§ 41. Mr. Hale
asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the hon. Member for Oldham, West was told that the sum of £150 deposited with his commanding officer by a soldier whose name has been given to him could not have been paid in respect of his purchased discharge as the correct figure was £200 and was later told the correct figure was £150 but the discharge had been deferred for other reasons.
§ Mr. Boyden
When the soldier first applied to purchase his discharge, the amount required was £200. He deposited £150 with his unit solely to ensure its safe custody. The unit did not accept the money as part of the purchase price. Later, when the soldier reached the age of 21, the purchase price was reduced to £150. But by then he was debarred from purchasing his discharge because he was serving overseas.
§ Mr. Hale
Is not my hon. Friend aware that this lad was quite aware of his 1028 age and that he was going to be 21 when he saved up his money and deposited it? Is there any other case of a lad handing £150 to his colonel in that regiment? How has the money been invested and at what interest? What was it paid for but to secure his discharge, which has been held up for three years? He has been sent abroad and told that he must pay his fare back after becoming 21 and wait a further 12 months. Is this not a gross and wicked breach of undertakings given?
§ Mr. Boyden
There was no question of compassionate circumstances in this case which could justify this man's release. If the hon. Member has now found some compassionate circumstances I will be very glad to look at them, but according to the rules the soldier was ineligible for discharge.