (Hampstead)|
|Ainsworth, Captain C.||Atkey, A. R.||Balfour, Sir Robert (Partick)|
|Amery, Lieut.-Colonel L. C. M. S.||Baird, John Lawrence||Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.|
|Barker, Major R.||Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||Matthews, David|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. N. (Gorbals)||Gardiner, J. (Perth)||Mildmay, Col. Rt. Hon. Francis B.|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Gaddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Basingstoke)||Mitchell, William Lane-|
|Barnett, captain Richard W,||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Morden, Col. H. Grant|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Morris, Richard|
|Barrand, A. R.||Gllmour, Lieut-Colonel John.||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Glyn, Major R.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A.||Mosley, Oswald|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Green, J. F. (Leicester)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Gregory, Holman||Murray, Lt.-Col. Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)|
|Bellairs, Com. Carlyon W.||Greig, Colonel James William||Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Gretton, Colonel John||Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)|
|Benn, Capt. W. (Lelth)||Griggs, Sir Peter||Murray, William (Dumtries)|
|Bennett, T. J.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Nail, Major Joseph|
|Betterton, H. B.||Guinness, Capt. Hon. R. (Southend)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)|
|Birchall, Major J. D.||Guinness, Lt.-Col. Hon. W. E. (B. St. E.)||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)|
|Bird, Alfred||Hacking, Captain D. H.||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)|
|Blades, Sir George R.||Hall, Capt. D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir Fred. (Dulwich)||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Oman, C. W. C.|
|Bowles, Col. H. F.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds.)||O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Henderson, Major V. L.||Palmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)|
|Brackenbury, Col. H. L.||Hennessy, Major G.||Parker, James|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)||Parry, Major Thomas Henry|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Herbert, Denniss (Hertford)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham)||Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Bruton, Sir J.||Hilder, Lieut.-Col. F.||Perring, William George|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H.||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||Philipps, Sir O. C. (Chester)|
|Buckley, Lt.-Col. A.||Hinds, John||Pollack, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Bull, Right Hon. Sir William James||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Sir Samuel J. G.||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Pratt, John William|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hood, Joseph||Prescott, Major W. H.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothlan)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.|
|Campion, Colonel W. R.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Carr, W. T.||Horne, Edgar (Guildford)||Rae, H. Norman|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Manchester)||Hudson, R. M.||Raeburn, Sir William|
|Casey, T. W.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Hurd, P. A.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Reid, D. D.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Birm., W.)||Inskip, T. W. H.||Remer, J. B.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Remnant, Col. Sir J. Farquharson|
|Child, Brig.-General Sir Hill||Jesson, C.||Renwick, G.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jodrell, N. P.||Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Johnstone, J.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Clough, R.||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)||Roundell, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Royds, Lt.-Col. Edmund|
|Cockerill, Brig.-Gen. G. K.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Rutherford, Col. Sir J. (Darwen)|
|Cohon, Major J. B. B.||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)|
|Colvin, Brigadier-General R. B.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Kellaway, Frederick George||Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)|
|Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)||Kelly, Major Fred (Rotherham)||Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Kenyon, Barnet||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone)|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Kerr-Smiley, Major P.||Seager, Sir William|
|Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Kidd, James||Seddon, J. A.|
|Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)||King, Commander Douglas||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Knight, Capt. E. A.||Simm, Colonel M. T.|
|Curzon, Commander Viscount||Knights, Capt. H.||Spret, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H.||Larmor, Sir J.||Stanley, Colonel Hon. G. F, (Preston)|
|Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe)||Law, A. J. (Rochdale)||Stanton, Charles Butt|
|Davies, T. (Clrencester)||Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lindsay, William Arthur||Stevens, Marshall|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lloyd, George Butler||Stewart, Gershom|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Sugden, W. H.|
|Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||Lonsdale, James R.||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Edge, Captain William||Lordon, John William||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Edwards, A. Clement (East Ham, S.)||Lort-Williams, J.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Elliot, Capt. W. E. (Lanark)||Losesy, Captain C. E.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander||M'Donald, Dr. B. F. P. (Wallasey)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (M'yhl)|
|Falcon, Captain M.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Bosworth)||Tickler, Thomas George|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)||Townley, Maximilan G.|
|Farquharson, Major A. C,||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|FitzRoy, Capt. Hon. Edward A.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T, J.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Macquisten, F. A.||Waddington, R.|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Maddocks, Henry||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Forster, Rt. Hon. H. W.||Mallalieu, Frederick William||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Foxcrott, Captain C.||Malone, Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.)||Ward, Colonel L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Watson, Captain John Bertrand||Williamson, Rt. Hon. Sir Archibald||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Weston, Colonel John W.||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|White, Col. G. D. (Southport)||Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)||Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)|
|Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Wolmer, Viscount||Young, William (Perth and Kinross)|
|Wigan, Brigadier-General John Tyson||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, W.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Wild, Sir Ernest Edward||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES. —Lord E.|
|Willey, Lt Col. F. V.||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)||Talbot and Captain F. Guest.|
|Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)||Woolcock, W. J. U.|
|Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)||Worsfeld, T. Cate|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I have no intention of pursuing the discussion. I am quite content to leave it to the judgment of history.
