HC Deb 05 August 1918 vol 109 cc930-1W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of a family named Wanstall, of Margate; whether he is aware that at the outbreak of war the family consisted of father, mother, and four sons; that the father carried on the business of a butcher and that the business was one of the most important of its class in the town, being the only one with private cold-storage accommodation, used not merely for the Wanstall business but for that of other local butchers; that the business had in times of prosperity been developed by borrowing from bankers and is now conducted on a £7,000 bank overdraft secured by mortgage; whether he is aware that the father has died and that two of the four sons have been killed at the front; that of the two remaining sons one, Private Wanstall, P.N., No. 101702, Machine Gun Corps, has served since the outbreak of war, having been mobilised on the 5th August, 1914, and the other, having recently attained the age of eighteen years, has been called to the Colours; whether he is aware that Private Wanstall, P.N., No. 101702, served through the advance in Palestine from Beersheba to the Judean Hills and only left the line a few days before Jerusalem was taken; that his service has been interrupted by bad health, including an operation for appendicitis; that he is a practical butcher in all branches of the business and has been a successful judge and buyer of fat stock and sheep; that the younger surviving brother has no knowledge of butchering and was passed Grade 1; whether the Brigadier-General Director of Personal Services has declined to release Private Wanstall, P.N., No. 101702; whether he is aware that the widow is a delicate woman and unfit, physically or from business ability, to conduct the business and wind up her late husband's estate; and whether he will cause the case to be reconsidered and the qualified son to be released from the Army or transferred to Home service at a station where he can help his mother?


This case has on more than one occasion been very fully and very carefully considered. We recognised that it was one of the very many hard cases which confront us daily, and endeavoured to meet it as best we could by granting six months' Home Service. No releases are at present given on compassionate grounds, and soldiers are demobilised to carry on work of national importance only upon the recommendation of the Ministry of National Service. I regret that this case cannot be reconsidered.