§ 20. Mr. Thorne
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give any information in connection with the case against a lieutenant-colonel, two soldiers and a firm of Army contractors brought before a court-martial, on Saturday, 31st January, when allegations were made against the contractors and the two soldiers of bribes given and received and against the colonel for burning a number of the contractor's forms, and other charges of stealing War Department oil?
§ Sir E. Grigg
The lieutenant-colonel referred to was acquitted on three charges of stealing War Department oil and the finding of the court has not yet been promulgated on another charge of not having ensured that proper inquiry was made into allegations of overcharging by a contractor and of having improperly instructed an officer under his command to destroy documents which would have been material documents for the investigation of these allegations. This other officer was himself acquitted on four charges of stealing War Department petrol, and the finding has not yet been promulgated on two other charges against him of not having brought the allegations against the contractor to the lieutenant-colonel's notice and of having permitted clerks in his office improperly to alter and sign requisition forms for transport. Three other ranks were also tried by Field General Court-Martial on various connected charges. Two of them were non-commissioned officers and were convicted on a number of charges of forgery and conspiracy to defraud; they were both sentenced to be reduced to the ranks and one was sentenced to 18 months and the other to one year's imprisonment with hard labour. The third soldier was convicted on five charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, 1376 and was sentenced to 84 days' detention.
§ Mr. Thorne
Does that not show there was a good deal of collusion between the colonel and the others?
§ Sir E. Grigg
I can make no further comment on a case in which the findings have not yet been promulgated.