HC Deb 04 November 1919 vol 120 cc1300-1

asked the Secretary for War whether he can state the nature of the charges upon which Captain Sir Derrick Julius Wernher was recently convicted by court-martial and sentenced to be cashiered from the Army, and the reasons which led the Army Council to advise His Majesty to commute such sentence to one of simple dismissal from the Service?


Sir Derrick Julius Wernher was convicted by court-martial upon two charges under Section 40 of the Army Act of conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline in allowing Government lorries to be used for the transport of private goods of a Greek from Salonika to Sofia and Samakov, and in making an untrue statement in relation to the matter. With regard to the second part of the question the reasons for the advice that the sentence should be commuted from cashiering to dismissal from His Majesty's Service, were, because the conviction on another charge of conspiring to allow the same goods to be carried on Government lorries to be sold for the profit of himself and a civilian was quashed on legal grounds raised in a petition, presented by Sir Derrick Julius Wernher, and because the sentence had been passed in respect of the charge which was quashed as well as the other two charges. In view of statements which have appeared in the Press I desire to take this opportunity of adding that no communication whatever, either written or verbal in relation to the matter, other than the petition which Sir Derrick Julius Wernher was lawfully entitled to present, was received from any member of the Wernher family or any other person.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say, especially in view of the fact that a more serious charge was quashed on purely legal grounds, that there is not an atom of foundation for the suggestion which has appeared in the Press, to the effect that there was some social influence and some petticoat influence interfering in this matter?


I have gone most carefully into this matter, and there is no atom of foundation for suggestions of that kind.