§ 6. Captain CLIVE
asked the Under-Secretary for War if he will consider, in consultation with the Commander-in-Chief at the front, the possibility of allowing men who have survived a year in the firing line to be exchanged into their Home 866 service battalion, seeing that at present a man has no chance of getting home unless he falls sick or is wounded?
§ Mr. TENNANT
While I recognise the desirability of providing rest for men who have gone through so much hardship and borne a heavy strain for a prolonged period, I fear the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion would withdraw from the Armies all the most experienced men and also officers, for such a rule could not apply only to men. To deprive the Army of so much valuable experience would not, I submit, conduce to the attainment of victory. I may add, however, that all such men as he mentions, other than those in prison or who have been for a long time sick, have been granted leave. The statement made in the last part of the question is calculated to cause misapprehension, and is not, I think, one to which extended publicity should be given.
§ Captain CLIVE
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether the services of these men would not be equally valuable in helping to train new recruits at home?
§ Mr. TENNANT
We have adopted that policy where it is possible with men who have been wounded, and who are here, sent from the front, but I submit that to deprive the Army of so much real experience and fighting power as suggested, would not be desirable.