HC Deb 23 February 1915 vol 70 cc174-5W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he has yet made inquiries in accordance with his undertaking to the hon. Member for South Donegal as to whether prior to the date of the dispatch of the first batch of recruits from Belfast to Fermoy a great number of Nationalists and Catholics enlisted at the Unionist agencies in Ulster, and were now to the number of 1,000 in various camps throughout that province; whether these recruits had intimated their desire to join certain Irish regiments, and were assured that they could change into them later; whether, despite this assurance, on the faith of which they enlisted, they are still detained in the camps of the Ulster Division; and, if so, what has been the result of the inquiries?


I find on inquiry that the number of Catholics now present in the Ulster Division is one officer and thirteen other ranks. It is obviously not possible to state accurately the number of Nationalists in this division, but it is believed to be very small. There is a standing order at each depot that every recruit who on enlistment expresses a decided preference for any particular battalion should be posted to that battalion, and, as far as can be ascertained, no Catholic recruit is retained in the Ulster Division against his wish.

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