I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether, seeing that the oath of allegiance is the only oath taken by the recruit on attestation, and in view of the fact that it has nothing to do with the question of his age, if he can explain what is the oath taken by the recruit which is held by the authorities as sufficient for reckoning his true age for Army service; and can he state what are the obstacles which prevent a system being adopted which would ensure punishment on conviction for any false statement as to age on the part of the recruit.
On attestation the recruit signs a solemn declaration that the answers he has made to the various questions put are true. This declaration is signed also by a witness. As a man's actual age is held not to be a matter within his personal knowledge, it is not considered possible to take proceedings against him for a false answer.
But the noble Lord in a former answer said the age given by a recruit on oath was held to be the true age for army purposes.
I unfortunately used the word "oath" instead of "solemn declaration."
Is the noble Lord aware that while a recruit may be punished for false answers, the question of age is not one of them?
[No answer was given.]