HC Deb 11 March 1919 vol 113 cc1063-5
31. Lieutenant-Colonel Lord HENRY CAVENDISH-BENTINCK

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in in view of the fact that soldiers who are qualified for demobilisation and also men whose release has been sanctioned on compassionate grounds are often unreasonably detained, he will personally intervene to secure their speedy release if their cases are brought to his notice?

Captain GUEST

If my Noble and gallant Friend can furnish me with particulars of any cases where men entitled to release are unreasonably detained, I will certainly have them investigated. There are undoubtedly a large number of soldiers who are at present qualified for demobilisation, but the rate at which they can be demobilised is, as my Noble and gallant Friend will realise, necessarily governed by transport and other considerations. I am having the case of which he has furnished me with particulars inquired into.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state or lay upon the Table of the House instructions at present in force which govern the consideration of claims for the release of soldiers on compassionate grounds who otherwise are eligible for retention in the Armies of Occupation?

70. Sir J. BUTCHER

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state to whom an application for the release of a soldier on extreme compassionate grounds should be made in the case when the soldier himself applies, and in the case when a Member on behalf of the soldier applies; and whether he can state in general terms, so far as possible, the grounds on which such applications can properly be made or give for the guidance of those interested some illustrations of the cases in which release on extreme compassionate grounds will be granted?

72. Sir J. D. REES

asked whether any definition or indication of the nature of compassionate grounds for release from service can be given in order that those interested and their friends may know how to act in making and supporting applications in this behalf?

Captain GUEST

An application by a soldier should be made in the first instance to the officer commanding his unit Applications by Members of this House should be addressed to the Secretary, War Office (Mobilisation). The extreme compassionate grounds should be those for family reasons, and not business reasons. Family reasons may include dangerous illness of wife, motherless children, loss of more than one son on active service where the parents are dependent on son's earnings. These are some illustrations of the grounds on which compassionate releases are being granted. In order to save time it is necessary in such case that the facts should be verified by a clergyman, doctor, or justice of the peace.


Why should not the fact that a man's business is going to rack and ruin be considered equally with the other reasons?

Captain GUEST

Because business would cover applications of one kind or another from almost everybody in the Army.


One-man businesses.


Could the hon. and gallant Gentleman say whether, when a man writes to the War Office to be released on compassionate grounds, it is necessary that he should accompany his letter by a verification from a justice of the peace, clergyman or doctor?

Captain GUEST

Yes, Sir.

Captain O'GRADY

Is it absolutely necessary that a man should apply to his commanding officer in the first instance? May not the parent of the lad apply to a Member of this House so that he can apply to the War Office in accordance with instructions?

Captain GUEST

Yes, of course.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider that case I brought to his notice on compassionate grounds, which was turned down because the grounds were not considered good enough, seeing that the man's wife was dangerously ill? Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider that case in that category?

Captain GUEST

Most certainly.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman give consideration to the extreme cases of one-man businesses?

Captain GUEST

The Secretary of State has decided that this is the best method of describing "compassionate grounds."


Is the House to have nothing to say in this matter?

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