§ Mr. HODGE
I feel sure it must be obnoxious to the gallant generals and admirals that their names should have been brought into this discussion at all. I think the Government are absolutely and entirely to blame for that in seeking to apportion merit in terms of money. The hon. Member (Mr. Hogge) raised a question with respect to gratuities, and various other points have been raised, and I think it would be well that there should be some reply to them. For the purpose of recording my protest against the introduction of the Civil Service into this discussion I shall vote against the whole sum.
§ Mr. HOGGE
On one of the few occasions when the Prime Minister is here I should like to ask him to say something about the war service gratuity of the ordinary soldier. It is not fair that the men who have served, and who are not getting these rewards should be left in their present position and that the Prime Minister should not give us some indication on behalf of the Government as to whether they are to receive at least as much in war service gratuities as the Government are paying to the men who joined the new Army.
§ Commander BELLAIRS
I raised a question on the Vote of Thanks being given by the House to the distinguished generals and admirals who commanded in the field, and in particular to Sir David Beatty and Sir Douglas Haig. I pointed out that it was following the invariable precedent which was carried out in the case of commanders in the past that we should do so, and that a Committee of this House should wait on them and submit the Vote of Thanks to them, and that they should reply by letter or follow the precedents of previous cases, such as when the Duke of Wellington attended at this House and spoke in answer to a Vote of Thanks, the only other speaker being Mr. Speaker Abbott.
Mr. J. JONES
I do not want to vote against the recognition of the great services rendered by the admirals and generals without giving some reasons for so doing, and I want to answer, if I can, some insinuations which have been levelled against Members of the party with which we are associated. If it be true that this is an electioneering, attempt on the part of those who oppose this Vote, our friend the enemy has the best opportunity of counting noses, because my mind goes back to 1914, when those who were able to influence those with whom we were associated were asked to appeal to our fellow-workers to join the Army and fight in defence of freedom and liberty, and we were told by those who asked us to assist not to offer any bribe but to point the way to duty, not to talk about what men would get if they went, but to appeal to them to fight in defence of the liberty and freedom of the people, which was being attacked by the most tyrannous militarism the world has ever seen. We have gone through the War and we have won. I am going to give every possible credit to the great generals and admirals who have done their duty so nobly, but in giving them credit I am not going to recognise that they have done any greater service than the common soldier and the common sailor. The common men who have fought can say to the admirals and generals, "As good as you are and as bad as we are, we are as good you are, bad as we are. "The hundreds of thousands of men who are now being demobilised can also ask, what have they got from a grateful nation. A suit of clothes, valued at £2 l7s. 6d.—shoddy; they have got a gratuity which will go in a few weeks at present prices; and they have got an out-of-work ticket And there are a large number of people putting questions as to lazy bounders who will not work. After all they have done, the common men who have fought are going to get no recognition beyond a Vote of Thanks from this House and the possibility of being out of work until trade gets better. The discussion reminds me very much of a story told about a great English admiral going into action. He was parading the 453 deck and he found one of the ship's boys praying on his knees. He said, "What are you doing there, my lad?" The boy said, "I am praying, sir." "Praying," he said, "don't you know we are going into action, and this is not a time for prayer?" The boy said, "My mother told me, when I joined the Navy, that whenever I was in any trouble I was to go on my knees and appeal to my Maker. I am doing so." The officer softened a bit, and said, "Tell me what you were praying for." "I was praying to the Lord that he would direct the enemy to send the shells in the same way as you do the prize money—the biggest number amongst the officers. "Evidently that is the principle that is being followed. "To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away, even the little that he hath."
