HL Deb 20 May 1953 vol 182 cc655-6

2.48 p.m.


My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Strabolgi, I beg to ask the Question which stands in his name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government if their attention has been drawn to a case at Berkshire Assizes on May 8 in which two soldiers, convicted of robbing another soldier with violence, are reported to have been offered the alternative of prison or of volunteering for active service in Korea; whether they are aware that many citizens regard this as an affront to Her Majesty's Forces in Korea; and whether it is proposed to take any action in this matter.]


My Lords, inquiries have been made into the case to which the noble Lord refers. It is not correct that the two soldiers who were found guilty of robbery with violence at Berkshire Assizes were offered the alternative of imprisonment or volunteering for active service in Korea. Both men are serving on a Regular engagement of three years with the Colours and four years with the Reserve, and, as the noble Lord knows, soldiers so serving may at any time volunteer for service overseas. The learned judge, on being told that one of the prisoners was anxious to go overseas, decided to give the other prisoner an opportunity of volunteering, which he subsequently did. Both men were thereupon bound over conditionally on their volunteering for service overseas, not specifically for Korea, thereby enabling them to start afresh in different surroundings. In the result, the second and third parts of the question do not arise.


While thanking the noble and learned Lord for his reply, may I add that my noble friend will be glad to have the categorical assurance that the situation was not as stated in the Press reports?