HC Deb 14 October 1941 vol 374 cc1228-9
17 and 18. Mr. Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) with reference to Major William Patrick Scott, officer commanding troops on the "Dunera," in what regiment this officer was gazetted as major in November, 1934; was he styled captain when the "Dunera" sailed; and has his rank since been changed;

(2) whether he will state the charges made against Major W. P. Scott, for which he was put on trial before a court-martial, specifying those on which he was found not guilty or guilty; and on what information these charges were framed?

Captain Margesson

The officer in question was gazetted major in the 14th London Regiment, Territorial Army, in November, 1934. He was transferred to the Pioneer Corps as a substantive major in November, 1939, and was given the acting rank of lieutenant-colonel on his appointment to command the troops on board the "Dunera" in July, 1940. He reverted to his substantive rank of major on relinquishing his command with effect from 8th October, 1940, and there has been no subsequent change in his rank. Major Scott was tried by court-martial on two charges under Section 40 of the Army Act of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. The first charge alleged that he improperly addressed the troops under his command in terms that suggested that he was aware of, and condoned, thefts of articles belonging to internees. The second charge alleged that having reasonable grounds to suppose that an interned alien had been treated with violence or neglect while in the custody of military personnel under his command he failed to ensure that any proper inquiry was made into the incident. He was acquitted on the first of these charges but was found guilty on the second. The charges were framed on the basis of the report of a court of inquiry, which was held as soon as possible after the members of the escort returned to this country.

Mr. Wedgwood

Are we to understand that there was no charge preferred against him in respect of looting from the internees on board?

Captain Margesson

The charges are set out in my answer.