HC Deb 12 July 1917 vol 95 cc2133-4W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he will take immediate action to secure the release of C. H. Bird, how in the guard detention room, 111th Battalion, Training Reserve, Wimbledon Common Camp, who was discharged from the Army under paragraph 392 of the King's Regulations, on 28th July last, and who has not been called up for medical re-examination under the Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act, and who was arrested on the 26th June for failing to answer a calling-up notice issued by the Woolwich recruiting office in March, 1917?


The Military Service Act, 1916, provided, by way of exception, that a man who had been discharged for the Army either in consequence of disablement or ill-health, or on the termination of his period of service, was not liable to be compulsorily called up again. The Military Service Act, 1916 (Session 2) altered this provision by limiting the exception to men who had been discharged in consequence of disablement or ill-health. It followed that a man discharged on other grounds was liable to be recalled for service in the ordinary way, not being an exception to the Acts. The Military Service (Review of Exceptions) Act, 1917, did not in any way affect the position of discharged men discharged on grounds other than disablement or ill-health, as such men were not excepted from the provisions of the 1916 Acts, and the 1917 Act was to review previous exceptions. Private Bird was hot discharged from the Army on grounds of disablement or ill-health. He was discharged under King's Regulations, paragraph 392, Section 25, as a man whose services were no longer required. The 1917 Act had therefore no application to his case, as he was already liable for service under the 1916 Acts. He was called up on the 20th March, but failed to respond. A police notice was issued for him on the 18th May, which should have given him ample time to ascertain his position. He was arrested on the 26th June, and taken before the magistrates, who convicted him as an absentee and handed him over to the military authorities. He was posted to the 111th Training Reserve Battalion. There has, therefore, been no irregularity in his case, and it is not proposed to take any exceptional action.