They have come home after fighting for their country and find they have no country in reality, because on the road they are tramps and off the road they are trespassers. Whenever we ask for any consideration for them we are told about the generous treatment they are going to receive if they will only wait and toe good and obey those in authority over them. I am not going to give a silent vote. These great generals have had honours showered upon them and have received the freedom of all the great cities of the Kingdom, they have been thanked by both Houses of Parliament, they have behind them the salaries they have received and in front of them the possibility of pensions. I think the motto ought to be adopted by the country, "He who would be greatest amongst you, let him be the servant of all. "If we are going to hold out to these generals and admirals the idea that because some of them are not so prominent as others, they are going to receive less recognition, although their services might be equally great—if we are going to divide them up into sections and sub-sections and say which of them shall receive the most, we are reducing the very principle we are proposing to do honour to the lowest cash nexus basis, and the trail of the weights and scales is over it all. These men would be more greatly honoured by the thanks of Parliament and the gratitude of the nation than they are by the sums which are now being given them against the protests of thousands of men who think they have not been fairly treated by the State they have served equally well. The 454 poorest soldiers and sailors who have done their bit in the War are as much deserving of being guaranteed against future poverty as these generals are entitled to receive money which they do not really need. Honour we can give them and I hope they will never require anything more than honour. The other men do require more. They require generous treatment, which they have not yet received. What about the widows? What about the mothers and the fathers who are helpless and disabled, "who are not able to work and whose sons have laid their lives down? What are they receiving from the country? If you have money to throw away let us give to those who are most in need of it. If it is a question of money grants, give it to the fathers and mothers of the men who will never come back and give it to those women who are loft behind who are asking themselves how they and their children can live. I want to record my vote against the whole measure, because I do not believe these great men will be honoured by the money you are giving them, but will be far more honoured by the grateful appreciation of a nation which is thankful for their services.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I rise simply to reply to one or two questions which I was under the impression had been answered. The Secretary of State for War came here to reply to questions with regard to gratuities. I do not know what happened in the course of the discussion. The answer with regard to the gratuity is one which I should have thought my hon. Friend (Mr. Hogge) would know. The gratuity which the soldiers would receive under the old conditions came to about£1 a year. That was the amount under the Warrant. The Cabinet came to the conclusion that that was grossly inadequate as a gratuity, and they decided to agree to a gratuity which amounted — I am speaking roughly —to something like five times the amount which, under the old Warrant, would have been given to them. [AN HON. MEMBER "Twenty-three times!"] If it is twenty-three times, then the case is all the stronger. I do not think it is twenty-three times, but it is at least five times, and in some cases it is a good deal more than that amount. That was 'a substitute for what we regarded as the meagre and niggardly sum that was given to the soldier under the 455 old allowance. I do not think it is fair that it should go forward on the authority of hon. Members that soldiers are being deprived of something to which they have a. right. On the contrary, this House has voted something which was enormously greater than anything that' had been accorded to them under the terms of their service, and I think it is fair that the soldiers should know that. The amount in the aggregate is very considerable. It runs to several millions.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Forster)
Very many millions.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
It runs to very many millions. That sum has been voted by this House with the general assent of Members. I want that known, so that it shall not be said, as a result of this Debate, that we are voting £580,000 to the generals and giving no gratuity to the soldiers. It does not represent the facts in the least.
§ Mr. HOGGE
The right hon. Gentleman is not quite fair to us. Nobody said that we were not giving war service gratuities. We know that they are getting war service gratuities. The House knows that j they are getting war service gratuities in place of service gratuities. The point I made, and the point which has not been replied to, was that, on the average, these men are not getting in proportion to the officers, nor are the officers getting in proportion to the men to whom you are voting Grants this afternoon. We ask you to pay the men whom they led on the same terms as the average officer in the Army,
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The impression left on the minds of those who heard the Debate was that the soldiers were being deprived of something to which they were entitled. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] I am glad to hear that denial, and I hope that the denial will appear in all the Press of the Kingdom, because that was the impression left by the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. J. Jones) who has just sat down. From the speech of the hon. Member one would have thought that we are voting £580,000 to the generals and the admirals, and that we are not voting any gratuities to the soldiers, and that we are depriving the widows of allowances.
