§ Colonel YATE
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether in 1917 samples of the B5 ankle boot with rubber composition soles, made to the same specification as the tyres for the heavy Government lorries, were submitted to the Royal Army Clothing Department and approval; whether an order for sufficient boots to fit out a unit with such boots was given by the head of the Royal Army Clothing Department and sent to the War Office for confirmation; whether the makers of the soles guaranteed that such soles would wear longer than two pairs of leather soles, thus cutting in half the requirements of the Army for boots, and 52W also that the boots could have been supplied from 1s. 6d. to 1s. 10d. per pair less than with leather soles, thus saving the nation some millions a year; and, if so, will he state why such sample order has not been passed through the War Office, and why this standard of boot has not been tried?
§ Mr. FORSTER
No recommendation or order such as suggested has been received at the War Office from the Royal Army Clothing Department. During the War, however, several trials of various leather substitutes have been made. The trials generally gave fair satisfaction, but owing to the fact that leather of good quality is considered the best material for sole leather it has not been thought advisable to adopt any substitute yet. At the same time, careful notice has been taken of the comparative value of the different substitutes in case shortage of leather in the future may necessitate their use. In such event it would be necessary to change considerably the existing plant in the Army boot repair shops. It should be remembered that Army boots are not discarded unless the uppers are unfit for further service, as the method of their manufacture makes it possible to repair the soles as long as the uppers remain serviceable.