HC Deb 18 February 1919 vol 112 cc719-20

asked the Secretary for War whether it is proposed that the troops now in India shall remain there for an indefinite period; whether he is aware that most of these men who enlisted for the duration of the War are suffering from the climate, to which they are unaccustomed; that the head of the Indian Ordnance stated publicly in November last that the men were to be retained for five years; and whether he will consider this matter with a view to these troops being relieved and brought home as soon as possible?

34. Colonel BURN

asked the Secretary for War if the promise made to the men of Territorial battalions who volunteered for foreign service in September, 1914, will be kept that they should be given priority of release; and will those men be allowed to return to England on peace being signed, and, if possible, before the hot weather sets in?

Captain GUEST

The urgent necessity of bringing these men home from India and the Far East at the earliest possible date has not been lost sight of. It may be confidently expected that a certain proportion of such men as are entitled to release will return to England at a comparatively early date. With regard to the remainder, it is necessary that their reliefs should arrive in India before they can return. These reliefs are being collected as expeditiously as possible, but some time must elapse before they are ready to leave England. This fact, added to the difficulties regarding provision of transport and danger of moving troops in the tropics during extreme heat, must necessarily result in some delay in effecting the return of all the men concerned.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many men of the Territorial Army nearly fifty years of age who have been four years in India and cannot get home?

Captain GUEST

I am well aware of the fact.

Major E. WOOD

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are men in the same category serving in Siberia—what arrangements are made for them?

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