HC Deb 27 October 1919 vol 120 cc300-1W
Captain BOWYER

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the facts of the case of Private F. Smith, No. 54260, late York and Lancaster regiment, who in August was court-martialled for desertion; that this man re-enlisted at the beginning of the year for four years with the South Wales Borderers, and came home on 12th March on three months' furlough; that on leaving France he was told to report at Brecon on 12th April, 1919, but subsequently received a letter from the York and Lancaster Regiment extending his leave till 15th June, 1919; that on 17th May, 1919, he received orders to report at Pontefract, but no railway warrant; that on 19th May. 1919, his discharge papers came from the York and Lancaster Regiment, whereupon he naturally concluded that his Army career was closed, which conclusion was strengthened by the fact that no order to report or railway warrant subsequently came from the Border Regiment; that at the termination of his furlough he got work in London, leaving orders that any papers which came for him should be sent on by express letter; that nothing further was heard from the military authorities until 2nd August, 1919, when he was arrested as a deserter, court-martialled, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment; and whether, in view of the fact that this man enlisted at the age of sixteen, and had been to France three times, and that the whole question of his failing to report for duty arose from a confusion of orders from two different headquarters, he will cause inquiries to be made into the whole case and the question of this man's sentence reconsidered?


Inquiries are being made, and I will acquaint my hon. and gallant Friend of the result as soon as possible.