§ Dr. WORSFOLD
asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Percy Sanford Lewis, who joined the Civil Service on 26th August, 1901, as an architectural draughtsman and surveyor, and after fulfilling his duties in a satisfactory manner at Colchester, Bermuda, and in the Barrack Construction Directorate at the War Office branch in Pall Mall, joined the Army in November, 1916, as a sapper in the Royal Engineers; that he entered the Army under the Regulations contained in the Office Memorandum, No. 769, of 22nd August, 1914, which specifically states that the civil posts of those Civil servants, of whom Percy Sanford Lewis was one, would be kept open until their return from naval or military service, and that such service would count for civil pension and increment of civil salary, and further, that all ranks would receive civil pay, from which Navy or Army pay and allowances, including Army separation allowance, would be deducted; that whilst on active service he was sent to hospital at Etaples, on 18th May, 1918, for illness contracted whilst on such service; that whilst he was ill in hospital his wife received formal notice of discontinuance of her husband's services, and was informed that as the post held by him had been abolished no payment would be made for any period after 30th November then next, on the ground that this was the period of notice to which he was entitled under Regulations, this notice being in direct contradiction and breach of the Regulations under which he joined the Army; that, on 12th December, 1918, a letter was sent to him stating that the Treasury had consented to the continued issue of his civil pay during the period of his military service; that on his being placed on Reserve, in February, 1919, he wrote them on the 17th of that month that he was on leave pending an appointment according to guarantee, to which no answer was received, and that on 11th March he received a letter from the War Office stating that inquiries had been made to ascertain if his services could be utilised, and that there was no opportunity availble, but that his name had been forwarded 776W to the Local Government Board, to which on 12th March he replied, pointing out that the obligation to keep open his post was contained in the War Office Memorandum, No. 769, as quoted above, and that seventeen and a half years' service, with three in Bermuda, counted as double, making a total of twenty and a half years, entitled him to more consideration, and that in answer a letter was written by the War Office to him, on 25th March, 1919, stating that the Department had no opportunity of finding him employment; and whether the Secretary of State for War will make inquiries into this case with a view to this man receiving proper treatment and reinstatement having regard to his long Government service, and having regard also to the fact that practically the whole of his fellow members on the staff of the Directorate of Barrack Construction employed at the time of its abolition, and many of them junior to him in length of service, were transferred to other posts in the Civil Service, as he would have been had he not been at the time in the British Expeditionary Force abroad?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The facts regarding Mr. Lewis's services in the Directorate of Barrack Construction areas stated by my hon. Friend, and it is also true that he entered the Army under the conditions laid down by the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury with respect to Civil servants who joined the naval and military forces of the Crown with the permission of the heads of their respective Departments during the war emergency, namely, that their civil posts would be kept open until their return and that they would receive their civil pay, less Navy and Army pay and allowances, during their service with the forces. While Mr. Lewis was serving with the Army the Directorate of Barrack Construction was abolished, and it became necessary to give formal notice of discontinuance to the members of the staff of the Directorate, including Mr. Lewis. It was subsequently decided that the issue of the balance of civil pay to those serving with the forces should be continued until their return to civil life (provided they did not re-engage or extend their naval or military service). It was, however, impossible to reinstate them in their former posts on return to civil life for the reason that those posts had in the meantime been abolished. Every possible effort has been and is still being made to 777W find further employment for these officials, either in this or other Government offices. In many cases these efforts have been successful, but a number, including several with longer service than that of Mr. Lewis, are still unfortunately unprovided for.