- (1) In Section four, paragraphs (1), (2), (6), and (7) shall be omitted;
- (2) In Section five the following paragraphs shall be inserted after paragraph (6):
- (7) Shamefully abandons or delivers up any garrison, place, post, or guard, or uses any means to compel or induce any governor, commanding officer, or other person shamefully to abandon or deliver up any garrison, place, post, or guard which it was the duty of such governor or person to defend;
- (8) Shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, or tools in the presence of the enemy;
- (9) Knowingly does when on active service any act calculated to imperil the success of His Majesty's forces or any part therof;
- (10) Misbehaves or induces others to misbehave before the enemy in such manner as to show cowardice;
- (3) In Sub-section (1) of Section six the words"if he commits any such offence on active service be liable to suffer death or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned, and if he commits any such offence not on active service," shall be ommitted;
- (4) In Section seven for the word"death," there shall be substituted the words"penal servitude";
- (5) Sub-section (1) of Section eight shall he omitted;
- (6) In Sub-section (1) of Section nine the words"if he commits such offence on active service, be liable to suffer death, or such less punishment, as is in this Act mentioned, and if he commits such offence not on active service"shall be omitted;
- (7) In Sub-section (1) of Section twelve the words"if he committed such offence when on active service, or under orders for active service, be liable to suffer death or such less punishment as is in this
1228 Act mentioned; and if he committed such offence under any other circumstances"shall be omitted.£[Mr. Thurtle.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. THURTLE
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a. Second time."
I am moving this Clause on behalf of the Labour party officially, and it may be taken as an indication that, when we are next in power and when we next control the War Office, we shall make it our business to introduce Amendments to the Army and Air Force (Annual) Act along the lines of this Clause. I ought to explain at the outset that the general purpose of the Clause is to abolish the death penalty as far as certain offences are concerned. It abolishes the death penalty for all that class of cases which involve cowardice and desertion when on active service. We have deliberately refrained from abolishing the death penalty for those cases which involve treachery or desertion to the enemy. It is conceivable that in such instances, involving deliberate betrayal, a case may lie made out for the supreme penalty. At any rate, this afternoon we are not prepared to argue that issue, but we are confining ourselves to this position, that cases of cowardice and of desertion when on active service cannot strictly be classed within the category of crime. They are due more to human weakness than to any vicious intent. We say that it is an outrage on elementary human justice that such offences should be punishable by the irrevocable penalty of death.
We had a Committee which sat the year before last and went into this question of the death penalty, and that Committee recommended, as the House was told last year and as we shall be told this evening, that the death penalty should be retained. I want to submit to the Committee that we ought not to accept that report as being by any means conclusive. I would call attention to the composition of that Committee. It was of such a nature that it can be fairly described as a packed jury. It was essentially a, Service Committee, made up of Admirals, Generals, Air-Marshals, and people in that category. It was tied hand and foot to the traditional view of the Services in regard to this matter. It could not possibly, in view of its character, bring anything like an open mind to this question. Therefore; we 1229 decline absolutely to accept the finding of that Committee as being final and conclusive. I do not wish to be disrespectful to Admirals, Generals, or Air-Marshals, but I think I express the view of the majority of the public when I say that you could not; select any class of people in this country whose outlook is more detached and remote from that of the great bulk of the people than the higher officers of the three Fighting Services.
This is really a rank and file question, and there can be no question at all as to what is the point of view of the rank and file on this matter. If you take that great body of ex-service men in this country who have experienced some of the realities of war, I am quite confident that the overwhelming mass of them are dead against the continuance of this dealth penalty. I do not profess to know with such great accuracy the point of view of the rank and file of the Army as it is constituted at the present time, but I believe the rank and file of the Army are also overwhelmingly against the continuance of this death penalty. I can speak with a certain amount of authority as to the view of the general public I have been identified with this question of getting rid of the death penalty for some years. In the course of my work in that connection, I have been brought into contact with the point of view of all classes of people belonging to all parties all over the country; I have addressed a large number of public meetings on the subject; and I have found, so far as one can judge by these evidences, that the general public is also of the opinion that the time has come when this barbarous method of punishment ought to be done away with.
This Committee to which I have already referred stated in its Report that they found no evidence of any miscarriage of justice. That depends entirely, of course, as to what is meant by justice. If the Committee contend that the code as it exists at the present time was administered with reasonable fairness during the War, I am not going to question that position. I believe that the code as it stands was administered with reasonable- care and reasonable fairness during the War, but my contention is that the code itself, as it stands, is monstrously unjust. What is cowardice?
1230 That is really the question which this Committee have to settle in deciding this particular issue. I submit that cowardice is almost entirely a question of the nervous system and the will power, and the nervous system and the will power in any given individual depend upon his inherited qualities and the training and environment to which he has been subjected since birth. Nature is by no means equal in the way in which she deals out these qualities. We know very well that there are tremendous differences of physique amongst us all, but there are equally tremendous differences in regard to the nervous system and the will power also, and it is absolutely unfair to take an individual who has been treated in a meagre fashion by nature in regard to will power and the nervous system and say, because of that, you are going to subject him to this very terrible penalty.
The Committee are bound to admit this as a plain common-sense proposition. If you take two men and subject them exactly to the same kind of nervous strain, one man, because of his natural endowment, will be able to go through that nervous strain successfully, whereas the other man will break under it. We say that in cases of that sort it is a wanton outrage of elementary human justice to shoot a man in cold blood who breaks under that strain because of a weakness for which he has no responsibility whatsoever. If the Committee will forgive me, I will bring these differences home by a reference to ourselves. This is a House made up of all sorts of individuals, and the gifts in this House are of great variety. We have a number of Members who have been endowed by nature with wonderful gifts of speech. We admire those Members and their gifts of speech. Sometimes, perhaps, we admire them too much. We have other Members who have not been treated quite so handsomely by nature in the matter of gifts of speech. Indeed, some of us may have been treated quite scurvily. But we do not argue that it is the fault of these men who cannot make effective speeches like some of the orators in the House, and we do not say that they are to blame for it. In exactly the same way, there comes up this question of courage or cowardice. There is the man who wins the Victoria Cross by wonderful examples 1231 of courage. We can admire that man and his great courage. At the same time, it would be monstrously unfair of us to say of another man, because he is differently endowed, because he has not got that will power, that determination, that command over his nervous system that the man who wins the Victoria Cross has got, when he is subjected to a tremendous strain and breaks and collapses, that be is a coward in the real sense of the word. I would like to remind the Committee that even these heroes themselves, these winners of the Victoria Cross, do not take up any impossible attitude in regard to cowards. I would just quote two views of men who have won the Victoria Cross. One is a distinguished lieutenant-commander, and this is what he says:It is almost impossible to define cowardice. La my opinion, it, is the way a fellow is made. You cannot always blame him. No man is really a coward.Then I take the point of view of the rank and file. A private soldier who won the Victoria Cross by a deed of great gallantry says:I have seen youngsters going into action all of a tremble and hardly able to hold their rifles. In a moment of panic those lads might do almost anything. But fellows like that ought not to be classed as cowards whatever happens "—It is a V.C. who says:because it is all very well to talk of cowardice in battle while we are talking in the Strand "—It is all very well to speak of cowardice in battle while we are talking in this House—but I do not think many people understand that there are many kinds of feelings that come over a man when he is in the thick of battle, with blood and bullets and death all around him.There is this other point. Quite apart from a man's inherited qualities, we ought to take into consideration the tremendous effect which his upbringing and training have upon him in regard to his ability to withstand the strain of modern warfare. Take a man who has been brought up in the slums, who has been under-nourished almost from his birth, who has spent long periods in unemployment, as so many of our men have who enlist in the Army, consider his physique and the effect that that kind of 1232 life has had upon his nervous system, and then take another man who has been well-nourished all his life, who has lived an open-air life, an invigorating life, which has toned up his body and his nervous system, like many of the men who came from Australia and places like that. Take those two types of persons. Surely, other things being equal, even in the matter of natural endowments, the man who has bad good food all his life and who has lived an open-air life must inevitably be better fitted and better adapted to stand the intense strain of modern battle than the other man, who has been bred in the slums and undernourished all his life, yet you find that exactly the same kind of code is applicable to each class of person.
