§ Mr. F. ROBERTS
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that requests have been made for release from the Army of Private G. Smith, No. 319605, Tank Corps; and whether, seeing that this lad enlisted under age, he can order his immediate release?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
This case has been carefully considered, but I regret that the discharge of Private Smith cannot be sanctioned.
§ Mr. J. A. PARKINSON
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that Harold Beesley, captain's mess C, His Majesty's Ship "Vindictive," and Edwin Gaskell, O.S., 54 mess, His Majesty's Ship "Vindictive," both indentured apprentices at Messrs. Walker Brothers, engineers, Wigan, were released by the firm on 2nd July, 1918, on the condition that they should join the motor patrol for the duration of the War; that on 4th July, 1918, they were informed by the recruiting officer, Wigan, that this branch of the Service was full, and were enlisted in the Royal Navy for the duration of the War, as is shown in records at the Wigan office; is he aware that on arriving at Liverpool they were informed that they had signed on for five years; and will he have inquiries made into this case and find out who is responsible for this treatment, and also issue instructions for their discharge at an early date?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I am advised that in May, 1918, before the date on which the two men referred to by my hon. Friend joined, entries into the Naval Service for "hostilities only" had been closed. It was open to these men, therefore, to join the Army for "hostilities only" or to join the Navy for a fixed period. I have no reason to think that the conditions of entry were not fully understood by them. It has not been possible in the time to inquire into the circumstances alleged in the first three parts of the question, but inquiry will be made and records called for. As regards release, I understand that an application regarding these cases was forwarded to -the Commanding Officer of618W His Majesty's Ship "Vindictive" in October last for any action considered desirable by him.