§ Mr. N. M'LEAN
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Bombardier Thomas Macpherson, No. 99224, 391st Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, Italian Expeditionary Force, Italy, who enlisted in 1915 and has three and a half years' service, has not yet been demobilised, although he was stated to be demobilised by April; and that this man's firm have kept his place open for him and 1697W have a superior position to offer him if he can get his discharge within the next week or two; and what steps he proposes to take to enable this man to take advantage of the offer and place his services at the disposal of his firm?
Bombardier Macpherson is not registered by the War Office either as pivotal or for special release. I am also informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour that he is not so registered by his Department. I am informed that he actually joined the Colours in July, 1916, and he is therefore not eligible for demobilisation on account of length of service. His case has been considered on compassionate grounds, but as it does not come within the scope of the recent Instructions it is regretted release cannot be granted. If, however, he is eligible for demobilisation on any other grounds he will be released as soon as the exigencies of the Service permit.
§ Mr. HOHLER
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Private J. W. Bence, No. 593852, 426th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps, has five acres of land at Walderslade, near Chatham, which he was released to cultivate last June; and that he has now got the land into order and cropped but has received a notice recalling him to the Colours; and will he, in the circumstances of the case, withdraw the notice or release this man to continue the cultivation of the land, which is his own. freehold?
Authority has been given for the retention of 20 per cent. of soldiers for employment on the land. The selection of this 20 per cent. is in the hands of the local agricultural committees. Any application regarding the retention of individuals should be addressed to the committees.
§ Major HENDERSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether Captain R. Lennin, Royal Army Medical Corps, 1/1st Lowland Field Ambulance, has, now that his unit is under orders to return home, been reposted elsewhere; and, if so, whether instructions can be issued for this officer's release in view of the fact that he joined in 1914, that he has served overseas for over three years, and that an undertaking was given by the War Office that medical officers would be released as soon as possible according to length of service?1698W
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am informed that this officer is eligible for demobilisation, but that there are. still twelve officers serving in France and Belgium with prior claims to consideration. It is hoped, however, that this officer together with others who have greater or equal claims will be released shortly.