It is said that this death penalty is only used as a deterrent, that it is never used except when the gravest necessity arises, and I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War has himself said in this House that it is never used in any sense of vindictiveness. I want to take exception to that statement, and I am going to quote one instance to show that this power which we entrust to the military authorities can be and is used in a vindictive spirit. The Darling Committee sat some years ago to consider this question of the death penalty, and it made a great feature in its Report of the fact that no soldier was executed for desertion while on active service in this country. I made it my business, some 18 months or more ago, to look up the records of the War Office in regard to these executions, and in the course of my researches I came across this fact: There were two soldiers due to embark for France. They got to Waterloo Station, they deserted at Waterloo Station, they were absent for perhaps a month or two months, and they were then apprehended somewhere down at Woolwich, I think it was, for desertion in this country. What happened to these two men? They were taken over to France, they were tried in France, they were convicted in France, and they were shot down in cold blood by their fellow-countrymen in France, and this is said to be a sanction which is not used vindictively. Can anyone say that there was any great emergency or issue involved which necessitated these two men, who deserted in this country, being taken over to France 1233 in that cold-blooded fashion and shot down there as you would shoot down a rabbit?
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
Does the hon. Member suggest that those two men were subject to the great nervous strain which he has just been describing?
§ Mr. THURTLE
I would say this even with regard to those men. Men differ very much in their power of imagination and in their sensitiveness, and any man who ever went oversea knows that one of the most trying and tragic moments of all was that moment which came when he had to say good-bye to his wife and children and those who were nearest and dearest to him. [An HON. MEMBER:"Sob-stuff!"] An hon. Member talks about "sob-stuff"; he ought to have a better sense of decency. In those circumstances it is quite conceivable that a man's nerves would get the better of him, even in the railway station at Waterloo. Then there is this point, that the operation of this law- has got nothing fixed and equal about it, that there is no proper equality of justice, that it is applied to a different degree on different occasions. Military commanders deliberately use it as a means, so they think, of stiffening the moral of their troops on certain occasions. It is reported that the moral of a division or brigade leaves something to be desired, the word goes forth from the high command that an example has to be made, and invariably an example is made, which means that sonic poor, innocent victim is the example.
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will deny that this kind of thing happens, but if he does, I will recall to his mind the case which was given in this House two years ago by Lieut.-Colonel Meyler, who is no longer a Member. He recalled a case that came before him when he was presiding officer of a court-martial, and he was called to brigade headquarters before the trial took place and told that, if the man were found guilty, it was expected that he should be sentenced to death and that, so far as any lessening of that penalty was concerned, it was to be left to the other channels. In accordance with this indication from brigade headquarters, that man was sentenced to death, and the sentence was duly carried out, which seems to indicate quite clearly that in that particular case the brigade wanted 1234 to make an example. We know full well that this sentence is used as a means of endeavouring to terrorise the troops. We know how those notices were read out on parade, how they were posted at the base depots and so forth, as to men having been found guilty of desertion and having been sentenced to death, and the sentence having been duly executed. These things were done deliberately, with the idea of saying, in effect, to the troops;"Fight; stand your ground; if you do not fight and stand your ground, we will see to it that you are shot in cold blood by your fellow countrymen."
Let me deal with one other point, and that is the question of sleeping at posts. That is one of the cases where the death penalty may be inflicted, and it is one of those cases in which we seek to take it away. Who is going to suggest that this sleeping at posts is any real, wilful, criminal offence? Is it not quite obvious that when a soldier, worn out with fatigue and with lack of sleep, succumbs to it, he is just obeying the ordinary, elementary dictates of nature and cannot really help himself? Yet the penalty for this offence is death, and. the War 'Office says there is no injustice involved in it. Let this Committee remember the few all-night Sittings that it has to endure. When this House has been up just for about 16 hours and kept out of its bed five or six hours more than is usual, you find all over it Members falling asleep, because they cannot help themselves. If this House could be kept up for about 96 hours, without any sleep at all, I will guarantee to say that, willy nilly, 75 or 80 per cent. of the Members would be falling into deep slumber. [An HON MEMBER:"Not if there was a death penalty attached! "] They would. The soldiers do not merely have to remain up for 24 or 36 hours. In many cases they were practically without sleep for a week or even more than a week.
I know a little incident which happened in my own brief time of soldiering. I was in charge of a party which had the job of taking some dummy tanks out into No Man's Land, and we put down a covering party for that purpose. An attack was going to take place farther down the line the next morning, and these tanks should have been out in No Man's Land at about 12 o'clock at night. Unfortunately, the Army authorities overlooked the fact that, 1235 because the tanks were mounted on lorries, they would get entangled in the telegraph wires. It delayed their arrival, and the consequence was that we were not able to get those tanks out into No Man's Land until about four o'clock, I think it was—about an hour before zero hour. Having got the tanks into position, we looked for the covering party, which consisted of a corporal and four men. Remember, they had been lying there for about seven hours. We found them, every one of them, the corporal and the four men, dead asleep in the long damp grass and we had to kick them to awaken them. According to Regulations, I should have reported those men, and they would have been tried for sleeping on duty in a dangerous position and exposing the line to attack from the enemy. If I had reported those men—I speak now as a human being, and not as a soldier—and they had been convicted and shot, as they might well have been, I should regard myself at this moment as neither more nor less than a murderer.
The plea of military necessity is what the War Office falls back upon in the last resort. It says:"This may be a terrible sanction, it may be very dreadful that we have to apply it, but it is an absolute military necessity." What in effect that amounts to is this, that the War Office dispenses altogether with the idea of patriotism, with the idea that the men are fighting because they believe in a just cause and are seeking to defend their country, and it says:"These men can only be kept fighting by the discipline of fear, by the threat that if they do not fight, they will be executed." That is the plain, stark, naked interpretation of the War Office attitude. I am not going to argue as to whether or not it is sound. It is their estimate of the fighting quality of the British Army—it is not mine—and I am not going to argue that. I leave that to them, but I say this, that even if military necessity did demand this kind of thing, it does not, and never can, justify the execution of men in cold blood for offences for which they are not responsible.
This plea of military necessity was, I remember, used about field punishment No. 1. We were told then by the military mandarins that this was an absolutely necessary sanction, and that if you took 1236 it away you would gravely imperil the discipline of the British Army. The sanction has been taken away, and have not yet heard that the discipline of the British Army has been seriously impaired, or that the War Office contemplates coming forward with a proposal for the reimposition of this sanction. But I am going further. If this plea of military necessity he pressed by the War Office, I am going to fall back on an illustration which, in my view, utterly confutes it. I am going to refer to the case of the Australian troops in the last War. I know the right hon. Gentleman objects to this being mentioned. For some reason or other, he thinks it may cause bad blood between this country and Australia. I cannot see how it could do that, and, in any case, in justice to the ordinary British soldier, I say this fact ought to be brought out and emphasised.
The plain fact is that the Australian Government, although it sent many thousands of gallant men to fight in the War, and although those men fought with unexampled gallantry and determination, laid it don n definitely and emphatically that under no consideration, for the offences with which I am concerned this afternoon, was the death penalty to be applied to any Australian soldier. And it never was applied to an Australian soldier for these offences. It was applied to lots of British soldiers, Scotsmen, Welshmen, Irishmen, and it was applied to Canadians. It was applied even to New Zealanders, but never once was it applied to the Australian troops. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to-day, as I asked him last year, whether he can say that the absence of this sanction, as far as the Australian troops were concerned, had any material effect upon the fighting quality of those troops? Did they fight with less determination, with less courage than the other troops who had this penalty imposed upon them? If the Australian troops may be entrusted, and can be entrusted, to fight with courage and determination without this penalty, is the right hon. Gentleman going to get up here and say that the Australian troops may be entrusted in this way but British troops—English troops, Welsh troops, Scottish troops, and Irish troops—are not to be so entrusted? I defy him, I dare him to get up in this Committee this afternoon and say that.
