HC Deb 19 March 1919 vol 113 cc2069-70
40. Mr. SEXTON

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that commanding officers in the Army of Occupation are interpreting the demobilisation Regulations in the sense that a man who may have enlisted in 1914, but was not sent overseas until 1916, has to wait for demobilisation until men who were sent overseas in 1915 have been released, although such men may not have enlisted until 1915; and whether he will have accurate information conveyed to commanding officers on this point?


I am not aware that this is the case. It is, however, provided that a proportion of men in each draft sent home for demobilisation will be composed of men who have had longest service overseas, subject, of course, to their being eligible for demobilisation.


Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to give special consideration to the cases of men attested previously to 1916 but not called up until that year, and whose businesses are languishing because of their absence?


No, Sir; I have distinctly said we do not consider men excluded from the provisions for retention unless they were actually called up before the 1st January, 1916.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make an exception in the cases of those who were rejected medically at an earlier stage, and therefore went into the Army at the earliest date at which they were allowed to go, and who have incurred very grave injury to their business in consequence?


No, Sir; I think it would be a great mistake to mar the symmetry of the scheme and to depart from the rule which has been made. Perhaps in the course of a few months we may review it from the point of view of how to modify it.

Colonel THORNE

Will the whole of the Orders be revised after peace is signed?


No, Sir; the proposals which I put forward on behalf of the Government are designed to cover the period of service of the Army of Occupation. When that period elapses we may then review them.

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