HC Deb 15 July 1924 vol 176 c191
12 and 14. Major HORE - BELISHA

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether the Regulations published in the Royal Warrant for Pay, 1914, and on Army Form D 446, concerning the recall of Army pensioners to the Colours in case of national emergency, were cancelled before the outbreak of War; and if such cancellation was published in Army Orders and the public Press;

(2) whether, seeing that both the pay warrant and the pension papers of pre-War pensioners stated quite definitely that these pensioners were liable to recall in time of national emergency up to the age of 50 years, and on their failing to do so they would forfeit their pensions, it is now admitted that these Regulations were of doubtful legality; and, seeing that many commanding officers issued telegraphic instructions to pensioners to return to the Colours after the outbreak of the great War, Whether the War Office will regard these Regulations as binding, and deal with these. Army pensioners in the same manner as the Admiralty treated the naval and marine pre-War pensioners at the end of hostilities?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Major Attlee)

The answer to question No. 12 is in the negative. As regards question No. 14, I think my hon. and gallant Friend is under some misapprehension. The Royal Warrant for Pay, etc., of 1914 purported to render Army pensioners liable to recall and reenlistment on emergency, and further provided that re-enlisted pensioners should draw pension and pay concurrently, but should not count their re-enlisted service towards an increase of pension. In the great War many pensioners re-enlisted voluntarily, but the liability to compulsory recall was of doubtful legality and was, therefore, not enforced by the War Office. I am not aware whether this liability was ever regarded by any commanding officer as enforceable, as my hon. and gallant Friend suggests, but, if so, that fact gave the pensioner concerned no title to be treated as regards his pay and pension otherwise than under the Army Pay Warrant, the provisions of which still fully covered his case. The Navy Regulations were different, and are inapplicable to soldiers.