HC Deb 20 May 1947 vol 437 cc2151-4
4. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a corporal, released from the R.A.S.C., particulars of whom have been sent him, has been waiting for over 15 months for a supply of shoes as he cannot wear boots for medical reasons; that he had to use his wife's coupons to enable him to purchase a pair in the meantime; when he can expect to receive the shoes; and whether the coupons so used will be refunded.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Freeman)

This soldier is recorded as having received his normal release outfit, including a pair of civilian shoes. He was, however, in addition entitled to keep on release a pair of the shoes which had been issued to him while serving in the Army. It so happened that at the time he left his unit in Berlin to be released he was waiting for a pair of new shoes in replacement of his old ones, which were worn out. These shoes which had to be ordered from London did not reach his unit until after his departure, and I regret that he has never received them. I have, therefore, arranged for a pair of shoes to be sent to him. The issue of clothing coupons is not a matter for my Department.

Mr. Freeman

Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries to see if such cases can be accelerated to avoid such delays as this of 15 months before a soldier gets his shoes? Can he inform us what steps can be taken to enable the man to reclaim the coupons his wife lost?

Mr. Freeman

As regards the delay, this is a quite exceptional case, in which my Department made a very small administrative error, for which I apologise. As regards the coupons, that has nothing to do with me, but the allotment of coupons which a Serviceman gets on leaving the Service does allow an extra pair of shoes to be obtained.

40. Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that 2601138 Lance-Corporal R. M. Smith, No. r Company, War Office Wireless Section, and 2372768 Signalman E. R. Simmonds, Royal Signals, about whom the hon. Member for Gravesend wrote to him on 11th and 24th April, are being retained under the age and service Group 64, while Lance-Corporal Pollard and Signalman Pope, age and service Group 64, have had their group numbers reduced to 39 and 44, respectively, with immediate release, by reckoning their service on W / T reserve as service; whether there is any change in general policy with respect to reckoning W/T reserve for group assessment; and whether he will make a statement on these particular cases.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Bellenger)

; There is no change in the general policy with respect to the reckon-ability of periods on Class W or W/T Reserve, nor is any change contemplated. I will, with permission, circulate the detailed information asked for by my hon. Friend in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Allighan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these men were drafted on call-up to the War Office for service with Military Intelligence, and that their service in that capacity was not reckoned for their age and service grouping, but that at least two of their comrades, who were in exactly the same circumstances. did have their service so reckoned?

Mr. Bellenger

In my answer I am explaining that matter, and, I hope, to the satisfaction of my hon. Friend.

Following are the details:

I am aware that in view of their age and service group number, Lance-, Corporal Smith and Signalman Simmonds are not yet eligible for release and are being retained until the date of release of their group. I regret that through an oversight, Lance-Corporal Pollard's group was reduced from 64 to 39 as the result of an incorrect re-assessment of his reckonable service under which the period spent on Class W/T Reserve was allowed to reckon. That period should not, in fact, have been reckoned. I presume that the Signalman Pope to whom my hon. Friend refers is 2601062 Signalman H. Pope. If so, he is still serving, being in group 66. His group has not been altered.

75. Mr. George Wallace

asked the Secretary of State for War why 14497347 Fusilier P. Morris, 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, B.A.O.R., is now serving a sentence in Dartmoor Prison when there was not enough evidence to justify a court-martial on the charge for which he was arrested; and if this soldier's sentence will be reviewed forthwith.

Mr. Bellenger

It is not the case that Fusilier Morris is serving a sentence for an offence which did not justify a court martial. While he was under suspended sentence for a previous offence his conduct was unsatisfactory. It was, therefore, decided by the competent military authority that his suspended sentence should be put back into execution. The sentence was due for review recently, and I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as the result of the review has been reported to me.

Mr. Wallace

That answer is most unsatisfactory and I must apologise to the House if my supplementary question is rather long. [Interruption.] I appeal to the House to listen, when the future happiness of a young lad is in jeopardy. Is the Minister aware that so far no information has been afforded to me or to the parents as to the original offence the boy committed; that we understood he committed the offence of being absent without leave for three days, for which he got three years; that the parents were asked by the War Office where the son was, and that that information was given; that the parents then wrote and asked for news of their son and were told he was fit and well, and serving with his unit, while he had been in detention for II weeks under close arrest?

Mr. Bellenger

I very much regret that my hon. Friend, in a rather long supplementary question, should give what he purports to be facts, but which are not quite accurate. As it would be intolerable if I took up the time of the House in going into a detailed statement— [Interruption.]—

Mr. Gallacher

Say what you used to say in the "Sunday Pictorial."

Mr. Bellenger

I will endeavour, as briefly as possible, to give an answer to my hon. Friend. If he wants information as to the sentence, conviction and the offence for which Fusilier Morris was originally imprisoned, I will send it to him as fully as possible in a letter. However, I can say this to my hon. Friend: Fusilier Morris is by no means an angel, as my hon. Friend has made out.