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Lichfield Camp Palliasse Contracts

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 8 August 1907

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Mr. Mace, of Liverpool, obtained the contract for the supply of palliasse straw to the camps at Lichfield, which contract he arranged was to be carried out for him by Mr. W. H. Bowering, of Lichfield, and, on the latter inquiring from Captain Coulson, in command of the Army Service Corps at Lichfield, was told by him that the approximate quantity required would be 60 tons; whether he is aware that the camps only took 18½ tons, thus involving the contractor in loss, and that, on Mr. Bowering inquiring the reason for the diminished quantity required, one of the quartermasters informed him that they never did draw all that was allowed, but requisitions for the balance could be had for a consideration, such consideration being that the price of the straw undelivered was divided between the contractor and the quartermaster; if he can inform the House what was the name and corps of the quartermaster referred to; and what steps are being taken to inquire into the matter and to protect the public and contractors from being victimised by officers in the Army whose duties involve the ordering, passing, and receiving of supplies.

There is no information in the War Office concerning the alleged transaction. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief will be asked to forward a report on the matter.