HC Deb 02 November 1916 vol 86 cc1846-7W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the number of men of military age who are being retained for clerical duties in the War Office; and whether he is satisfied that no more can be spared for military service, having regard to the advisability of the War Office setting an example by releasing as many as possible to fill up the numbers of recruits which they are urging the country to supply?


Yes, Sir. My attention has been called to certain statements on this subject. The following facts will give the answer to the question in the most convenient form. Rather more than a month ago I appointed a special Departmental Committee to take in hand the combing-out of the civilians and soldiers employed in the War Office and the various Departments included in it. The Committee have reported to me that as a commencement they have ordered the release, at varying dates, within the next few weeks, of all the members of the civilian staff who are fit for general service and are under the age of twenty-six. This will leave 171 only fit for general service out of a staff of about 8,200, of whom 4,000 are women. Similar orders are being issued in regard to the military staff (other than commissioned officers), but as to these I am not in a position at the moment to give figures such as those I have quoted above in regard to the civil staff. As to the commissioned officers, the Committee are going through the names one by one with a view to determining the possibility of the release of as large a number as possible. Having regard to the part which the War Office has to play in the War, I am not sure that it would be safe to go further in this matter, at any rate, at present.

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