HC Deb 11 March 1919 vol 113 cc1059-60
19. W. Mr. RENDALL

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will say why Pioneer E. H. Lawrence, No. 182207, No. 1 Light Railway Signal Company, British Expeditionary Force, France, has not been demobilised; whether he is aware that he is forty-two and a-half years old; that he has been told by his commanding officer that all permanent linesmen are being detained, irrespective of age, as part of the demobilising machinery, although there are a sufficient number of younger men in the company to do all the work; and that he has three children and a wife seriously ill; and will he see that this man's discharge is not further delayed?

Captain GUEST

From the information given by my hon. Friend, Private Lawrence would appear to be eligible for demobilisation, and, if so, he will no doubt be released in due course, or, if his services are temporarily required for the military machinery of demobilisation, as soon as he can be relieved or his services dispensed with. Men are liable to be so retained, even though otherwise eligible for demobilisation, but every effort is being made to replace them as soon as possible; this liability to retention applies particularly in the ease of certain special and departmental services which are essentially necessary for demobilisation purposes. Any application on compassionate grounds should be made, in the first instance, to the officer commanding the unit in which Private Lawrence is serving.

Colonel THORNE

What happens in a case where the War Office says a man must be demobilised and the commanding officer says no?

Captain GUEST

I think probably in that case the War Office desire would be acceded to.