§ 22. Major Milner
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that Captain H. J. Shadbolt, who had a distinguished career in the last war, being commissioned at the age of 18 years, and serving on all fronts, was wired to report on 7th September, 1939, forthwith re-commissioned, and posted to headquarters, home forces, but was shown in the "London Gazette" of 7th November, 1939, as having relinquished his commission; whether this officer has relinquished his commission; whether such relinquishment is in writing; and whether he is aware that the announcement in the "London Gazette" was made without previous complaint or notification, or compliance with King's Regulations, Appendix 23;
(2) whether he is aware that as a result of Captain H. J. Shadbolt being gazetted without his knowledge or acquiescence as having relinquished his commission, this officer was arrested and convicted of wrongfully wearing His Majesty's uniform; that, although he has notified the War Office of his desire to appeal, in accordance with the Army Act, no such appeal has been granted and the officer is now in Pentonville Prison; and whether he will secure his release pending the hearing of his appeal;
(3) whether he will set up an independent court of inquiry to inquire into the non-compliance on the part of the War Office with the Army Act and King's Regulation in the case of Captain H. J. Shadbolt, resulting in this officer being arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned?
§ Mr. Law
I have made full inquiries into the circumstances in which the emergency commission granted to Lieut. H. J. Shadbolt (he does not hold the rank of captain) was terminated, and I am satisfied that there has been no omission to comply with any provision of the Army Act or of the King's Regulations, and that there is no case for a court of inquiry. The officer was informed of the termination of his commission, and it was notified in the "London Gazette." He is entitled to appeal against the termination of his commission, and there has been no refusal to consider such an appeal. The prosecution for wrongfully wearing uniform was a civil prosecution, and the matter is not one in which I have any jurisdiction.
§ Major Milner
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there would have been no grounds for civil prosecution had the War Office not reported, or put into the "London Gazette," that this man had relinquished his commission? Would the hon. Gentleman answer my Question—did he, or did he not, relinquish his commission as stated in the "Gazette"?
§ Major Milner
Is it within the province of the Army Council to put into the "Gazette" that I—or any other officer—have relinquished my commission when, in fact, I have not done so?
§ Major Milner
Has any proof been forthcoming of that instruction? In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise the matter at the earliest opportunity.