Mr. J. JONES
What I said was that we are not making adequate allowance to the fathers, mothers, and widows of the soldiers.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
We had a discussion the other day on pensions and allowances, and in that way we are voting £ 100,000,000 a year. The hon. Member has now made a very different statement. If he had said, "You are voting £580,000 to these great men, and you are only voting £ 100,000,000 per annum to be distributed among the widows and orphans who are suffering, "it was open for him to say so. It is only fair to state the facts, and let him base his denunciation on the facts. I congratulate him on one thing, and that is that speeches of this kind which are made outside by others are made by him here where they can be contradicted. That is valuable. If he addressed a crowd, and I suppose he does address crowds, and made a statement of that kind in the vague indefinite language in which he has made the statement to-day, I am sure one could draw no-other inference except that the money is all voted to generals and to big people. What about the £100,000,000 voted for pensions? I ask him the next time he makes a statement outside to say that while we are voting £580,000 to the generals and the big people, we are voting £100,000,000 per annum for pensions, and he will find a very different reception. We have considered the point made by the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs). He himself sees that we have confined the Vote of Thanks to a few names. We thought it the best way to have one Motion of thanks for all the officers and men, and I am certain that all those men will be proud to be included in that vote of thanks. We have put the special vote of thanks in this substantial form. I agree that it is a departure from precedent, and I think the Motion which we make to-day is much more elaborate and much more searching and comprehensive than any Motion that has ever been made before. On the whole I think we were right in the form in which we decided to accord the vote of thanks to the officers and men of the Navy.
I do not want to delay the House in coming to a conclusion on this matter, but I want to appeal on behalf of the men of the Royal Engineers who 457 joined the Army from the Post Office. These men have not had war gratuities, and I claim that they have every right to them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps I have allowed too much liberty. We cannot have a rehash of the pensions debate
That a sum, not exceeding £ 585,000, be granted to His Majesty, to be issued to those officers who commanded and directed His forces by sea, on land, and in the air, in recognition of their eminent services during the late War.
§ The Committee divided:' Ayes, 272; Noes, 54.459
|Division No. 86.]||AYES.||[7.39 p.m.|
|Adair, Rear-Admiral||Cowan, Sir H. (Aberdeen and Kinc.)||Jodrell, N. P.|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)||Johnstone, J.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Craig, Col. Sir James (Down, Mid.)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Ainsworth, Capt. C.||Craig, Lt.-Com. N. (Isle of Thanet)||Jones, Sir Evan (Pembroke)|
|Amery, Lieut.-Colonel L. C. M. S.||Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Curzon, Commander Viscount||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Davidson, Major-Gen. Sir John H.||Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Joynson-Hicks, William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Davies, Sir Joseph (Crewe)||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Kelly, Major Fred (Rotherham)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Partick)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kerr-Smiley, Major P.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington)||Kidd, James|
|Barker, Major R.||Doyle, N. Grattan||King, Commander Douglas|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. N. (Gorbals)||Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Elliot, Capt. W. E. (Lanark)||Knight, Capt. E. A.|
|Barnett, Captain Richard W.||Eyres-Monsell, Commander||Knights, Captain H.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Falcon, Captain M.||Larmor, Sir J.|
|Barrand, A. R.||Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfray||Law, A. J. (Rochdale)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Farquharson, Major A. C.||Law, Right Hon. A. Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Lindsay, William Arthur|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||FitzRoy, Capt. Hon. Edward A.||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Locker-Lampson G. (Wood Green)|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Forestier-Walker, L.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Bellairs, Com. Carlyon W.||Forster, Rt. Hon. H. W.||Lorden, John William|
|Benn, Sir Arthur S. (Plymouth)||Foxcroft, Captain C.||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Bennett, T. J.||Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||M'Donald, Dr. B. F. P. (Wallasey)|
|Betterton, H. B.||Gardner, E. (Berks, Windsor)||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)|
|Birchall, Major J. D.||Gaddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Basingstoke)||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Bird, Alfred||George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Maddocks, Henry|
|Blades, Sir George R.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Mallalieu, Frederick William|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Gllmour, Lieut-Colonel John.||Malone, Col. C. L. (Leyton, E.)|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Glyn, Major R.||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A.||Manville, Edward|
|Bowles, Col. H. F.||Gray, Major E.||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Green, J. F. (Leicester)||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)||Mildmay, Col. Rt. Hon. Francis B.|
|Brackenbury, Col. H. L.||Gregory, Holman||Mitchell, William Lane-|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Greig, Colonel James William||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Gretton, Col. John||Morris, Richard|
