HC Deb 27 March 1919 vol 114 cc613-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the area at present occupied by the 5th Army is being taken over by the French Army on the 25th March; whether demobilisation has been stopped for Royal Engineer signallers; and whether, in view of the fact that hundreds of signallers who volunteered in 1914 are being compulsorily retained, he will take this opportunity to release the older men?

Captain GUEST

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Men employed in the Signal Service are being demobilised as rapidly as circumstances permit, and every effort is being made to replace as early as possible those who are eligible for demobilisation, and whose services are temporarily required. I do not think there is any reason to believe that the current instructions regarding demobilisation are not being carried into effect as expeditiously as possible.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether four men in the Royal Engineers (Signals) who are over forty-one years of age were sent to Murmansk, North Russia, against their will; whether he is aware that these men state that they were not asked to volunteer and that they did not volunteer; whether these men attested under the Derby scheme and were over forty-one when they were called up; whether the military authorities have informed them that the demobilisation proposals do not refer to attested men but only to men called up under the Military Service (No. 2) Act; and whether he will take immediate steps to ensure the release of these men at the earliest possible moment?

Captain GUEST

I am not aware of the cases referred to by the hon. Member, but if particulars of the rank, name, and regimental number of the men concerned are furnished, together with the date of their embarkation for North Russia, I will have inquiries made.