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Written Answers

Volume 66: debated on Wednesday 26 August 1914

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Written Answers

Death Duties (Estates Of Officers And Men Killed)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government would be willing to exempt from Death Duties the estates of all officers and men in both Services who are killed in action or die from their wounds?

This question is receiving the careful attention of the Government, and I hope to be in a position to make a statement on the subject tomorrow.

Motor Cyclists (Imperial Yeomanry)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Special Army Order of 19th June, 1013, lays it down that the machines of motor cyclists specially enlisted in the Imperial Yeomanry are to be bought on mobilisation; that no provision is however made for the payments for such motor cycles and that the remount officers do not consider them to be part of the vehicles for the purchase of which they are responsible; that there is no provision made for any repairs or renewals which may be necessary; that as motor cyclists on mobilisation only receive Army rates of pay they are at present being put to considerable loss; and whether he will take immediate steps to authorise payment for the machines, repairs, and renewals?

The intention is that payment for these motor cycles should be made by local command paymasters on receipt of claims from commanding officers of units. Such claims have already been rendered in some cases and payment made. Commanding officers should arrange for any necessary repairs and renewals at the public expense; and no expense in this connection should fall on the motor cyclists themselves. To remove doubt in the matter, further steps are being taken to make clear to all concerned the procedure which should be followed.

Horses Unfit For Military Purposes

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Remount Department is at present not authorised to dispose of horses and transport bought during mobilisation and which prove unsuitable for military purposes; whether such horses and transport can now only be got rid of by the regiments to which they are allotted after a board of officers has condemned them and ordered their destruction; and whether, to avoid such waste of public money and to relieve the inconvenience caused by the general commandeering of means of transport, provision may be made for the sale by auction or otherwise by the Remount Department of any such unsuitable horses and transport bought during mobilisation?

I am informed that the facts are not as stated in the question. Horses found unfit for any military purpose are being disposed of in the usual way.

Togoland

Destruction Of German Wireless Station

I think the House would like me to read a telegram I have received, dated 25th August, from Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Bryant, the officer commanding the British Forces in Togoland:"German wireless telegraph installation at Kamina in German Togoland has been destroyed by enemy, and they sent this afternoon flag of truce offering, if given all the honours of war, to capitulate, and stipulating for specific terms. Bryant replied that they were not in a position to ask for terms, and that they must surrender unconditionally. He told them that we always respect private property, and that there would be as little interference as possible with the trade of the country and the private interests of firms. He has advanced and has occupied crossing at River Amu. The German answer is expected to-night or early to-morrow morning."