HC Deb 21 February 1924 vol 169 cc2005-6W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the fact that intimation has been given to some men employed at Woolwich Arsenal that their services will not be required after 31st March, 1924, and the reason given is that persons up to a certain age who did not serve with the forces will not be retained; whether he is aware that this order involves great hardship upon Mr. F. A. Shrives, of 20, Ridley Road, Forest Gate, who, engaged as a writer since November, 1914, could not enlist because of his medical category; and whether he will see that such men are not thus penalised?


I am aware that in pursuance of the policy recommended by Lord Lytton's Committee, and approved by His Majesty's Government, certain temporary clerks, both at Woolwich Arsenal and elsewhere, are being replaced by ex-service men. I understand that Mr. Shrives is one of the men who is being thus replaced, but whilst I greatly regret the consequent necessity for his discharge, I cannot hold out the hope that his replacement can be deferred further. He has had exceptional treatment in being retained so long. Any arrangement for exempting from discharge men who desired to enlist but who were prevented by medical or other reason from doing so, would not have been workable, and I greatly regret, therefore, that Mr. Shrives cannot be exempted from discharge by reason of his endeavours to enlist.