HC Deb 09 July 1919 vol 117 cc1780-1
4. Mr. F. C. THOMSON

asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the fact that nothing has been done by the Government of India to find employment for those officers of the Indian Army who have been discharged from the Army on account of disability incurred on active service, and who are in many cases without adequate means of support, and whose previous training has given them few qualifications for employment in this country, he will consider the advisability of appointing such officers or recommending for appointment to Government posts in those territories in the East which have recently come under British administration?


It is not the case that nothing has been done to find employment for disabled officers of the Indian Army. In 1917 a disabled officers' employment bureau was formed in the India Office, and a Committee appointed to consider applications of officers seeking employment in the East, and to endeavour to find suitable openings for them. The Colonial Office and the War Office were represented on the Committee, and it worked in co-ordination with the Ministry of Labour and with the different Governments in India. It was instrumental in obtaining employment for a number of officers, and would have done more but that in many cases the applicants were medically rejected as unfit for employment in the East. I will communicate with other Departments, and with the Government of India, with regard to the hon. Member's suggestion, but I fear that the heavy demands that service in newly-occupied territories in the East makes on the health and physique of Europeans will often stand in the way of disabled or invalided officers.


Is it not a fact that a very large number of Indian officers, disabled through active service, and still without employment, are for the most part men with small means and very little qualification for work at home, but with special Eastern experience which qualifies them in a particular degree for posts which might be offered them in Mesopotamia and Palestine? I would ask him to bear in mind this class, which has a strong claim on the community.


I quite agree with my hon. Friend that they have a very strong claim on the community, and I will do my best to find employment suitable to them.