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Compassionate Release (Rifleman's Occupation)

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the case of the rifleman he has been notified of who requested a compassionate posting on account of his wife's serious illness; was granted 12 months' release, maintaining his wife and family as a musician in a theatre orchestra; and will he take steps to have the rifleman's services used in the Army or, alternatively, have him transferred to war industry?

The rifleman will rejoin his unit this month on expiry of his present period of release.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that our man-power position does not justify this kind of thing, and will he take steps to warn commanding officers of the position?

The only logical conclusion to be drawn from that statement or Question of my hon. Friend is that there should be no compassionate release from the Army at all. It having been decided that a compassionate release was justified, it seems to me that for the man to earn his living by playing in a theatre orchestra is the method which best enables him to attend to his sick wife because of whose illness he was released.

But if compassionate leave of 12 months' duration is granted, is there no better way of employing the soldier than in a cinema orchestra?