R.A.S.C. Private (Release Application)

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th June 1945.

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Photo of Mr John Loverseed Mr John Loverseed , Eddisbury 12:00 am, 12th June 1945

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will now release, for employment in the Mercantile Marine, No. 14744013, Private A. W. Tann, R.A.S.C., who sustained injuries whilst chief engineer of H.M.S. "Empire Jonathon" on D-Day and who was subsequently arrested in Greenwich Hospital and enlisted in the Army.

Sir J. Griģģ:

An application for release from the Army for transfer to other employment of national importance can only be considered if it is forwarded by the Government Department concerned, in this case the Ministry of War Transport. I am sorry that in spite of my letter to him of 28th February the hon. Member has seen fit to put down his Question in the same misleading form as his original one. The Army had nothing directly to do with this man until 21st November, 1944, when he was released from Wandsworth prison after serving a sentence as a result of a civil conviction. His arrest in Greenwich Hospital was presumably connected with this conviction.

Photo of Mr John Loverseed Mr John Loverseed , Eddisbury

Is it not a fact that a man with the experience of this Merchant Service officer is of far more value to the Merchant Service than he is kicking his heels in the Army?

Sir J. Griģģ:

I understand, since the hon. Member has forced me into disclosing the facts about this particular man, that he left the Merchant Navy in circumstances which showed that the Merchant Navy had no longer any desire for his services.

Photo of Mr John Loverseed Mr John Loverseed , Eddisbury

In view of the discredit which the Minister is attempting to put upon this man's head, is it not a fact that after he was alleged to have been discharged from the Merchant Service he was found of sufficient use to take a boat to Arromanches on D-Day and drop the first blockship there?

Sir J. Griģģ:

I have never been able to verify that, but in any case the fact remains that the hon. Member keeps on accusing the Army of having dealt with this man roughly, whereas all the rough things that happened to him happened before he ever reached the Army.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

If this person is as terrible as the right hon. Gentleman alleges, why hold him in the Army?

Sir J. Griģģ:

The Army has quite often turned bad material into good.

Photo of Mr John Loverseed Mr John Loverseed , Eddisbury

Is it not a fact that when this soldier was arrested he was in possession at that time of his Merchant Service cards, and was in the uniform of a chief engineer in the Merchant Service, and despite that he was kept in the "rat pit" at Bradford, and had to suffer the indignity of cigarettes being thrown over to him by the guards?

Sir J. Griģģ:

The hon. Member produces a lot of lurid details which I am not in a position to verify. All I say is that when he was picked up he was picked up as the consequence of a civil offence.