HC Deb 02 July 1919 vol 117 cc981-2W
Lieut.-Colonel W. GUINNESS

asked the Secretary of State for War whether a considerable number of medical officers, who were returning to be demobilised after at least two years' service in Mesopotamia under War Office cable No. 4,773 A.M.D.I, have been detained in India; and whether he can say what prospect there is of these officers being shortly sent home?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether Captain Malcolm Foster, Royal Army Medical Corps, has served for three years in Mesopotamia and Persia; that in the beginning of May, 1919, this officer was ordered to return home, but that he has been stopped at Bombay on his journey home and ordered to the Indian frontier; and whether, in view of the understanding that the Royal Army Medical Corps officers in Captain Foster's position were to be brought home as soon as possible, he is now able to direct this officer's return?


I will answer these two questions together. The cable to which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Lieut. -Colonel W. Guinness) alludes was a general one sent out to all commands overseas and was to the effect that any officers who became surplus to the requirements of any particular command should be transferred to the home establishment. It is a fact that a certain number of officersen route to the United Kingdom have been retained in India as an emergency measure owing to the impossibility of providing reinforcements. Instructions have, however, been issued that all such officers who are unwilling to continue to serve in India are to be sent home as soon as their services can be spared. Endeavours are also being made to obtain officers for service in India under a new contract, and these will be used to replace those eligible for release. I am informed that Captain Malcolm Foster, who is referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dumfries (Major W. Murray), embarked for Mesopotamia on the 24th August, 1916, and left there on the 5th May, 1919. No information has been received as to his having been stopped at Bombay, but no doubt he is one of the officers retained in the circumstances I have mentioned.