§ Mr. WATERSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Signallers attached to the First Army have been informed that they cannot be demobilised; whether men of forty-one years and ten months of age have been told that they must remain and that all men who were not forty-one in April, 1918, will be regarded as being forty-one years of age for the purposes of demobilisation; and whether he will cause inquiries to be made?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am not aware of Signallers attached to the First Army having been informed that they cannot be demobilised, but the Signal Service being part of the machinery of demobilisation, must of necessity be kept working until the end. To carry on the service, certain essential trades are required and to a large extent these trades include numbers of older men and men of long service overseas. Although every effort has been made to equalise demobilisation in the Signal Service, it is unavoidable that in some cases men of forty-one or of long service overseas have to be retained because they are of these essential trades. This more particularly applies to Post Office servants, who are released in priority in accordance with lists furnished by the Post Office and not according to age or length of service. 2253W These men draw civil pay in addition to military pay, separation allowance and bonus, and their appointment in the Post Office is kept open for them. As formations of the Army and the administrative services are reduced, the Signal Service is correspondingly reduced and men released. I am afraid I do not understand the second part of the hon. Member's question.