§ 77. Sir WATSON CHEYNE
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware of the discontent among the temporary Royal Army Medical Corps officers with the Army in India on account of the manner in which their contracts of service are being interpreted; that men who had signed contracts in 1917 until the termination of the present emergency or until their services are no longer required, whichever shall happen first, were informed in February, 1919, that the period of the emergency during which officers may count service for gratuity would expire on 3rd August, 1919; that on 4th August, 1919, they were asked to sign a fresh contract, which they almost unanimously refused to do; that shortly afterwards another contract, with somewhat better terms of pay, was offered to them and they were told that those who refused to sign would be retained in the Service whether they liked it or not; that some men who refused to sign have since been sent home to England and posted to hospitals there instead of being demobilised and allowed to resume their private practices, in one case, at least the medical man being a volunteer and not a conscript; and whether he will reconsider this matter, especially in view of the uncertainty occasioned by the discontinuance of the gratuity and the offer of fresh contracts?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Churchill)
I am not aware of any such discontent as is suggested at the beginning of this question. The answer to the rest of the question involves a good deal of detail, and is somewhat lengthy in consequence, and with my hon. Friend's permission I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ The following is the answer referred to:
§ I am not aware that Buy discontent exists amongst temporary Royal Army Medical Corps officers in India on account of the manner in which their contracts of service are being interpreted.
§ Temporary officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps serving in India were 889 offered a new contract at 800 rupees per mensem if they would undertake to serve in that country for another year. Those eligible for demobilisation and who did not sign the new contract, but whose services could not immediately be spared, were granted 750 rupees per month, with effect from 1st July, 1919. The new rates of pay, although they did not include a gratuity, were better than those rates on which they had been serving up to the 1st July. Royal Army Medical Corps officers in India, as elsewhere, who are serving on a contract for the duration of the present emergency are liable to be retained until the statutory date for the end of the War, and they were doubtless so informed, but a certain number of these have been sent home on public or compassionate grounds, or because they were en route for the United Kingdom from Mesopotamia, but detained in India on account of the emergency in that country. Junior officers, if on a "duration of the War" contract, sent to the United Kingdom, may be retained and posted to Commands at home for duty, and their claims for release may not be considered as pressing as those of other officers whom they relieve.