HC Deb 12 December 1939 vol 355 cc1004-5
26. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the instructions issued to commanding officers with regard to granting of leave to men whose relatives are seriously ill or who wish to attend the funerals of near relatives?

Sir V. Warrender

Commanding officers at home may at their discretion grant compassionate leave to military personnel in the event of the serious illness or death of a near relative. In the case of the British Expeditionary Force, leave cannot be granted for the sole purpose of attending a funeral, but it is always given, if possible, in the case of the serious illness of a father, mother, wife or child.

Mr. Stewart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are cases in which a commanding officer has not so exercised his discretion, thus causing considerable grief to the parties concerned; and will he look into that matter?

Sir V. Warrender

I know that my hon. Friend has in mind a particular case and the peculiar circumstances attached to it, but he may rest assured that commanding officers do use their discretion in the circumstances I have indicated.