HC Deb 01 July 1919 vol 117 cc785-7W

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will again give attention to the desirability of releasing Private It. Johnson, No. 32015, on compassionate grounds, taking into consideration the number of persons who are dependent on him for a living?


Private Johnson is not registered by the War Office either as pivotal or for special release. The application previously made on this soldier's behalf did not disclose any compassionate grounds, but if such grounds exist and they fall within any of the categories prescribed in the Instructions recently issued governing releases on compas- sionate grounds, the case will be reconsidered, and my hon. Friend informed of the result as early as possible. A statement should be submitted giving the full facts and particulars, certified as set out in the Instructions referred to, a copy of which I am sending my hon. Friend.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether Sergeant P. Smith, of the l/25thCounty of London Regiment, enlisted on the day war was declared and has now been in India three and a half years; whether during the War both his mother and only brother have died and his father, who is ill, has no one to look after him; whether this man is entitled to demobilisation; and, if so, why he is not sent home?


Demobilisation has been temporarily suspended in India owing to the existing situation in that country, and I regret that I can make no definite statement regarding demobilisation in India at present, but when it does recommence Sergeant Smith will no doubt be demobilised early, if his length of service is as stated by my hon. Friend.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the men of C Section, 688th Company, Mechanical Transport, Army Service Corps, Salonika Force, have served three years overseas without leave, and are at present at Uskub; and what prospect there is of these men securing leave or early demobilisation?


A special Army Order, particulars of which have been published in the Press, was issued on the 27th June, giving fresh instructions regarding the early demobilisation of men who joined the Colours in 1914 and 1915, men over thirty-seven, and various other classes of men, who are eligible for demobilisation. If the men referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend fall within any of the categories prescribed in the new Instructions, they will be sent home for demobilisation within one, two, or three months, as the case may be, as laid down in the Army Order.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the conclusion of Peace with Germany, he is prepared to give absolute instructions for the immediate release from the Air Force and Army of officers and men who are over thirty-seven years of age, or who have enlisted in 1914 and 1915, or under the Derby scheme in the early months of 1916; and whether he is aware that the continued retention of large numbers of these men by their commanding officers in defiance of his instructions on the subject is causing resentment against his Department and the Government?


As regards the Army, instructions have already been issued in Army Order X, dated the 27th June, giving the procedure to be adopted in releasing 1914 and 1915 men and men over thirty-seven, contingent on the signature of Peace. This Army Order has already been published in the daily Press. A number of officers of the Army proportionate to the numbers of 1914– 15 men released will be demobilised. Instructions will shortly be issued giving the order of priority for the demobilisation of these officers. As regards the Air Force, the release of 1914 and 1915 men, and men over thirty-seven, is being carried out as quickly as the exigencies of the Service permit and is almost completed.

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