HC Deb 15 January 1918 vol 101 cc145-6W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the numbers of single soldiers who joined the Army before the 2nd March, 1916, as well as of married soldiers who joined before the 24th June, 1916, who for reasons of patriotism gave their ages on attestation as under forty-one years, whereas by their certificates of birth they were at the date of attestation over that age and on that account exempt from service under the Military Service Act; if he is aware that these men are now penalised owing to their having proved their patriotism at a moment of great national emergency when so many younger men were hanging back before the Military Service Act became law; and whether. as all other soldiers now serving are aged according to their birth certificates, tie will give instructions so that the over-age men above referred to who have served overseas and been sent. home wounded or invalided and who, had they not voluntarily enlisted when over military age, would by law have remained free from liability to military service, shall if they so desire be retained for service at home instead of being again dispatched overseas?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford W. on 19th December. There are no statistics available of the men to whom my hon. Friend refers in his question, but it is not considered that they have any greater claim to exemption from service overseas than other over-age men who enlisted voluntarily, and I regret that the man-power situation will not admit of the suggested concession being granted.