§ Mr. SHORT
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) how many men who are telegraphists in civil life are still being retained with the 18th divisional signal company in Mesopotamia; whether these men are compelled to handle civil work, with the result that the military machinery is being used to retain them 236W for civilian purposes; and whether he will issue instructions that the whole of these men shall be demobilised as rapidly as possible;
(2) whether men who enlisted for the period of the War are being compulsorily retained in Mesopotamia for the transmission of ordinary commercial telegraph traffic; whether he will state the number of men so employed and the date on which they attested; and whether, in view of the Government's decision that all soldiers employed on civilian work must be paid the civilian rate of pay, he will issue instructions that all Post Office telegraphists compulsorily retained to handle commercial traffic between London and the East shall be paid the rate of pay proper to civilian wireless operators in the employment of private companies?
§ Mr. HAYDAY
asked the Secretary of State for War whether Sapper Walter Williams, No. 127,997, of the 2nd Wireless Signal Squadron at Baghdad, who attested on the 10th December, 1915, is still being retained with the military forces in Mesopotamia; whether he is being employed on civilian work; and whether he will issue instructions that no man shall be retained in Mesopotamia under the Army authorities for the purpose of dealing with civilian work?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I would refer the hon. Members to my written reply on this subject on the 17th November last. I have, however, telegraphed for a further report on the matter generally, and also with regard to the particular case referred to.