1237 I am not proposing to delay the Committee any longer, but I hope, if not this year, then in years to come, we shall he able to induce this British House of Commons to take a changed view of this great human question. In the past, Members of this House who have voted this penalty into law, and, indeed, the Members of this House to-day who are likely to vote it into law, are those who, in the main, do not know what the strain of modern warfare is, and can have no real conception of that strain. Those hon. Members do not know how they themselves would stand the strain of an intensive bombardment of three, lour, or five days. They do not know how they themselves would behave if they were called upon to advance across No-man's land in the teeth of heavy shell fire and a barrage of machine guns. They do not know, they do not understand these things, and I challenge their right to pass the penalty of death, irrevocable, ignominious death, upon any British soldier, whose only crime is that he has shown weakness in a very hard test. I appeal to those Members who do not know what war is, and I appeal to the whole Committee on grounds of humanity, on grounds of elementary human justice, to say that the time has now come when this unnecessary and barbarous penalty should be finally abolished.
§ Mr. R. MORRISON
I rise to support the Clause moved so eloquently by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle), and, in doing so, I wish to point out to the Committee how difficult it is, in the security and comfort of this CI amber, to get the correct atmosphere to discuss a question of this sort. It seems to me that it is tremendously difficult for us to discuss, or to come to a decision of this sort, sitting here in comfort, as we are this afternoon. This seems to me to be one of those questions which ought to be decided at a special meeting of the Cabinet held in the front line. If the question came up for decision there, I have not much doubt as to what the decision would be. Last year when we had a Debate on this subject, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, who, I presume, is going to reply to-night, in summing up the Debate at the close of the discussion, said:The case which, I think, has most impressed the Committee is the very serious 1238 and difficult question: Is there ever, or is there likely to be, a miscarriage of justice? Is it probable that a man will he punished, not for cowardice, but because his nerves have been broken." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st April, 1925; col. 1388, Vol. 182.]He went on to point out, that in the last War, in which from 6,000,000 to 7,000,000 of our soldiers were engaged, only from 200 to 300—I think the number usually agreed upon is 264—were executed, and he pointed out that of those who were sentenced to death, only 11 per cent. of the death sentences were allowed to stand. Surely that destroys completely the argument that if the death sentence be abolished, the Army will go to pieces. One of the arguments put forward is that we abolish this death sentence the Army will go to the dogs; it will be impossible to maintain discipline. Surely the fact that only 11 per cent. of the death sentences were carried out, in the last War completely destroys Mat argument. Exactly the same argument will be used this afternoon for the retention of the death penalty in this ca-se as was used many years ago at a time when it was legal to flog soldiers in the Army. Flogging was abolished, and after flogging there came Field Punishment No. 1, commonly known among the soldiers as crucifixion. At last there came a time when that was abolished, too.
My hon. Friend the Member for Shore-ditch, in his concluding sentences, seemed to indicate he had not much hope that the Clause would be carried this afternoon, and I am bound to say I agree with him. But, sooner or later—and sooner, I hope, rather than later—just in the same way as flogging in the Army was abolished, and Field Punishment No. 1 was abolished, this House will decide to abolish the death penalty in the Army. Our case is, that we deny that the foundation of discipline is the fear of punishment. It may be said,"Yes, but what about men deserting from their posts? Surely that is a serious matter involving, probably, heavy loss of life?" There have been occasions when even generals have been guilty of mistakes by which thousands of lives have been thrown away. What has happened to them? Were any of those generals ever put up against the wall and shot? I think it is in the memory of many Members of this House that, so far from those generals who made such tremendous mistakes having 1239 been shot, many of them are still swanking about with their breasts covered in war medals and decorations. We on this side challenge the argument that men must be overcome by terror of this penalty in order to overcome the terror of battle. If it be true that men will never go into battle except for fear of the death penalty, what becomes of all our rhetoric, which is particularly prominent in war-time, about love of country and heroism? Is the code of the. Army to be based on the assumption that men can only go into battle because of the fear of execution if they do not go?
I should like to ask a question, the answer to which, it seems to me, would provide some very useful information to Members in discussing a question of this sort. I mentioned that the figure of from 200 to 300 men is usually given as the number of men who were executed in the last War. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he could give the Committee any information as to the proportion of these men who were regular soldiers, the proportion who volunteered—that is to say, Territorials, or those enlisted under the Derby scheme—and the proportion of conscripts. It seems to me that if we could get the number in each of these three categories, regular soldiers, volunteers and conscripts, we should have some very valuable information that would probably enable us on this side considerably to strengthen our case. The answer to that question has a direct bearing on this subject. My hon. Friend raised the question of a man on sentry duty falling asleep at his post. I have seen Cabinet Ministers sleeping at their posts with disastrous effects to the people of this country. Surely nobody is going to suggest that Cabinet Ministers should be taken into Palace Yard and shot down by 12 of their colleagues in the Cabinet?
We have to consider the question of what is cowardice. That was the question my hon. Friend put to the Committee. I might have put it in a slightly revised form. What is the difference between the Tommy who voluntarily joins the Army, and, after a gruelling time in the trenches, loses his nerve and deserts, and the man who funks from the beginning, and, with 1240 the aid of friends, dodges the Army or serves for the duration of the War on the home front, then flaunts his military titles, and sometimes becomes a Member of Parliament, and we are expected to address him as"the hon. and gallant Gentleman "? The question is whether the difference between these two categories is worthy of consideration, and that was why I tried to tempt the right hon. Gentleman a few moments ago to give us the figures as to how many of those who were shot were regular time-serving soldiers or volunteers.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)
I have not got the figures.
§ Mr. MORRISON
I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the whole of the 264 were not conscripts probably a considerable number were volunteers. If that were so, the very fact that they volunteered to go into the Army proved that there was not very much cowardice about them. The question is what is a coward? In the course of the debate on this subject last year I made a remark, which I repeat again, that a man may be a coward in the morning and a hero at night. The definition, I suppose, of a coward would be one who is afraid of danger. If that be so, surely in the War the Tubes were full of cowards. The point that we tried to make on this side is that there is, no such thing as real cowardice unconnected with mental and physical breakdown. The argument, then, that is put up to us is that the retention of the death penalty, by imposing the fear of death, may prevent mental breakdown. We can only say we do not believe it. Those of us who have seen modern warfare, wonder that mental breakdown did not take place on a much larger scale than it did.
My hon. Friend the Member for Shore-ditch gave one or two instances and he was interrupted by an hon. Gentleman who said"sob stuff." I hope no one will say"sob stuff"to what I am going to say, because it is quite a pleasant story, showing that there is a very fine line between heroism and cowardice. On the left of Arras, when I was over there, this story was told to me by a sergeant. He and 10 men were cut off in a certain place which was little more than a shell-hole. Six of the men were killed and he was left with only four besides himself. 1241 They remained in that place two days and two nights with a tremendous German barrage behind them that prevented anyone being sent to their relief. At the end of two days and nights they were almost beyond endurance. The sergeant talked it over with his men and made up his mind that the best thing they could do was to wait until the light began to fail and crawl forward and give themselves up to the first Germans they met. When the light had began to fail, the five men set out, weary, sick and hungry, to surrender because they had no hope of relief and no ammunition and could not fight. Before they had gone far, to their astonishment, on going round the corner of a trench they met a German N.C.O. and six men with him. Both of the little parties held up their hands at the same time. The German N.C.O. could speak English a little, and they had a conversation which was on the lines as to whether the Germans would come back with the British Tommies and surrender to them, or whether the British Tommies should surrender to the Germans. Was it the more probable that they would get back to the British lines in safety or to the German lines? After all, self-preservation is a very important factor in such circumstances. As a result of the information that the, German N.C.O. gave to the British sergeant, the Germans decided to go with the British Tommies. They came back with the British soldiers for five or six hours longer to the shell-hole, and in the middle of the night the German barrage suddenly ceased, within an hour relief was sent up, and the sergeant and his four men gallantly came out of their place of retreat with seven German prisoners. He was decorated for his gallantry.
