§ 73 and 103. Colonel ASHLEY
asked the Minister of National Service (l) whether he is aware that Mr. Norman Strafford, of 95, Tonbridge Street, Leeds, an analytical chemist, has been called to the Colours, and is now serving; that this man, after a brilliant academic career, has been employed in work of national importance, i.e., the manufacture of T.N.T. and carbolic, particularly the preparation of meta and para cresols; that he was formerly graded as C1, but has now been placed in Grade 1, notwithstanding the fact that careful medical examination has shown a marked antero posterin curvature of the spine; whether, in view of this man's qualifications, his usefulness to his country as a chemist, and his state of health, certificates as to which have been sent to his Department, he will take steps to employ this man in such a capacity 482 as will enable him to do real service in his country's interests; (2) whether he is aware that Mr. Norman Strafford, of 95, Tonbridge Street, Leeds, aged twenty-one years and ten months, was attested at Manchester on the 8th December, 1915, and placed in category C1; that he was placed in this category owing to curvature of the spine; that on Monday, 14th May, 1918, he was medically examined at Leeds and placed in category Grade 1; that he was subsequently carefully examined by two medical men who agreed that he was not fit for Grade 1; that he received his calling up notice to attend at Harewood Barracks on 28th May; that he was subsequently examined at York by the military doctor there, who admitted that his back was not fit for Grade 1; that, notwithstanding, he was posted to a regiment and sent to a camp at Rugeley, Staffordshire; and whether, in view of this man's physical condition and his unfitness for military service, he will take steps to have him released from military service; and have him returned to his civil employment where he can perform work of national importance?
§ Mr. BECK
My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. As stated, Mr. Norman Strafford is an attested man aged twenty-one years and ten months, and was placed in Grade 1 on 14th May. I understand that Mr. Strafford made an application to the Appeal Tribunal for medical re-examination. This application appears to have been refused by the Appeal Tribunal as having reached them later than the prescribed date. This Ministry has no control over this decision. I am, however, having inquiries made as to the allegation against the National Service Medical Board contained in the question. I have examined the papers sent to me in regard to the technical qualifications of Mr. Strafford, but these do not appear in themselves to afford any grounds for the very exceptional action suggested by my hon. and gallant. Friend.