HC Deb 23 July 1952 vol 504 c505
2. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence from what date the Service Departments ceased to take criminal proceedings against men who deserted from the Forces during the 1914–18 war.

Mr. Birch

No such date was fixed. Cases of desertion were dealt with on their merits.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Would it not be better to have a precise and businesslike arrangement for this? Is it not a fact that there has been in operation without the knowledge or approval of the House a kind of shame-faced, half-hearted, unofficial and highly irregular amnesty in the case of men who deserted during the 1914–18 War, and at some stage or other the Government abandoned all further action in the matter?

Mr. Birch

It was announced by the last Government that the greatest possible degree of clemency would be shown, but I do not think that the statement of the hon. and gallant Member is accurate.

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