HC Deb 07 May 1919 vol 115 cc921-3
Major BORWICK (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for War if it is a fact that Captain H. Grenville Moss, Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial Force), who had declined to volunteer for service in North Russia, had now been, ordered to proceed to Blackpool, preparatory to sailing for that country; whether he is aware that this officer has served in His Majesty's Forces since the first day of the War; whether, in view of this officer's service throughout the whole of the War and of the assurances given to the House that none but volunteers would be sent to Russia, he will give intructions that the orders for this officer to proceed to Russia should be cancelled?


Captain H. Grenville Moss, Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial Force) did decline to volunteer for service in North Russia. He was put under orders on 17th April to command a sanitary section proceeding to North Russia. In consequence of his appeal he was notified on 26th April that his orders were in abeyance, but that he might be required later. Endeavours were made to find a substitute, but without success, and he was, therefore, again placed under orders on 30th April. It is realised that he has served since August, 1914, and as an officer since June, 1915, but, although he is eligible for demobilisation, his age is under thirty-one and his business is being, carried on by his brother. Many officers, with greater claims to release on the grounds of personal hardship are being, necessarily retained. Further, he is not a medical man, and his claim from the civil community point of view is not an urgent one. He has shown special capabilities in sanitary work, for which urgent duty he is now required and for which no volunteers are available. I am certainly not prepared in any way to relax the claims which may be made upon a person holding the King's commission in regard to a duty of real emergency connected with the rescue and extrication of a British force from a position of danger. Men have volunteered in plenty, and I am very much surprised that any officer who knows he is required should endeavour to raise objections.

Lieutenant-Commander KENWORTHY (by Private Notice)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether a soldier who enlisted in 1914, is in France for fifteen months, is now stationed in North Russia, and is at present on leave in this country, has to return to Russia, or whether he can be demobilised in this country?


I only received notice of this question a few minutes ago and I should like to have the usual opportunity of consulting the Department upon the rules referring to this case.

Captain W. BENN

Will the right hon. Gentleman adhere to his pledge, twice repeated in this House, that none but volunteers should be sent to north Russia?


All the men who are being sent to extricate our force are volunteers who have volunteered, and there are plenty of volunteers. There are some men from north Russia who have been given leave in this country on the assumption that they will return there, and I am not prepared at this moment to give a special instruction in the case of any individual man. In regard to officers, the conditions on which an officer has the honour to hold the King's commission is different from the conditions governing the attestation of a private soldier.