HC Deb 10 December 1946 vol 431 cc950-2
6. Mr. William Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for War why, in view of the fact that soldiers sentenced during the war for offences constantly have their cases reviewed and the sentences often remitted, Mr. M. Waxman, 20, Sillwood Road, Brighton, who is 41 years of age. is now being called up on an enlistment order dated 14th March, 1941, which he failed to obey, although he served from 1942 to 1944 with credit in the Merchant Navy; whether that service will be taken into consideration; and if the man will be immediately released to carry on his present job.

Mr. Bellenger

Mr. Waxman failed to report on 27th March, 1941, after having had an enlistment notice served on him. His whereabouts were recently discovered and he was ordered to report on 21st November to the General Service Corps Depot. The question of what disciplinary action should be taken in his case is now under consideration. The fact that during his period of absence he served in the Merchant Navy will be taken into account in determining his final date of release.

Mr. Teeling

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no proof whatever that this man received his calling-up papers? He says he never did. In view of the fact that he has done excellent service, which nobody denies, and today is doing a job which is of no use to anybody, is this really not just "red tape" or victimisation? The man, who is 41 years of age, could do a lot of good work, but at present he is of no use to anybody.

Mr. Bellenger

I admit that he did good service while he served in the Merchant Navy, but the fact remains that he avoided his military service, and I think he ought to do his share along with many others who did their-share during the war.

Mr. Teeling

He has done about three years' service.

8. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Secretary of State for War why the additional pension of 5d. per day payable to ex-Regular soldiers on attaining 55 years of age has been refused to Mr. R. A. Clout, 1, Upper Roedale Cottages, Brighton, late Royal Sussex Regiment, in view of the fact that his birth certificate, which has been forwarded to the Record Office, shows that he was born on 15th August, 1891.

Mr. Bellenger

As has already been explained to the hon. and learned Member, when Mr. Clout originally enlisted in September, 1910, he declared his age to be 18 years I month. The general rule is that the age originally declared by a recruit is accepted for Army purposes, in- cluding pension, and Mr. Clout will therefore not qualify for the additional pension until August, 1947.

Mr. Marlowe

Is the right hon. Gentleman really defending the position, that this ex-soldier is to be deprived of the 3s. a week to which his age entitles him, on account of a mistake made by someone in his attestation nearly 40 years ago, when he was 17 years of age?

Mr. Bellenger

I do not accept the statement that a mistake was made. Quite often recruits on enlistment declare an age which satisfies them, and during their service often have an advantage thereby

9. Mr. Henry Usborne

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will review the case of Arthur Davis, who was sentenced to death on 16th December. 1944, but whose sentence was later commuted to penal servitude for life.

Mr. Bellenger

I am giving careful consideration to this case, and am awaiting a special report.

Mr. Usborne

Is the Minister aware that those of us who have examined the evidence over the past months are pretty certain that there has been a serious miscarriage of justice in the circumstances, and will he reconsider the matter?

Mr. Bellenger

This case presents rather sad features, but I would certainly not accept what my hon. Friend says.

31. Mr. W. D. Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that 14573189 Gunner M. Essex, who has been sentenced to 164 days' detention, was under close arrest for 64 days prior to sentence; and, in view of the loss of pay and privilege suffered by the soldier during this period, if he is prepared to review the sentence.

Mr. Bellenger

The sentence will be reviewed shortly and I will inform my hon. Friend of the result.

Mr. Griffiths

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the number of cases of soldiers being kept for a considerable time in detention before they are brought to trial seems to be increasing, despite the end of the war and will he look into it with a view to speeding this business up?

Mr. Bellenger

I thought my hon. Friend was referring to a specific case, and I have given him a specific answer.