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British Army

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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Discharged Personnel (King's Badge)


asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that disappointment and a sense of griev- ance is increasingly felt by many officers and men who volunteered and were accepted for service early in the war and have since been discharged, without a pension, on grounds of ill-health, owing to the fact that they are still ineligible for the King's Badge, he will now give further consideration to their desire to be granted this tangible sign of their service?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Basset-law (Mr. Bellenger) by the Deputy Prime Minister on 9th June, 1942, of which I am sending him a copy.

In view of the disappointment which the answer will cause among ex-Service men, could the hon. and learned Gentleman hold out any hope that the matter will be reconsidered?

Soldiers' Death, Detention Camp (Court Of Inquiry)


asked the Secretary of State for War what measures he intends to take to prevent a recurrence of the Army treatment which resulted in the recent death of Rifleman Clayton in the Gillingham detention camp; and whether consideration will be given by way of pension or grant to the dependants of the deceased soldier?

As my right hon. Friend promised in answering several Questions on this distressing case on 18th May, a military court of inquiry will now be held into the circumstances of this case and will deal fully with all the issues raised. Any question of an award to dependants will be considered by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions.

Does the Secretary of State himself really appreciate that the country has been profoundly disturbed by the revelations in this case and that nothing short of some drastic measures will satisfy public opinion?

I can certainly answer the first part of the question in the affirmative. As regards the other part, I can assure the House that this court of inquiry will have the fullest possible terms of reference in regard to this particular case. It is hoped that it will commence its sittings in the next few days.

My hon. and learned Friend said that all the circumstances will be taken into consideration; will those circumstances include a general consideration of the medical arrangements?

Certainly, Sir. I said that there would be the fullest possible terms of reference in regard to this particular case.

Will the inquiry include other detention camps and the recommendations of the jury with regard to them?

This court of inquiry will consider only the situation in relation to this particular camp.

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these cases are becoming far too frequent and that there is a general feeling that there ought to be an inquiry into all the detention camps and adequate medical staffs so that this sort of thing will not occur again?

If my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to cases of violence, his statement is not correct. During the last 18 months there have been four cases reported and convictions in two of them.

Is not my hon. and learned Friend aware that this is not the only fatal case in such circumstances, and does he not think that the time has come when there might well be, in order to satisfy public opinion, a full inquiry into the conduct of all detention camps?

I am not aware that there are other cases where death has resulted from violence in detention camps.

Have the Army Council considered the statement made by the Judge and jury in this case?

Certainly it has been brought to the notice of the military authorities, but nothing can be done until the court of inquiry has sat, received evidence and made its report.

Occupied Countries (Post-War Policing)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider the possibility of mobilising at the conclusion of hostilities all fit men in industry, Home and Civil Defence personnel and others who have not served overseas during this war, to provide a force for the policing of occupied territories so that many of those now serving overseas in the Army may be demobilised and returned home?

The whole question of the continuance of compulsory military service after the cessation of hostilities is being considered, but I am not prepared at present to make a statement as to the circumstances likely to obtain at the end of the war.

Would this question of fit men also include young men who are Members of Parliament at the present time?

Service Administrative Duties (Women)


asked the Prime Minister whether, with a view to relieving junior male officers for more active duties at home and overseas, he will consider selecting officers of the Women's Services in the Navy, Army and Air Force for employment in their place in administration duties in static offices at home?

Yes, Sir. This policy has been pursued for some time in all three Services.

National Nutrition Organisation


asked the Prime Minister what steps it is proposed to take in this country to implement the recommendation of the Hot Springs Conference that every country should establish a national nutrition organisation composed of authorities in health, nutrition, economics and agriculture?

There exists already in this country a Standing Committee on Nutrition, composed of representatives of various Government Departments and scientific bodies, which performs all the functions recommended in this connection at Hot Springs.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether the International Labour Office has been invited to co-operate in this matter?

I should be glad if my hon. Friend would put that question down. I know it has been associated in some way, but without notice I cannot say exactly how.