The point of view from which I have put that forward is to show that there is a very fine line between heroism and cowardice; both on occasions may be and frequently are merely self-preservation. The Committee may not adopt this Clause to-day; we do not expect that they will. But I would remind them, as I have already said, that crucifixion was abolished, in spite of all the protests and moanings of fire-side Generals and arm-chair Colonels. These are always the people who are anxious about the discipline of the Army—the people who believe 1242 that discipline can only be maintained by putting the fear of death into the lower orders. Crucifixion was abolished in spite of their opposition, and I submit that the discipline of the British Army has not suffered in consequence. Even the most fire-eating member on the other side would not propose that we should go back to crucifixion or flogging in the Army, although time after time the Members who were then in this House voted against the abolition of both. Now that they have been abolished, we have seen no serious consequences upon the discipline of the Army. In my opinion, whether this Amendment is embodied in the Army Act on this occasion or not, the time will come, sooner, I think, rather than later, when it will be so embodied, and it will be to the good of the Army.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Captain Douglas King)
This Clause, as the Mover has said, has been moved on previous occasions, and I submit that nothing really new has been said this afternoon which we have not heard on previous occasions. The hon. Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) opened his remarks by an attack on the Committee which was set up two years ago to consider this question. I am rather surprised he should attack the formation of that Committee, because he knows that it was set up by his own party when they were in office. It was set up by the Socialist Secretary of State for War after a promise made during a discussion on the Army (Annual) Bill. That Committee, although it certainly was composed of many naval and military members, had for its Chairman a member of his party. The hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson), who was my predecessor in office, served on that Committee, and I only relieved him as Chairman during the last few sittings it held. I do not think it speaks very well for the hon. Member's faith in his own party that he can so severely criticise a Committee which they set up.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
We do not fear to criticise our own. That is the difference between the two sides of the House.
§ Captain KING
The hon. Member for Shoreditch had an opportunity, of which he availed himself, of bringing evidence before that Committee. I believe he gave his experiences and made a statement, but 1243 in spite of the evidence which he gave, and the views he expressed, the Committee came to the considered conclusion that no case for the abolition of the penalty had been substantiated.
§ Captain KING
The jury was appointed by a Socialist Government, and I do not think it can fairly be said that it was a packed one. That it was mostly composed of men who knew what discipline in warfare meant, I quite agree. They certainly knew the necessity for this penalty, and it was for that reason and because of their knowledge of warfare that they were appointed. The Member for Chester-le-Street is certainly a man strong enough in character to see that every point that could be brought before the Committee was brought up. I will not stress the point beyond the fact that the Committee did consider very carefully the various points. First of all, they decided that no case of miscarriage of justice had been substantiated before them in the evidence given. Both hon. Members who have spoken have not spoken of what is suggested as a substitute for the death penalty, but the Amendment puts forward that it should be penal servitude or imprisonment for practically every one of the offences.
I should say that, although death is the penalty for various of these offences, it is only death or such less punishment as may be awarded. It dots not follow, though the death penalty can he awarded, that it is awarded. It is only the maximum penalty. All death sentences are reviewed by the Commanderin-Chief—they were so reviewed during the War—and he has a power to reduce the sentence, but he has no power to increase the sentence. As the Committee pointed out, and so did Lord Darling's Committee which sat previously, only 11 per cent. of the death sentences passed during the late War were actually put into effect. That means that the Commander-in-Chief, after reviewing the cases, reduced 89 per cent. of the sentences. The question of inflicting penal servitude or imprisonment in certain cases was considered by the Committee, and it was realised that it would not really be effective. I differ from 1244 both the hon. Members who have spoken in their opinion that the majority of men have the quality of bravery, and that it was the unfortunate few who suffered fear. Personally, my experience was quite different. In my view, certainly 999 out of 1,000 officers and men who served in the last War knew fear. After three years overseas' experience during the last War, I can count on the fingers of my two hands, less than ten men whom I believe to be without fear. In my view, practically every man knew fear, and the only difference between them was to what extent they could control their fear. That is not a definition. I only point it out with regard to the power of control over fear. There, a man had to exercise his will power and self-restraint. I do not consider it is just to the men of this country to suggest that they were driven into battle by the fear of the death penalty or anything else. Thank heaven, the qualities of the British race are better than that! There was no need to stiffen their will power.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Why was it that when every draft of troops landed in France, the first thing that happened to them was that they were paraded, and a number of cases in which the death sentence had been inflicted was read out to them?
§ Captain KING
I think it was only fair and right that they should be warned as to the effect of any failure of their will power. With regard to their control, it is a question of self-control. Some men have it to a greater extent than others. In those who have it least it was proved that there was the necessity that a final fillip should be given to their will power by the knowledge that, if their will power was not sufficient, they could be punished and, if necessary, sentenced to death. It was a deterrent from treachery and other offences under the Act. It is not considered that penal servitude or imprisonment would form an adequate substitute to such an expedient. If a man is to be allowed to lose his self-control and give way to his fear, surely a sentence of penal servitude behind the lines and in safety is not going to be a deterrent.
§ Mr. MORRISON
Did it not frequently happen in the late War that men sentenced to penal servitude had to undertake dangerous duty and, if they did it successfully, their sentence was reduced.
§ Captain KING
That was possible. The hon. Member is thinking of sentences of death that were remitted to penal servitude, and the men may have been allowed to go back to the lines They had the deterrent already by having been tried by court-martial and a sentence inflicted. The view of the Disciplinary Committee was that it would be quite impossible to enforce discipline if the death penalty was done away with. It would really mean that if a man were allowed to remain with his unit without any power of inflicting the death penalty, it would be a bad example to those men who would realise that the powers were not adequate. That would be bad for discipline. On the other hand, the Committee considered that it would be quite possible that his comrades might take the law into their own hands and shoot him themselves. That would be very undesirable.
§ Captain KING
I do not agree in the slightest. I know a case, in my own experience, of a non-commissioned officer trying to shoot a man with his own hands. He confessed it to me afterwards. Nothing happened because when he told me it was after the War. There have been other instances of men trying to take the law into their own hands where they thought justice could not be done. The Committee were, a majority of them, officers and fighting men. They considered that there was a strong possibility that, if the law was not adequate to deal with those offences, the men, their comrades, might take the law into their own hands and deal with them themselves. That would be most undesirable. On the question of cowardice and the control these men may have of their own feelings, what we have to remember is that it is not merely themselves—they must not be allowed merely to exercise their selfish desire to get into safety, but in practically every one of these cases it is not merely the man himself being selfish but he is running the risk of sacrificing the lives of every one 1246 of his comrades. That is the most serious result of his action. If he shows cowardice or is asleep on sentry-go, he is certainly endangering the lives of his own comrades. The hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) said that many Cabinet Ministers have gone to sleep on this Bench. Though a Cabinet Minister may sleep on duty he is not endangering the lives of his comrades, who will see that he wakes up in time.
I am not going to be drawn into the question that the hon. Member for Shore-ditch (Mr. Thurtle) tried to bring up again with regard to the Australian troops. I would point out to him that every one of the great Powers that had large armies in the field in the Great War had the death penalty, therefore we are not alone in considering the necessity for retaining it. All these arguments have been gone through before, and, as the hon. Member for Shoreditch said, he knows the reply pretty well. On the result of the Committee set up to consider the death sentence and other penalties, the War Office is convinced that it is necessary to retain this power of inflicting the death penalty, though it is to be hoped that it will always be carried out under careful supervision. When you realise the small number of sentences carried into effect out of the convictions in the last War, we need have no fear for the future, and I shall certainly ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I want to support the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle). We can all appreciate the manner in which the matter has been dealt with by the Under-Secretary. I think it is a sign of the great advance we have made on the whole question of the psychology of the soldier since the late War. Ten or 12 years ago such a question would have been discussed in a sort of back-of-the-war manner, in which people were all cowards or heroes. We have to consider, first, whether it is a fact that the existence of the death penalty is a deterrent; secondly, whether, if people do commit these various acts, they are worthy of being punished by death. I am extraordinarily doubtful, despite all the evidence of distinguished generals on the question, whether the existence of the death penalty is a deterrent to cowardice. You will always find that the older a 1247 general is, the more sure he is that the conditions which existed when he was young are right. I have read the Debates on the flogging question, and the numbers of distinguished generals and admirals who said we must have it. They managed to keep on flogging for many years, but there is no question of its re-introduction, and I think we are rather ashamed that it lasted so long. The only argument I have seen is that the Army consisted of more or less the dregs of the people, and you could only carry through such exploits as the retreat to Corunna by flogging. No one suggests that of the present-day soldier. If it be true of flogging, it is also true of the death penalty.
