HC Deb 07 November 1911 vol 30 cc1619-21W

asked the Under Secretary for War whether he is aware that the officer recently appointed to command the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) sent in a confidential report describing an officer in that regiment as unfit for promotion to the rank of major; that the officer in question appealed to the War Office and showed that the commanding officer had only served with him for six weeks, during which time he had never been in command of a squadron for a day, and that on the military secretary asking the commanding officer his reasons for sending in the adverse report he replied that he had done so on the report of his second in command, who had been squadron leader of the officer in question; whether he is aware that on the commanding officer being asked for the report of the second in command he wrote to that officer, who was on leave, to forward a report on the officer, and that the second in command, knowing nothing of the adverse report, wrote, when on leave, not recommending the passing over and super-session of the officer in question; whether on the receipt of this report from the second in command the commanding officer reported to the War Office that, although the second in command had not reported unfavourably in writing he had given an unfavourable report of the officer verbally, and also reported that the second in command was unfit for his position; whether he is aware that, resulting from this report, the second in command was asked by the Army Council to resign, a copy of the commanding officer's report being then sent to him; whether the second in command then proved to the authorities that he could not have given an adverse report verbally owing to absence on leave; whether, as a consequence, the Army Council withdrew their letter to the second in command with an apology, as a mistake had been committed; whether the second in command insisted on resigning his commission, as did six other officers in that regiment; and whether the Secretary of State for War will exact that for the future, on any confidential report being issued to the detriment of an officer, a copy of that report shall be sent to the officer affected so that he may have an opportunity of defending himself?

Colonel SEELY

The hon. Gentleman is in error in many important particulars of his statement of this case. As regards the last sentence the regulations concerning the action to be taken in regard to confidential reports were strictly observed.