87. Mr. CHANCELLOR
asked whether 150,000 gallons of rum has been supplied for the use of the Army; whether rum rations are issued in coffee or other beverages to soldiers who do not ask for or desire it; whether many total abstainers have thus been obliged to violate their pledge and to act contrary to the advice of the Secretary of State for War, or to go without hot refreshment; and, if so, whether orders will be issued forbidding the issue of rum or other intoxicants to any soldiers except those who apply for them?
§ 93. Sir GEORGE TOULMIN
asked whether a rum ration is in some cases given to the troops in the field in their tea, thus allowing no option of refusal to those who object to alcohol as reducing the efficiency of shooting and reducing the power of resistance of the body to cold and damp?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I will answer at the same time Question No. 93. A considerable quantity of rum has been supplied for the use of the Army, but I am assured that nothing corresponding to what is suggested in the second and third parts of the question of the hon. Member for Shore-ditch and in that of the hon. Member for Bury has actually taken place. The instructions provide that the rum ration is issued only on the recommendation of the medical authorities, and the unit is asked the number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men who desire such a ration, and the amount for that number only is issued by the supply branch. The actual issue is under the supervision of officers. Rum is not issued at home except in most exceptional circumstances. None has been issued this year.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Does the hon. Gentleman propose to allow a number of teetotalers to bully the Government in this matter?
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
As there is a large number of teetotalers in the Army, will my right hon. Friend see that some alternative is issued to them?
§ Mr. TENNANT
If my hon. Friend had heard my answer he would have realised that an alternative is given.