asked the Secretary of State for War whether time-expired soldiers returning from foreign service are entitled to any leave or bonus in lieu irrespective of whether they are retained beyond their time or not; and whether soldiers are given the opportunity to purchase or retain their warm clothing, if necessary?
Under present rules a soldier returning from foreign service for discharge is entitled to leave only if it can be granted within the period of his engagement. He is not entitled to bonus in lieu of leave. The question whether any change should be made in these rules is at present under consideration. In reply to the second part of the question, a soldier on discharge is entitled to keep all his personal clothing, e.g., boots, service dress trousers, underclothing, etc., but he cannot take away with him any article of public clothing, such as a uniform, greatcoat or foreign service helmet. He may, however, purchase a civilian suit (including a civilian greatcoat) from the Government or elsewhere, and he receives a money allowance towards the cost of this.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that soldiers returning from tropical countries will not be discharged minus a greatcoat and without money to purchase one?
That is exactly the question I have answered. The discharged soldier is entitled to purchase civilian clothes, including a greatcoat, either from the Government or from other sources, and he receives an allowance towards the cost of it.
I am not aware of it, and I would be much obliged if the Noble Lord would give me information that would enable me to identify any cases in which that has happened. It ought not to have happened.