§ Mr. NEEDHAM
asked the Under-Secretary for War (1) how many applications for commissions have been received from members of the Public Schools Battalions since 1st November; and how many are still awaiting decision; (2) whether, in view of the inability of members of the Public Schools Battalions to obtain recommendations from their commanding officers, he will say what procedure must be adopted by candidates for commissions; and (3) whether all members of the Public Schools Battalions desirous of obtaining commissions had opportunities afforded them of placing applications before the special officer sent to inquire into these cases; whether the special officer has reported on all applications for commissions; and when will the decisions be made known to members of these battalions desirous of obtaining commissions?
§ Mr. TENNANT
Applications from members of the Public Schools Brigade are not sent to the War Office. They are submitted through their commanding officers to General Headquarters and are dealt with on the spot. The applicants, if selected, are then either sent to the Cadet School in France or sent home for training. As the commanding officer is the only judge as to the suitability of a non-commissioned officer or man for a commission, the recommendation must remain in his hands. The names of all men believed to be suitable candidates have been sent to France for such action as the Commander-in-Chief may consider desirable.
The officer sent to France went there with the object of explaining the whole situation as to the supply of officers for 626W the future and of pointing out what units were believed to have men serving in the ranks who are suitable for commissions. He had no power of interviewing candidates, neither was it considered desirable that such power should be asked for from the Commander-in-Chief in the Field, as the officers concerned in France are perfectly capable of conducting this business.