§ 21. Mr. Bence
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in the case of a retired Army officer who contracted a debt with a textile company, details of which have been sent to him, he will give instructions that the address of the officer should be supplied to the company so that it may recover the debt.
§ Mr. Bence
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this retired Army captain, while working at Clydebank, got his landlady, who was an old-age pensioner, to sign a form, and he then 192 made purchases from a firm in Lancashire and left Clydebank? The firm in Lancashire is pressing this old-age pensioner to pay this debt, which she cannot pay. Is it not too bad that a retired Army captain should do that sort of thing, with the result that the firm wishes to serve him with a notice or summons to pay this debt?
§ Mr. Head
It is up to the lady concerned if she wishes to bring legal proceedings. We have had the rule in the Army for a very long time that if a firm wishes to have an officer's address we will always forward a letter; but we have never in the past—and I believe it to be right—acted as suppliers of addresses of officers to firms.
§ Mr. Bellenger
While I appreciate the last point of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, is it not the case that the War Office is merely acting, as it were, as a post box and does not take steps to remind officers, whom it thinks are evading their civil debts, of their responsibilities, Which brings officers generally into disrepute? It used to be the case that commanding officers took some action.