I think the failure of courage is a thing that occurs on a sudden and the man is not in a position to weigh up arguments on either side and say,"If I go forward, I shall be blown to pieces; and if I go back, I shall be shot." I do not think the reasoning mind is functioning at the time and it is purely a matter of nerves and the more we understand of the psychology of the man the more difficult it is to imagine a person on the verge of a breakdown taking these things into consideration. It depends very largely on the other persons with whom that man is serving as to what is done with him—what kind of non-commissioned officer and what kind of officer he is under—whether he is sent back at the right time when his nerves are absolutely gone, or whether they disregard his complaint and he goes on and his offence occurs at a time when an example is required and he is shot. In the"Army Quarterly," a story is told by the late Chief of the General Staff with regard to Sir Francis Lloyd. It is a story of his courage in the late South African War. He came out of hospital and joined his regiment, on trek, after coming under fire before an action rode to his second in command and said he was not fit to go into action as his nerves were not under control and he must go back to hospital. It was a very plucky thing to do. But suppose that the same thing had happened to a man of the rank and file who does not express himself very well. Supposing he came up to the sergeant-major, who probably does express himself very well, and said,"My nerves have given way." What would the sergeant-major have said? We know what he 1248 would have done, unless he happened to have been a very exceptional sergeant-major.
In a case like that which I have mentioned, the next thing would be that the man would have a breakdown, and not even the knowledge of a death penalty in the background would prevent a man of that kind from breaking down. In this case the man might be shot although it was obvious that his nerves had gone, and he was not in a position to know what would have happened to him if he had gone forward or if he had not. The death penalty is not a deterrent, but a failure to recognise the psychology of men under modern conditions. The idea of a death penalty is a sort of cheap substitute for real discipline. I have already mentioned psychological cases where men's nerves have broken down. It is argued that there is a danger, unless you have the death penalty in the background, of a general breakdown of discipline. In my view, if there is a general breakdown of that kind the person responsible for it is the commander. The efficiency of the discipline of different units is solely a matter as to how those units have been looked after and led by their officers and non-commissioned officers. There have been cases where men have been punished in this way, when the real person who ought to have been punished was the colonel, the captain, or the sergeant. The idea that you can drive men into battle by fear from behind is utterly illusory, and the only real discipline is one founded upon esprit de corps. If I were in command of a number of men, I would not like to have a lot of them kept in my front line by fear of what might happen if they failed.
On the other hand, it is argued that if we substitute penal servitude, we shall have numbers of men going back to get out of the front line, to enjoy the comparative ease of imprisonment. To those who know the conditions as they obtained during the War to call it"the ease of imprisonment," sounds a curious phrase. I do not believe that is so. It might occur in certain units, but they would be bad units. The way to deal with it is not through individuals, but through the commanders. At any rate, that has been my experience. I know it is possible to give suspended sentences, and I agree that you have a far better chance if a man has a suspended 1249 sentence when he is left in the unit, because there is a feeling of sympathy with that man, and very often he is able to get himself reinstated. That is my experience of a man who had committed most of the offences in the calendar, because under a suspended sentence he had a chance of doing something for himself. Everyone gave him a chance, and in six weeks' time he got all his sentence removed because he was treated sympathetically. It is true that man ought never to have been in the Army. but, nevertheless, he might have been shot before the end of the War if he had not been tactfully handled by his comrades.
I do not suggest that there have been many cases of a miscarriage of justice, but there has been a possibility of them. I have served on many courts-martial, and am not impressed by the ability of the ordinary officer to appreciate evidence. Apart from that, there is something else in regard to the death sentence in that it is very capricious, and depends largely on the attitude of mind of the Commander-in-Chief in that particular theatre of war. Of course, there are Generals and Generals. I will not particularise them by name, but we all know some Generals who are of what you call the strafing type and the more humane type, and it just depends before which type of General a man comes as to what happens to him. Let us remember that in this country the death penalty was instituted at a time when the Army was supposed to be a voluntary one. Then a man joining the Army knew he was undertaking a certain service, and might be presumed to have sonic idea that he was qualified to perform service in the Army. During the late War you had masses of the population driven into the Army who were absolutely unfit for service. They were excellent people in their own sphere of life, but they had not the necessary nerves to fit them to undergo the trials of modern warfare. It is unfair to compel people of that kind to join the Army. I know we have once more a voluntary system, but if war came on a large scale compulsion would be introduced, but we should not compel men to take up work for which they are not fitted and then, when they fail, condemn them to death. The time has now come 1250 when we can quite safely do away with the death penalty, and I do not believe that if we do away with this penalty we shall wreck the discipline of the Army. On the contrary, I think that discipline will improve, because the mere fact that you have not got this fallacious incentive to discipline in the background will lead everyone who wants make the Army effective develop to the full the real springs of esprit de corps and the mutual trust of officers and men.
§ Major HILLS
I have listened to many Debates on the death penalty, but have never heard one in which the ease was better stated or in which the argument seemed to me to go deeper. I want in particular to say a word of commendation in regard to the speech of the Financial Secretary to the War Office. I do not suppose anybody likes the death penalty, and if we could abolish it, I am sure we should all go home happier. During my experience in the War I never had a man court-martialled for cowardice, and though, like the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Mr. Attlee), I presided at many courts-martial, I never sentenced a man to death. Previous speakers have tried to give a definition of fear. May I give, my own? I went to the War from a life of peace. To risk my life in war was quite a novel thing for me, because I was not a soldier. As a rule, when one comes under fire, the first thing one feels is to be afraid of showing cowardice. But afterwards nearly everyone discovers that war is not so very dreadful after all. Of course there are always a few people who are always frightened and really frightened, whose nerves nothing could steady, but these were eases of an exceptional character, and war affected them in a certain way. I believe the truth is this, that we are all of us afraid of something. I know I am. I am afraid of looking clown from heights. Supposing the Germans had been entrenched at the top of a steeple, and I had been ordered to climb up and fight them. In those circumstances, I am afraid I should have been shot for cowardice. It is true, however, that this fear in most cases does not break down men's self-control and it does not affect the ordinary man. In a good unit the level of courage is extraordinarily high, but I would like to ask, do you make them braver by inflicting the death penalty? I can conceive two eases in which it might. 1251 It has been said that a man who commits an act of cowardice is not in a position to reason, but I think there is some subconscious deterrent in the fact that he has been told that if he is a coward he will be shot. Again, it might be the case that, if you had an army which had lost all sense of discipline and self-respect, there might be some advantage in having the death penalty. But I am very doubtful about its value in the case of a modern army, for this reason. The armies that went to France and elsewhere abroad were armies that had easier systems of discipline than previous British armies, for the death penalty was inflicted in comparatively few cases, and the general standard of strictness was less than in former British armies; and yet the performance of our armies in France and elsewhere in 1914 and afterwards was as high as any in British annals. I remember reading in Napier's Peninsular War the statement that, when a regiment had lost 10 per cent. of its effectives, that regiment was finished. If, however, you took in a battalion of 500 men, you might lose 50 men in taking up your position for an attack, but who thought of going back? In the late War a battalion would lose half its effectives and still go on. Either the present generation is braver than the generation that fought in the Peninsula, or modern war is less terrible than the old wars. One of these two facts must be true—I do not know which—but I think it may be argued that severity of discipline does not always lead to courage.
It has been said that if you do not inflict the death penalty, but send a man back, and if he knows he is going back, he prefers prison to the trenches. I expect he would. But supposing a man is a coward, and wants to get back from the front line, he can usually do so. First of all, he can always go to the medical officer and say he has a pain in his stomach. He may have that pain or he may not, but the man is a nuisance, he is no good to his fellows, and his commanding officer is very glad to get rid of him, so in the end that man does get back. There is therefore, a means of escape now, and although, of course, getting back to a nice hospital or nursing home in England, or behind the lines in France, is pleasanter than getting back to penal servitude, still it is the same story.
