Mr. T. WILSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether certain Irishmen in the Royal Engineers (Signal Section), stationed at Biggleswade, who voluntarily joined the English Army for the period of the War, are now being prevented from leaving the Army, and, in certain cases, are being prepared for overseas service; whether any steps are being taken to release these volunteers, a number of whom are skilled electricians belonging to the Post Office telephone and telegraph engineering departments, whose 1414W services would be more valuable and less costly if used for the maintenance and reconstruction of the telephone and telegraph service; and whether he will take the necessary steps to prevent these men being sent on foreign service?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
As regards the eligibility of these men for demobilisation, I am afraid I can add nothing to the information contained in the special Army Order of the 27th June, which was fully reported in the Press on the 29th June. Such men as are being retained are required in the Army for duty with the Signal Service, and it is not considered that their retention is more costly than would be the training of unskilled men. The training would occupy a considerable time, during which the men would necessarily be unproductive.