§ Mr. WATERSON
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has now concluded his inquiries into the case of Rifleman M. H. Stoker, No. 40470, 3rd battalion Rifle Brigade, as promised on 5th November last?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am informed that Rifleman Stoker was enlisted at Mill Hill on 2nd December, 1919, and was discharged on 5th December, 1919, as he was then under 17 years of age, the date of his birth being 21st December, 1902. It appears that he then went to Winchester where he was enlisted on 30th December, 1919, having stated that his age was 18 years and 14 days. He did not reveal the fact that he had previously attested and had been discharged. Consequently the authorities at Winchester were not aware of this and I gather they had no reason to doubt Stoker's statement as to his age. A full report on the circumstances of his enlistment at Winchester on 30th December, 1919, is, however, awaited from the military authorities in the Southern Command, and I will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as it is received. I would add that applications for Stoker's discharge from the Army have already been considered in the Command and it was decided by the military authorities that as the case disclosed no grounds of extreme compassion his release could not be sanctioned.