11. Mr. L'ESTRANGE MALONE
asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been drawn to Case No. 110/M/480, who was informed from the War Office, Hounslow, on 8th May, that he was liable to court-martial for absence from the Army for the period 19th June, 1917, to 21st August, 1917; and whether, in view of the general pardon to absentees issued by His Majesty, it is proposed in any case to submit men to court-martial who were absentees during a period of the War?
§ Mr. COOPER
The hon. Member is mistaken in thinking that a general amnesty has been granted to those who deserted during the Great War, and I am not prepared to dispense altogether with the right to try and punish men, in special and serious cases, for the grave military offence of desertion. But the normal practice is to discharge the deserter without resorting to trial and without withdrawing him from his civil employment; and in the particular case referred to in this question I know of no reason to prevent the normal practice being followed if the man voluntarily signs the form of confession which has been sent to him.