HC Deb 15 May 1956 vol 552 cc1827-8
55. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Secretary of State for War why he is still retaining in the service in East Africa No. 23081966 Signalman J. Allgood who is suffering from a fractured wrist which has been in plaster for four months and which, in the opinion of the Army surgeons, will never unite completely, but will remain as a permanent disability.

Mr. F. Maclean

This soldier is suffering from a fracture of a small bone in his left wrist. He is being kept in the Army because a recent medical board found him fit for restricted duties in East Africa. His wrist is being kept under observation.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the Under-Secretary aware that it is fourteen months since this man broke his wrist, and that it was supposed to have healed? He was sent to Kenya, and for the last five months has had a plaster on his wrist. The man is getting very depressed, according to letters which he is writing home, and does the Under-Secretary not think that he should reconsider this case and allow the man to return home?

Mr. Maclean

My information is that there has been no deterioration in the state of the soldier's wrist, and that useful work is available for him in East Africa.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the Under-Secretary aware that this disability is admitted by Army surgeons to be permanent?

58. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for War why 22963938 Private Churchley, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, was regarded as a deserter, and visited by military policemen at his home at 230, New John Street, West Birmingham, on 23rd April when he was on sick leave pending discharge; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.

Mr. F. Maclean

Private Churchley absented himself without leave on 8th March and was notified as an absentee to the Royal Military Police. He returned to his unit voluntarily on 14th March; and the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, cancelled its original notification. Unfortunately, because an out-of-date address was used, the cancellation was delayed seven weeks in the post, whereas the original notification had been delayed only a few days. In the eyes of the military police, Private Churchley was, therefore, an absentee when they visited his home on 23rd April.

I am satisfied that existing regulations for dealing with absentees are adequate and that they were properly complied with in this case except that an old address was used. No change of procedure is necessary, but I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my regret for the trouble caused to Mrs. Churchley by this mistake.

Mr. Yates

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that Answer; and I am sure that he will realise that when military police call on a soldier who is on leave pending discharge it gives rise to very serious misgivings, and that some steps ought to be taken to see that that sort of incident should not recur.

Mr. Maclean

Yes, steps are taken, but occasional mistakes of this kind are bound to creep in when an organisation is the size of the Army. I am glad to say that on this occasion very friendly relations seem to have been established between Mrs. Churchley and the military police, so much so that I gather she asked them to come back on a further occasion to have tea.

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