§ MR. R. ASCROFT (Oldham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to the case of William Brennan, of Heyside, in the Parliamentary borough of Oldham, who was awarded a war medal for services rendered in 1878, 1879, and 1880, in the Afghan Campaign, and who was tried by court-martial at York in May last, and sentenced to ten days' imprisonment with hard labour for absence from training of the 4th battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment of Militia; and whether 1547 he will cause inquiries to be made with a view to removing the stigma of desertion from Brennan's name, and to grant him such further satisfaction as the facts may justify, and, with a view to the adoption of some new method by which the Militia may be called up for training, if the existing method should prove on inquiry to be insufficient or unsatisfactory?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The Secretary of State's attention has been drawn to the case of William Brennan. He was tried and convicted of the minor offence of absence without leave, and no stigma of desertion attaches to him. The usual notice of training was sent to Brennan's address by post, and was not returned through the Post Office, but Brennan states that he did not receive it. In addition, the usual notices required by Regulation were posted throughout the county or area to which his battalion belonged, and the Militia Act of 1882 provides that such publication shall be sufficient "notwithstanding that a copy of such notice is not served" upon the militiaman. Even if it be assumed that he did not wilfully absent himself, as he was convicted by a competent tribunal, and has no stigma attaching to him, the Secretary of State does not see what further satisfaction can be given to him. The Secretary of State will consider whether any improvement can be effected in the mode of calling up the militia for training.