HC Deb 29 May 1956 vol 553 cc10-2
12. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for War why Private Churchley, prior to his discharge from the Army, was requested to appear on parade every hour for fourteen days with a caliper on his leg at Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Hampshire; and whether he will take action to discontinue this kind of punishment for soldiers suffering from leg injuries.

Mr. Head

Private Churchley was fit to walk about and take limited exercise during his convalescence. Indeed in such cases the patient is encouraged to take what exercise he feels capable of. Private Churchley had frequently walked to the nearest village about half a mile away. The reason why he reported at frequent intervals was that he was confined to barracks as a result of having broken out of barracks on a previous occasion.

Mr. Yates

But is the Minister aware that for the absence without leave this man was punished by being asked to go up and down three flights of stairs every hour for fourteen days? Is not that rather ridiculous punishment for a man with a broken leg and a caliper on it?

Mr. Head

It was not every hour; it was between the hours of four in the afternoon and 10 o'clock. For the three flights of stairs there is a lift in working order on which it is stated that men with leg injuries or other injuries may use this lift. He did use it.

18. Mr. Gower

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will reconsider the cases of Mrs. C. K. Cordy of 28, Coldbrook Road, Cadoxton, Barry, and Mrs. A. Spence of 30 Merthyr Street, Barry Dock, in the light of correspondence which he has received from the hon. Member for Barry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Head

I have carefully reviewed these two cases and regret that I cannot change my previous decisions.

Mr. Gower

Does my right hon. Friend know that since I first wrote to him about the case of Mrs. Cordy, her husband has died and therefore the need for her to have her son near home has been thereby increased? In the case of Mrs. Spence, does not my right hon. Friend agree that the family circumstances, plus the illness of her mother, would appear to merit special consideration?

Mr. Head

I have been into these cases through S.S.A.F.A. I am informed that in the first case there is a married sister living near to this lady, and in the second case I have written to my hon. Friend. I do not think that I should be justified in altering the decisions.

24. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Secretary of State for War under what authority the commanding officer of D Troop, Line Group, School of Signals, Catterick Camp, refused the application for demobilisation of 23161200 Signalman S. Bough, whose release from the Army had already been approved by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Head

I regret that there was unnecessary delay in discharging this soldier. The necessary authority was issued on 16th May, and Signalman Bough was sent home last week.

Sir L. Plummer

It took six weeks to discharge the boy. Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the case, because the adjutant is reported to have told him that a medical certificate about his mother's health was required before he would be released, although the right hon. Gentleman's Department had agreed six weeks previously that he should be released?

Mr. Head

Part of the delay was caused by the fact that, when the matter, in principle, was considered, it was done at the request of Signalman Bough's mother. Therefore, the first thing was to make certain that Signalman Bough wanted release. We could not have released him without his own request. There was a secondary delay in the unit, and I am attempting to find out what happened.