HC Deb 29 July 1924 vol 176 cc1872-3
21. Mr. RHYS

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the claim of Mr. David Griffiths, Llwyndewi, Whitland, Carmarthenshire, for payment in respect of a mare hired out for the Territorial camp at Porthcawl last August; whether he is aware that the mare was returned on 27th August suffering from acute strangles, and that Mr. Griffiths refused to take possession of her in that condition; that the mare was eventually returned on 3rd October and that Mr. Griffiths is claiming 50s. a week from 12th August to 3rd October, being the agreed rate for the duration of the camp, and £10 damages, as the mare was not available for sale at the end of the summer; whether he is aware that repeated claims for settlement have been made; and whether immediate steps will be taken to investigate and settle the matter?


I have ascertained that the Territorial Association concerned did not hire the horse from Mr. Griffiths, but from a firm of contractors at Cheltenham who, I presume, obtained the horse from Mr. Griffiths in their turn. In these circumstances any claim which Mr. Griffiths may have lies not against the Department, but against the Cheltenham firm. In case, however, the hon. Member thinks that the Department has any moral responsibility in the matter, I may add that the firm from whom we obtained the horse have made no complaint to us; but have, on the contrary, stated that the horse was returned to them, after the camp, in good health and condition.


When a horse is hired out to the Territorial Army has not the man who hired out the horse to the Territorial camp some moral claim against the Department, and will the right hon. Gentleman take some steps to see that justice is done?


No. That is exactly the point which I have endeavoured to submit to the House. The firm of contractors from whom the Territorial Association obtained the horse have indemnified the Association definitely against any loss due to sickness, injury or death. Therefore the claim, if any—into that particular point I do not propose to enter—of Mr. Griffiths is against the contractor and not against the Territorial Association.


Is not this a question that ought to be dealt with privately, and not by question and answer?


Yes. We ought not to spend so much time over it.