§ 29. Captain FOXCROFT
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the War Office will release at the earliest possible moment the 1914 Territorials in India now detained on account of Afghan trouble after four and a half years with out leave?
I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the Memorandum recently published, which states that all 1914 and 1915 men in India will have commenced their journey home by the 1st December, if not released earlier, pro vided that no unexpected trouble occurs in that country.
§ 30 and 31. Captain FOXCROFT
asked the Secretary of State for War (1)whether the War Office will take steps to counteract the serious effect on their employment prospects in England of the misleading announcement that Territorials, very properly detained on account of frontier disturbances, have volunteered to remain in India;
(2) whether the attention of the War Office has been drawn to the fact that situations in India, awaiting men whose demobilisation is delayed through frontier troubles, are being filled up by men sent out from England?
I am aware that owing to the existing conditions in India some of the soldiers at certain stations volunteered to remain in India until such time as their services could be dispensed with, and that currency to this fact has been given in the Press. I have never stated that the men now being retained in India are being kept there because they volunteered for such service. On the contrary, I have repeatedly stated in this House that all men arriving in India are being compulsorily retained, and I would deprecate employers taking advantage of rumours 1084 of statements alleged to have been made in Parliament to relieve them of their promises to keep civil appointments open for men now awaiting return to this country. In view of the fact that all demobilisable men will shortly be returning, and that employers have kept appointments open for so long a period, I desire to take this opportunity of appealing to them to keep these positions open a little longer. I have no special information with regard to the action of employers in India.
§ 32. Mr. R. RICHARDSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the unrest in India with regard to demobilisation; whether he is aware that the Derby men, the importance of whose official and private business pre vented them from active enlistment before July, 1916, are incensed at the official failure to make a statement as to their early release; whether he will give an assurance that these men will not suffer because they attested under the Derby scheme; and whether, as a proof of his intention to do everything possible to release the men who have been retained for long periods in the East, he will promise to release 20,000 men per month?
I regret that I can make no statement at present regarding the demobilisation of Derby men who joined the Colours after 1st July, 1916, unless they are otherwise eligible on ac count of age, wounds received, etc. With regard to the last part of the question, I am afraid no promise can be made to release a specified number of men monthly, but, as explained in the recent Memorandum, all 1914, 1915 men, and all Derby men who joined the Colours before 1st July, 1916, who are in India will have started for home by the 1st December, if not released earlier, provided always that no unxpected trouble occurs in that country.