13. Mr. Bernard Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that soldiers, at two camps of which he has been informed, of religious persuasion other than the Church of England, are compelled to attend the Church of England parade; and will he take steps to prevent this occurring in future?
§ Mr. Law
King's Regulations provide that no officer or soldier will be obliged to attend the service of any religious denomination other than his own. At the two camps to which my hon. Friend refers, men of other denominations were apparently detailed to attend the Church of England parade, although it was explained to them that they were not obliged to enter the church or attend the service. The local military headquarters took immediate steps to stop this practice as soon as it came to their notice, and orders to this effect were issued on 5th May.
Captain John Dugdak
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of commanding officers interpret this particular instruction as permitting them to compel troops to match to the door of the church 1686 and to march away from the church, and that the only right the men have is to wait outside the church, possibly in the rain, while the service continues?
§ Mr. Bellenger
What does the hon. Gentleman mean? Does he mean that the soldier must attend his church parade? The hon. Gentleman gave the impression in a previous answer that this was not so.