1252 I am beginning to become rather doubtful whether the death penalty is required. I would nut abolish it, perhaps, altogether, but I do feel that my own views regarding it have changed, and I think we are approaching the Lime when, just as flogging was abolished, so the death penalty also can be abolished. After all, each country forms its army and inspires its army with the spirit that it thinks best. We find it best that officers should lead their men, but I believe the Germans found it best that they should drive them into battle at the point of the revolver, and a good deal can be said for both systems. Our system, however, has never been the German system; it; has always been the system of leadership. It is not an ideal system; it is very expensive in officers, and especially in young officers; but still, I do not suppose that anyone sitting in this Chamber would want to challenge it. When you have that spirit, when you see the way in which men followed and led in the War, when you see how rare the cases of nerve failure were, and how, in most of them, there was something that distinguished that particular man from the normal, I think the time is coming when this penalty may be abolished.
§ Colonel APPLIN
I have only intervened in this Debate because no regular soldier has given the views of the Army, and I think we have rather lost sight of the real reason why the death penalty is imposed. We have rather lost sight of the fact that you cannot ask men to go to certain death unless they know that, if any man, to save his own skin, is prepared to stay behind and let others go to what he thinks is certain death, he in turn will suffer death for his cowardice. That is the real reason why we impose the death penalty. It is not done to punish the unfortunate man whose nerve goes. We all know what that means. I know that I myself, not once but a hundred times, have been so frightened of what was going on that, had I not been more frightened of what would happen if I did not go on, I should have gone back. I am not alluding to the death penalty; there is something even stronger than the death penalty.
I should like to remind the Committee that probably the bravest fighting nation in the whole world are the old Zulus of 1253 Africa. Any officer who has fought in Africa knows that there are no more gallant and brave men in the whole world. And yet, in the Zulu army, where it is an honour to go forward and die, and there is no such thing, so far as I know, as cowardice, they have the death penalty, not only for cowardice, but for sleeping on post. The death penalty takes place immediately. A man who has been found sleeping on his post is brought before his chief; the chief turns to the indaba and says"What is the penalty? "and the reply is "Death"; and a man steps forward with his spear and puts it through him then and there. That is not done out of revenge or as a punishment; it is done because that man was endangering his comrades; he was risking the lives of hundreds of his brother fighters. That is why the death penalty is imposed for sleeping on post. Those who have taken part, as I have, in small frontier wars, knew that the safety of the small force you may be with depends entirely upon the vigilance of one or two men, and, unless you can depend upon their keeping awake, your life and the lives of your men are endangered and will be sacrificed. It is, therefore, necessary to have a penalty equal to the sacrifice. If you are going to lose 20 or 30 men because one man goes to sleep, it is only just that that man, if he has gone to sleep, should forfeit his life for risking the lives of others. The hon. Member for North Tottenham (Mr. R. Morrison) has, I think, some difficulty in defining cowardice, and the question of cowardice does come in here, because it is mentioned in the Act. In this case, I think we may define a coward as a man who is willing to save his own life by sacrificing the lives of his comrades, and that, surely, is worthy of the extreme penalty of the law.
Finally, I want to say one word with regard to what was said by the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), who spoke of the late General Sir Francis Lloyd in connection with an incident that occurred in South Africa. I think the Committee may perhaps have got a wrong impression of what the hon. Gentleman said. I should like to point out that Sir Francis Lloyd was suffering from a wound of such a peculiar nature that he was incapacitated from doing his duty, and it was, as the Committee will remember, from this wound that he finally died 30 years afterwards. I want to point out 1254 the difference between Sir Francis Lloyd's action and the action of the hypothetical private soldier who goes to the surgeon and says,"Please, I am not feeling well; I cannot go on." Sir Francis Lloyd was in command of his regiment, with the lives of a thousand men depending upon his nerve, his judgment, his power of taking command; and it was for the sake of those thousand men that lie said,"My nerve is not sufficient to enable me to do my duty in the way that I ought, and, therefore, I will retire again to the hospital." It was a brave act, and a necessary act, and I think the Committee ought to understand why it was done. I myself feel that if it were possible to abolish the death penalty I would abolish it, but I know, as a soldier, and everyone who is or has been a soldier or sailor, or has served in any of His Majesty's Forces, knows perfectly well that, so long as men are men, it is impossible to ask men to face certain death unless they know that their comrade on either side of them is going to face death with them, and to share in what they are going to share; and if any man, for any reason whatsoever, deliberately saves his own skin and allows his brother to go to death, it is only right that he also should be liable to forfeit his life.
Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
The hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken asked us to emulate the Zulu standard. I suggest that we should emulate the standard of the Australians. Surely there are no braver fighters, no more loyal comrades than the Australian troops, and yet they were distinguished, as we have been told already, by the abolition in their case of the death penalty. The arguments that have been used this afternoon in favour of continuing the death penalty are of the same style as those that were used in previous debates in favour of continuing flogging or Field Punishment No. 1. Just in the same way as discipline in the Army survived the abolition of flogging and of Field Punishment No. 1, so discipline in the Army will survive the abolition of the death penalty for the minor offences—because this Clause does not seek to abolish the death penalty entirely, as has been suggested.
Reference has been made to the attitude of the troops, and the Financial 1255 Secretary has suggested that if this penalty were done away with there would be a danger of troops taking the law into their own hands and wreaking vengeance on those who might seek to escape. I can only speak from the short experience I gained when I was privileged to serve in the ranks for two years overseas, and, from what I knew of the minds of ordinary soldiers in the ranks, I do not think there would be any danger of anything of that sort happening. What I gathered was that there was a general feeling of disgust and abhorrence at the infliction of the death penalty as read out in General Orders. I wish briefly to support the eloquent speeches which have been made from both sides of the Committee in favour of the abolition of this barbarous survival of an ancient custom. Surely, we must realise that we are advancing, that we understand better the psychology of men than they did in ancient times, and that the time has come when, without sacrificing the discipline of the Army, we can safely abolish the death penalty.
§ Mr. GERALD HURST
I am inclined to agree with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) that the time may not have arrived when the death penalty in time of war may be completely abolished. But I think the time has arrived when the Government might open its mind and consider the question of reducing the chances of the infliction of the death penalty to a minimum. I am not impressed by the fact that Army opinion at the present time is against the change. Army opinion has been against all such changes. Before the abolition of flogging, it was the custom to maintain discipline at the cost of sentences like 1,000 or 500 lashes, which were everyday occurrences, and if the question had been put to the Army in those days whether or no discipline could be maintained without these savage punishments, the answer would have been that it could not be maintained without them. I have no doubt that that, in addition to being the view of the officers, was probably the view also of the great majority of the rank and file in the Army. It was the same with regard to Field Punishment No. 1. When, after the War, this question was raised in the 1919 Parliament, we were told that the abolition of Field Punishment No. 1 was quite impossible. 1256 I remember it well, because I made my maiden speech on the subject of its abolition. We were told then and in subsequent years that it was quite impossible. Field Punishment No. I must be retained. Yet two or three years ago the Government abolished it and it made no difference whatever. I do not think in a question like this which deals with the infliction of the death penalty not in time of peace, when we have a professional Army, but in time of war when we shall certainly have a national Army again, the opinion of professional experts carries the same weight that it would if this referred to times of peace only. It is so very easy to understand professional opinion. It is very different from the non-professional opinion which counts with regard to the service of a national Army in time of war. I have no doubt if a regimental sergeant-major went into a barrack room and said,"All men in favour of abolishing the death penalty take one step forward, quick march," he would have a very small response indeed. That is not the way to test the rights or wrongs of a question.
