HC Deb 03 March 1919 vol 113 cc13-5
55. Lieutenant-Colonel WEIGALL

asked the Prime Minister whether a final address by a properly qualified speaker can be given to all troops assembled in demobilisation dispersal camps thanking them for their services, and an explanation given of the national economic position and the necessity of increased production in all industries?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill)

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. My hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion is not practicable, as dispersals proceed during the whole period, twenty-four hours each day, and in many cases men arrive and are dispersed during the night. If this suggestion were carried out, the effect would be to delay dispersals. On the other hand, arrangements have been made for all men to be seen and personally bidden farewell, before they leave their units to proceed for dispersal. Commanding officers have been specially instructed to give all ranks a good send off on their homeward journey, and I have cause to know that a great deal has been done in this direction.

Lieutenant-Colonel WEIGALL

Is there included in the good send-off any mention of the national, financial, and economic position; and is it suggested that the average commanding officer alone should point out to the men the economic situation?


I am not at all sure that there may not be disadvantages in statements of this kind being made by commanding officers, who necessarily are occupied with other matters and whose training has led them into quite different fields.

Colonel W. THORNE

Is a good hot meal provided for the soldiers in giving them a good send-off?


There are considerable funds at the disposal of the regiments in France and the other theatres, which are used in connection with the send-off when the men leave their units.


Who contribute those funds?


These funds are the property of the Canteen Management; they are the property of the Army as a whole.


That is, contributed by the men.

Colonel C. LOWTHER

Are Bolshevist agitators getting access to these dispersal camps and distributing pernicious literature daily?


I have no information on that. I shall be glad to receive any evidence of it which my hon. and gallant Friend has.