Home Guard (Applications Refused).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 17th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that ex-Lance-Corporal Willis, who was discharged from the Army with a high character, made an application to join the Home Guard; that he was visited by two members of the Criminal Investigation Department, who warned him against making such application; on whose responsibility this visit was made; and why ex-Lance-Corporal Willis and ex-Corporal Mick Bennett, also discharged from the Army with a high character, were refused admission to the Home Guard?

Photo of Mr David Margesson Mr David Margesson , Rugby

I have no information about the visit alleged to have been made by two members of the Criminal Investigation Department to Mr. E. H. Willis. As the hon. Member is aware, full inquiries have been made into the cases of both Mr. Willis and Mr. Bennett. I am satisfied that the decision not to accept their application to join the Home Guard was taken in the best interests of the service.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Is it not the case that there has been no complaint against the character of either of these men, and that the only reason for their dismissal and the refusal to take them into the Home Guard is prejudice on the part of some of the reactionaries at the War Office, who are more concerned with political servility than they are with military efficiency?

Photo of Mr David Margesson Mr David Margesson , Rugby

I do not accept that for a moment. The Army must reserve the right to refuse to accept the services of men whom they do not consider to be suitable for the Army.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I beg to give notice that, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply and the conduct of the military chiefs, I intend to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.