With regard to the infliction of the death penalty in time of war there are two things that we ought always to bear in mind. First of all, this is one of the very few things where mens rea, criminal intent—intent to commit an offence—is not considered, or is considered in the merest secondary degree, in deciding whether or not a man is guilty of sleeping at his post, or whether or not a man is guilty of conduct which appears to suggest cowardice. Both those questions are questions of fact, and the intention or the state of mind of the person who is guilty of it is quite of secondary importance. We know so much about psychology nowadays that we know that a very brave man may be guilty of apparent cowardice. Men's minds are quite unhinged if they have to stand a bombardment for many hours or days at a stretch. I should think most men who served in the War probably found their voices quaking or their hands trembling, without any conscious cowardice on their part and without being cowards in any way at all, and a man may, therefore, do things at a time when he is more or less distraught, from which any intention of committing a crime against a fellow soldier is absent altogether. In the same 1257 way with regard to sleeping at his post, a man may be so exhausted after two or three days' work under terrible conditions, without any sleep, that he may fail asleep simply overwhelmed by his physical condition without any intention to commit negligence at all. The difficulty in this case is that the Court mast find it enormously difficult to discriminate when the offences appear to be identical, whether the man has committed the offence out of negligence or, on the contrary, without any volition on his part. That is why I think the infliction of the death penalty ought to be very slowly sanctioned by the House in cases of that sort.
A second fact which I think we are apt to neglect in our minds when we are dealing with this question is that very many men serve in the Army at great sacrifice to themselves. I always thought it was a dreadful thing to see severe sentences from time to time passed upon men who perhaps came to serve in the War right across the world, from some far distant Colony, giving up all their prospects. Severe sentences might be passed on them while"gentlemen in England now abed"might be making fame and fortune and living in luxury at home. You cannot neglect that side of the question. We ought to consider whether there is sufficient protection against an abuse of this punishment at present. The main protection, we are told, is that first of all the general officer commanding would go into the circumstances and would relieve the punishment in cases where he considered a man had been hardly dealt with. My experiences in the Army were exactly the contrary. I remember defending certain soldiers from a charge of falling asleep at their post. This was in the East. I was the friend of these men and I helped to obtain their acquittal. What happened? All the field officers of my division were called together and were told by the General Officer Commanding that they were not to defend soldiers any more at a court-martial. That shows that you cannot universally rely upon general officers commanding to give the benefit of the doubt. It is extremely hard for a general, with the best intentions in the world, really to understand the circumstances of every particular case. He only knows the bare facts. He does not see the man. He hears that he 1258 has fallen asleep at his post, and he is told it might have endangered the lives of other men.
It is, of course, a very grave offence, but it is impossible for an officer who has not heard the evidence, who has not seen the accused person, who does not know the conditions under which the soldier had been living, really to put himself in the position of that man. The position of a General Officer commanding, who has simply read the papers, is very different from that of a Judge who tries a criminal at the Assizes, because the Judge sees everyone and knows everything, and the General, naturally, has to depend entirely on hearsay. If that is the case with the General Officer who looks over the papers, it is still more the case with the Judge-Advocate-General. The work of the Judge-Advocate-General is, no doubt, admirably done, but I imagine he would not quash a conviction if the evidence were good in law, and if there were no recommendation for mercy from any of the officers through whose hands the papers had passed. That is not his function at all. The power of discrimination between those cases where a man's fault is due to his own volition and where it is due to circumstances of war over which he has no control, is not possessed by the Judge-Advocate-General nor by the General Officer in Command. If that is so, we are faced with what is really, I suppose, the main issue on this Amendment, whether or no the death penalty is necessary to deter a man from the commission of the military offence with which he is charged. I believe, in 999 cases out of 1,000, the sense of duty is a greater deterrent than the fear of capital punishment. I do not think the fear of punishment is not a deterrent. It is a. deterrent, and it should be. But, after all, it is only in one case in 1,000 that the fear of capital punishment is a main deterrent.
It has been pointed out that it is purely capricious. The same offence in one theatre of war may be passed over with a slight sentence while it receives the heaviest possible sentence in another theatre of war. The offences may be the same but there may be a greater feeling towards mercy in one ease and, in the other, towards the enforcement of supreme discipline. In not one case in 1,000 is the death penalty as great a 1259 deterrent as the sense of duty and discipline which are instilled into the soldier from the day he first joins the Army. Moral is the real basis of discipline, the real basis of the soldier's character, and moral is not built by the fear of the death penalty. I believe the time will come when we shall regard the survival of this form of punishment as barbaric and unnecessary. There is no hurry in this question, because the Amendment can only refer to war time. There is no death penalty, I understand, for this offence in time of peace. But I think the time has arrived when the Government might give an undertaking once more to reconsider this question with a view to setting our house in order in the light of modern conditions of warfare, modern knowledge of men's character, and the modern fact that in wartime the whole nation—civilians totally untrained to the rigours of professional war—are imported into the Army, and to realise that it is no longer possible to hold out expert professional military opinion as the supreme oracle in these cases. I think the time has now arrived when a new oracle should take its place.
§ Mr. VIANT
This Debate has been an exceedingly useful one, and one which portends great hope in the direction in which the Amendment undoubtedly will lead. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) said he believed each and all of us have certain fears, and I think he is right. One need not have experience of the battlefield. One can gain that experience in the pursuit of ordinary industry. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to his fear of great heights. Following the occupation I have been accustomed to follow for the greater part of my life, I can reinforce his statements. Some men could not possibly go to a great height. Their nerves would not permit them to do it, It is a psychological condition. The same thing must obtain upon a battlefield, not because those men are worse than others, but simply because their psychological condition will not permit them to enter into that experience, and because of that, for the penalty of death to be imposed upon them is grossly unfair and unjust. It is quite inhumane. The Financial Secretary to the War Office 1260 laid great stress upon the findings of the Committee that recently considered discipline in the Army. I have no desire to under-rate the Committee's services, but the majority of them were connected in some way or other with the Army. They had had exceptional experience in the Army, but they brought with them into that Committee the psychology of the Army, and that psychological atmosphere that they brought with them coloured the whole of their findings beyond a shadow of doubt.
I feel that this Debate, and our ability to consider this subject in a detached manner, is more likely to lead to advantageous findings than the findings of that Committee, and we ought all the time and every time to, be prepared to take into consideration that this is undoubtedly a psychological factor. We cannot hope, even although a regiment might embark overseas and be about to go into an engagement, to make nervous men brave by reading out penalties to them. The only way we are going to enable men to become comfortable and to become prepared to make sacrifices for a cause is to have a just cause, and to instruct them in the principles that are involved and the issues in which we are engaged in the war, and in doing that you are taking steps which will enable men, even against themselves, to brace themselves up and be prepared to make, as it were, the supreme sacrifice if need be, But we can never hope by imposing penalties to enable men to brace their nerves up to make the sacrifice required. I trust that this Debate, which has been so hopeful, will be a means of the Secretary of State for War being prepared to give more consideration to this question than has been given in the past.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I wish to draw attention to one or two points which seem to me to have been overstated by those in favour of the Amendment. I agree absolutely with what has been said as to what is the real thing that brings discipline to an Army. It is, of course, good moral. Good moral, as various hon. Members have noted, can be brought into existence only by good officers and good non-commissioned officers in any regiment or battalion. What I think is wrong with this Amendment, in the interests of the Army as a whole, is that it is designed, as far as I can see, more 1261 or less upon sentiment. Hon. Members wall agree with me when I say that anybody interested in the Army is concerned in its strength and development as a fighting machine. It is a mistake to treat this matter of the death sentence, the ultimate sentence that can be inflicted upon a soldier, as a thing that is lightly embarked upon, or which does not cause those who have to order it to be carried out the greatest searchings of heart. When we consider the number of men who were employed all over the world during the late War and the comparatively few death sentences that were carried out, we must realise that those who were responsible for the carrying out of the death sentence exercised their power with the greatest precaution.
The death sentence, as the ultimate sentence, is, I believe, in the interests of the Army as a whole. There are, of course, men who have not the nerve to face difficult situations, who suffer, for example, like my hon., and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills), who stated that if he were asked to look down from a great height, he could not obey the order. There are eases of that kind, but it seems to me that they are the exceptions. What the. Secretary of State for War has to consider are the interests of the Army as a whole. If we do away with the death sentence, what is the result? There must be in all armies, and there are, men who are affected by the idea that if they do a certain thing, or do not do a certain thing, they will be shot. In the interests of the whole Army it is desirable that men who are capable of misbehaving themselves in the way it is suggested they may misbehave themselves, and so of bringing danger and disaster on their comrades, should be prevented from doing so by this deterrent; but it must be used with the greatest caution. It is used with the greatest caution, and it is essential to the safety of the Army. The hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson) cited the case of the Australians during the War. No one for one moment doubts the courage and fighting qualities of the Australian soldiers—certainly not anyone who saw them—but one cannot deny the fact that there were among the Australians a large number of men who were not of the 1262 right quality. Anyone who was in the neighbourhood of the town of Etaples—
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I will say a certain number. I do not mean to imply that the Australians had a greater number of wrong ones than any other army.
