Demobilisation.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 15th June 1920.

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Mr. PRESTON:

28.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether a soldier who has been demobilised in 1920 and has been granted a protection certificate (soldier not remaining with the colours) can be ordered to rejoin on the ground that he was demobilised in error; and under what legal authority can a demobilised soldier be called up to-day?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

A soldier who has been demobilised in error and who has colour service to complete may, under existing instructions, be recalled to the colours for the purpose of completing his term of engagement.

Mr. PRESTON:

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of my question and state under what authority a demobilised man can be called up?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

He is held by his original attestation.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams , Middlesbrough East

May I ask whether a soldier is not given a protection certificate when he is demobilised?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

If that were issued in error, it would be no cover to a man who originally attested for 7 years with the colours and 5 years with the Reserve as a soldier of the Regular Army.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams , Middlesbrough East

Are we to understand that the certificate issued by the military authorities is valueless?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, I do not think that would be the assumption, but there were millions of men, who served under the provisions of the Military Service Acts, who have been demobilised. They are entirely covered by the protection certificate, but men who engaged in the Regular Army but were demobilised in error are still covered by their original engagement.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams Lieut-Colonel Penry Williams , Middlesbrough East

But does not the right hon. Gentleman think that if the Army authorities have made a mistake they should stand by the mistake?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, I think ow duty is to endeavour to repair our mistakes, and, as far as possible, carry on as if they had not occurred.