HC Deb 03 April 1917 vol 92 cc1135-6W

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that by letter from the National Service Department, Scotland, Agricultural Section, dated Ellerslie, Melrose, 19th March, 1917, Mr. W. J. Oliver, of Denholm Mill Farm, Denholm, in the county of Roxburgh, was informed in respect of an application for the temporary release of Private W. Brown, No. 3509, of the 4th Battalion (Reserve) Royal Scots, whom he had found extremely valuable in the management of a travelling stallion, that, owing to the time taken and correspondence necessary before men can be released from the Army, it has been decided that all applications remain in abeyance meanwhile; and whether he can name the authority that has passed this decision, and if it is to apply to all applications made before the stallion season begins in April for the services of soldiers competent to undertake this work.


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. On 8th March Mr. Oliver applied to the National Service Department for a general farm worker and requested the release of Private Brown of the 4th Reserve Battalion Royal Scots Regiment. The Agricultural Commissioner for Scotland at once applied to the commanding officer of Brown's regiment for his release, but was advised on 14th March that he had been transferred to the Leicester Regiment. As a considerable number of general farm workers were at the disposal of the Agricultural Commissioner and in view of the necessity for immediately placing men, Mr. Oliver was advised that so long as there were skilled men immediately available, special applications for the release of particular men would be held in abeyance meanwhile. Mr. Oliver again applied for Brown's release on 22nd March, and for the first time explained that Brown had special qualifications for the work. Application was again made to Brown's commanding officer who replied that Brown's release could not be granted as he was required by the Army as a stallion leader. This reply was at once communicated to Mr. Oliver. The action of the Agricultural Commissioner had reference only to the general questions raised by Mr. Oliver's application, which made no reference to applications for horsemen for the stallion season.