HC Deb 03 July 1919 vol 117 cc1229-30

The victory, the fruits of which are (scheduled in this Treaty, has been a tremendous achievement, but no country has had a greater share in that achievement than the British Empire. I make no apology for referring to that, because I am a little afraid we have not informed the world—I am not sure that we have informed ourselves—as to the splendid part which this great commonwealth of nations known as the British Empire has had in thi3 the greatest achievement in the history of the struggles for human freedom. Let me give one or two figures. I wonder how many men here at the centre of government know the number of men raised by the British Empire for its Army and its Navy in the War. Seven million seven hundred thousand men! The amount raised by loans and revenue for the conduct of the War runs to £9,500,000,000. That is the biggest contribution made by any country. The total casualties of the Empire have been over 3,000,000. Without its Navy, without its great Mercantile Marine, where should we have been? I had to refresh my memory as to these gallant sailors who, without demur, without fear, without delay, responded to the call of duty, and kept the traffic of the world going, fed the Allies, supplied the Allies, gave strength to the arm of the Allies. Fifteen thousand of them have been killed. The Mercantile Marino and the Navy kept the seas. Without them the War would have collapsed in six months. In the last two years of the War—1917–18—and here is a fact that is little known in this country or abroad—the heaviest fighting, judged by casualties, was undertaken and carried through by the armies of Britain, even in France. In addition to that, whilst we were carrying the heaviest share of the burden there in the matter of hard, ruthless, relentless fighting, with British doggedness and resistlessness, the armies of Britain had the whole burden of the attack upon the Turkish Empire, and that Empire was brought down crumbling to the dust by the strength of British arms. I think we are entitled to call attention to these things.