|Brown, Captain D. C. (Hexham)||Griggs, Sir Peter||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)|
|Bruton, Sir J.||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. A. L. H.||Hacking, Captain D. H.||Mosley, Oswald|
|Buckley, Lt.-Col. A.||Hallwood, A.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Bull, Right Hon. Sir William James||Hall, Capt. D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Burdon, Colonel Rowland||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir Fred. (Dulwich)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan Hughes||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Murray, Major C. D. (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Luton, Beds.)||Murray, Hon. G. (St. Rollox)|
|Campion, Colonel W. R.||Harris, Sir H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Murray, William (Dumfries)|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverten)||Henderson, Major V. L.||Nail, Major Joseph|
|Carr, W. T.||Hennessy, Major G.||Neal, Arthur|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Manchester)||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)|
|Casey, T. W.||Herbert, Denniss (Hertford)||Nicholson, R. (Doncaster)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Higham, C. F. (Islington, S.)||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh (Oxford U.)||Hilder, Lieutenant-Colonel F.||Oman, C. W. C.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Birm.,W.)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Sir Samuel J. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon, William|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Hood, Joseph||Palmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)|
|Child, Brig.-General Sir Hill||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Parker, James|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. (Midlothian)||Parry, Major Thomas Henry|
|Clough, R.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Horne, Edgar (Guildlord)||Perring, William George|
|Cockerill, Brlg.-Gen. G. K.||Hudson, R. M.||Philipps, Sir O. C. (Chester)|
|Cohen, Major J. B. B.||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Polleck, Sir Ernest Murray|
|Colvin, Brigadier-General R. B.||Illingworth, Rt. Hon. Albert H.||Pownall, Lieut-Colonel Assheton|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Inskip, T. W. H.||Pratt, John William|
|Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon, Ernest G.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish University)||Jesson, C.||Pulley, Charles Thornton|
|Purchase, H. G.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)||White, Col. G. D. (Southport)|
|Rae, H. Norman||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Raeburn, Sir William||Stanley, Colonel Hon. G. F. (Preston)||Wigan, Brigadier-General John Tyson|
|Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.||Stanton, Charles Butt||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Reid, D. D.||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.||Willey, Lt.-Col. F. V.|
|Remer, J. B.||Stewart, Gershom||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Remnant, Col. Sir J. Farquharson||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Williams, Col. Sir R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Renwick, G.||Sugden, W. H.||Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H,|
|Richardson, Alex. (Gravesend)||Sutherland, Sir William||Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)|
|Rodger, A. K.||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)||Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir M. (Bethnal Gn.)|
|Rothschild, Lionel de||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Roundell, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (M'yhl)||Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)|
|Royds, Lt.-Col. Edmund||Tickler, Thomas George||Wood, Major S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Rutherford, Col. Sir J, (Darwen)||Townley, Maximilan G.||Woolcock, W. J. U.|
|Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Tryon, Major George Clement||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)||Waddington, R.||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward|
|Sanders, Colonel Robert Arthur||Walker, Colonel William Hall||Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone)||Walters, Sir John Tudor||Younger, Sir George|
|Seager, Sir William||Ward, Colonel L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Capt.|
|Seddon, James||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||F. Guest and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Watson, Captain John Bertrand)|
|Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Hayward, Major Evan||Sitch, C. H.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hirst, G. H.||Smith, W. (Wellingborough)|
|Briant, F.||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Spencer, George A.|
|Bromfield, W.||Hogge, J. M.||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, J. (Silvertown)||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Cairns, John||Kenyon, Barnet||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Cape, Tom||Lunn, William||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E)|
|Carter, W. (Mansfield)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Thorne, Colonel W. (Plaistow)|
|Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Tootill, Robert|
|Davies, Major David (Montgomery Co.)||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Newbould, A. E.||Wignall, James|
|Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)||O'Connor, T. P.||Williams, A. (Consett, Durham)|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, J. (Gower, Glam.)|
|Entwistle, Major C. F.||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Roberts, F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Robertson, J.||Wood, Major Mackenzie (Aberdeen, c.)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rose, Frank H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Col.|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)||Sexton, James||Wedgwood and Lt.-Com. Kenworthy.|
|Hallas, E.||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.