HC Deb 06 July 1916 vol 83 cc1679-80W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War (1) whether a number of conscientious objectors are being confined in a single small room at Seaford Camp, which is only 20 feet square; whether they only get half an hour in every twenty-four hours for change of air; whether these men are soon to be sent abroad; and whether, in order to give the strongest possible physique to men destined for foreign service, he will order some alteration of treatment in these cases; (2) whether he can give information concerning Private Fowler, 4th Eastern Company, Non-Combatant Corps, 10th Border Regiment; why was this man transferred from the 3rd Eastern Company, Non-Combatant Corps, 16th Royal Fusiliers, to his present company; and whether he is now, or was recently, in the cells on bread-and-water diet; (3) why certain conscientious objectors who are physically fit have been placed on garrison duty at home, put on the Reserve, and told that they will have two months' notice before being called up, whereas other conscientious objectors, who are physically incapable of doing general service, are posted to combatant units, are having their strength reduced by bread-and-water diet, and are being maintained at the public expense, while learning nothing of their duties; whether such action embodies the considered policy of the Army Council; and whether he proposes to make any alteration; and (4) why Private Hayward, No. 1106, Private Bishop, No. 1100, Private Reccord, No. 1088, Private Fromow, 1103, and Private Maynard, No. 1102, all of the 4th Eastern Company, Non-Combatant Corps, in the 10th Border Regiment, now at Seaford, were removed from the 3rd Eastern Company, Non-Combatant Corps, in the 16th Royal Fusiliers; how long were they at Shoreham Camp; were they disobeying orders all the time while there, and, if so, why were they not court-martialled; whether their colonel actually ordered their court-martial; what superior officer countermanded that order; and whether, in view of the prolonged idleness of these men, and the constant changes and hesitations shown in their treatment, he will now order their discharge on condition that they do useful work of an economic value?


As I have previously informed my hon. Friend, upon more than one occasion, I cannot undertake to make inquiries into the particulars as to whereabouts, conduct, or treatment of individual soldiers, unless there be valid cause to fear that there has been any irregularity in the action of the military authorities. As no cause to fear anything of the kind is disclosed in these questions, I see no reason to call for an inquiry.