§ 68. Mr. MAXTON
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether Private W. H. Walker, a Territorial soldier, with an unblemished record of service in the 9th Battalion, Royal Scots, and in the Field Artillery, who has been 1891 dismissed by his commanding officer without court-martial for reasons which it is not in the public interest to disclose, will be afforded any opportunity to appeal against his dismissal?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Douglas Hacking)
No, Sir. A Territorial soldier who is discharged on the ground that his services are no longer required has no right of appeal.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Does that mean that this man must go through the rest of his life with the stigma attaching to him that he has been dismissed from the Territorial Force for reasons which are so grave and disgraceful that they cannot be mentioned publicly, and that he has no possible way of removing this stigma on his character?
§ Mr. HACKING
I can assure the hon. Member that there is nothing irregular at all in this. This dismissal is part of the terms of his engagement. When a soldier engages on the attestation form he is asked:Are you willing to be attested for service in the Territorial Army for a term of four years provided His Majesty should so long require your services?His Majesty does not require his services and so he is discharged.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Does that strike the right hon. Gentleman as either being fair play to the man concerned or a fair answer to me as a Member of this House?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Is it not the case that there are many people in this country who believe that it is something discreditable to serve in His Majesty's Forces, and is it not rather remarkable that those who share these views should object to a man being dismissed?
§ Mr. TINKER
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the cause of the dismissal? Our impression is that it was because he took part in a march, and, if that impression be mistaken, surely it wants clearing away?
Lieut. - Colonel CHARLES MacANDREW
Is it not the case that a Territorial unit commanding officer is entitled to ask men to resign on the 1892 ground that they are unlikely to become efficient soldiers, and that it is no disgrace on them at all?
§ Mr. MAXTON
Is the Minister aware that this man has a clean and good record of service in the Territorial Force? I must give intimation that because of the unsatisfactory nature of the handling of this matter I shall raise it at a very early opportunity.