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I do not appreciate the value of that interruption. Of course, they had; everybody knows it. The opportunities that were given to these men of doing what they ought not to do was very much greater because of the absence of the death sentence. Men who would otherwise have suffered the extreme penalty, escaped to the back o' beyond and lived in a way which was very little different from that of the bush-rangers of old. When I say"a large number," I mean a large number in proportion to the number of men employed in the Australian Army. There were a great many of them. The experience in our own Army was that there were few if any of that type. I do not attribute that purely to the fact that we had the death sentence in our Army, but, undoubtedly, if the Australian Army had had the death sentence, these men would not have existed in the number they did. I think that was agreed upon by everybody who was in France at the time.
If the hon. Member who moved the Amendment had argued the matter from the point of view that if there was no death penalty in any army and that, therefore, as a result, everybody would drop away to the rear and there would consequently be no fighting, I think he might have brought forward a very good argument for the ending of war. That is, I believe, an argument he adopted in a book which he wrote sonic little time ago. But when he urges that we should do away with the death penalty as a means of promoting discipline, and that we should have just as good a discipline if the death penalty were done away with as we have now, I think the Committee would be malting a very great mistake to believe him. I do not believe that I am any more brutal than hon. Members opposite. I am quite sure that I am not.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
Would it need the death penalty to make the hon. and gallant Member do his duty?
§ Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM
I try to think that the fact that there is a death penalty in existence in the Army would have no effect upon me, or upon my hon. Friends opposite. But we cannot get over the fact that there are men upon whom an effect of that kind can be produced. I do not pretend to be braver than any hon. Member opposite, nor do I pretend to be better. I am opposing this Amendment because I believe that if it were carried into effect it would not have the advantageous results which hon. Members anticipate. I do not think it is in the best interests of the Army, and am quite certain it could not be carried out in war time.
§ Mr. PALIN
I approach this question from a different standpoint from the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken. I think that hon. Members who have already taken part in the Debate have not quite realised that we are not living in the time of Wellington or of the Crimean War. The wars of the future are more likely to resemble the Great War that has recently closed, and, instead of a small professional Army taking part, it is more likely to be an Army consisting very largely of the whole of the able bodied manhood of the nation. The death penalty may be a thing which the professional soldier takes on with his eyes open. At any rate, he has the advantage of years of training to inure him to what he is likely to meet on the field of battle, but a citizen who is taken straight from the workshop, as men were taken during the Great War, and pitch-forked into the inferno which they found there, ought not to be treated to the same penalties as the men who have been trained and inured to them for years.
§ I do not mind confessing that there were moments when I was as afraid as anyone else, but, being older than most of the boys who were with me, I was fortunate in not being able to show it. Nerve did fail men under very exceptional circumstances. I have seen a man fail on occasions, although I was quite convinced that he was as brave a man as I ever met. That the death penalty should be exacted under the conditions under which it is exacted, does not do justice to the person accused. A court-martial is a very rough and ready method of trying a man for his life. I dare say that for a common drunk it is quite as good and as just as an ordinary Court, but to try a man for his life in a tribunal constituted as is a court-martial takes one back to the time when the Army was a more brutal institution than it is to-day. I do not think we ought to continue laws which were necessary to enforce discipline in the days of Waterloo and the Crimea, having regard to the conditions that prevail to-day, when ordinary citizens are likely to be turned into soldiers. I do not claim to be an extreme pacifist. I can conceive conditions under which we may possibly have to fight again, although I pray God it may never occur. I do feel that the death penalty for such offences as are stated in the Amendment ought to be wiped out. Having regard to the experiences of hon. Members opposite and on this side and the appeals that have been made, I hope the influence may be such that the Government will give further consideration to this matter before the death penalty is enacted for another year.
§ Question put,"That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 123; Noes, 269.1267
|Division No. 188.]||AYES.||[6.12 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Fenby, T. D.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Cape, Thomas||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Charleton, H. C.||Gillett, George M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Clowes, S.||Gosling, Harry|
|Astor, Viscountess||Cluse, W. S.||Graham. D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Barnes, A.||Connolly, M.||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)|
|Barr, J.||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Batey, Joseph||Cove, W. G.||Groves, T.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Grundy, T. W.|
|Briant, Frank||Crawfurd, H. E.||Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth)|
|Broad, F. A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)|
|Bromley, J.||Dennison, R.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Duncan, C.||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon|
|Hayday, Arthur||Naylor, T. E.||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hayes, John Henry||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L, (Exeter)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Oliver, George Harold||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Palin, John Henry||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Paling, W.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Hirst, G. H.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W||Thurtle, E.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Philipson, Mabel||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Potts, John S.||Townend, A. E.|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Riley, Ben||Viant, S. P.|
|Johnson, Thomas (Dundee)||Ritson, J.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Scrymgeour, E.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Kennedy, T.||Sexton, James||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Kenworthy, Ll.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Whiteley, W.|
|Kirkwood, D.||Sitch, Charles H.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Lee, F.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Livingstone, A. M.||Smillie, Robert||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lowth, T.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Lunn William||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip||Windsor, Walter|
|March, S.||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Wright, W.|
|Montague, Frederick||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Morris, R. H.||Stamford, T. W.|
|Morrison, R, C. (Tottenham, N.)||Stephen, Campbell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Murnin, H.||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr. Warne.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Albery, Irving James||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hastam, Henry C.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovill)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Henderson, Capt. R. R. (Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington. S.)||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V L. (Bootle)|
|Atkinson, C.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Drewe, C.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Duckworth, John||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Eden, Captain Anthony||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Hilton, Cecil|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Holland, Sir Arthur|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, M.)||Ellis, R. G.||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Elveden, Viscount||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Bethel, A.||England, Colonel A.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Erskine, Lord (Somerset,Weston-S.-M.)||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Howard, Captain Hon. Donald|
|Briscoe. Richard George||Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Fermoy, Lord||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Fielden, E. B.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Ford, Sir P. J.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Forrest, W.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Burman, J. B.||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Jackson, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. F. S.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Galbraith. J. F. W.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jacob, A. E.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gates, Percy.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R (Pitsmth, S.)||Gibbs, Col- Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Goff, Sir Park||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Christie, J. A.||Gower, Sir Robert||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Grant, J. A.||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Gretton, Colonel John||Loder, J. de V.|
|Cope, Major William||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Bristol, N.)||Looker, Herbert William|
|Couper, J. B.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Lougher, L.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Luce. Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Lumley, L. R.|
|Craik, Rt, Hon. Sir Henry||Hall, Capt. w. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Lynn, Sir Robert J.|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Hammersley, S. S.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Crookshank, Cpt. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Crookshank.Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Harland, A.||MacDonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||MacIntyre, Ian|
|Macmillan, Captain H.||Rentoul, G. S.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Rice, Sir Frederick||Tasker, Major R. Inigo|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Templeton, W. P.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Ropner, Major L.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Malone, Major P. B.||Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Margesson, Captain D.||Salmon, Major I.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Waddington, R.|
|Meller, R. J.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Wallace, Captain D. E.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Ward, Lt.-Col.A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W W.|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)||Sandon, Lord||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B, M.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Savery, S. S.||Wells, S. R.|
|Murchison, C. K.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Nall, Lieut. Colonel Sir Joseph||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrst'fd.)||Skelton, A. N.||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wilson, R. R. (Stafffford, Lichfield)|
|Oakley, T.||Smith, R.W.(Aberd'n & Klnc'dlne, C.)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Owen, Major G.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Pennefather, Sir John||Smithers, Waldron||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Penny, Frederick George||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Perring, Sir William George||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Pielou, D. P.||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Pownall, Lieut. Colonel Assheton||Storry-Deans, R.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Preston, William||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Radford, E. A.||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Raine, W.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Major Sir Harry Barnston and|
|Ramsden, E.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Captain Margesson.|
|Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper|