I suppose the Minister will say, when I have concluded, that he has no knowledge of the definite cases that I am going to raise. I want to assure him that I am not raising these cases on this Vote without having previously interrogated the Department concerned, both by interview and letter, endeavouring to get some redress for the grievances which I am now going to enumerate. In one case a soldier, while actually on the parade ground, was struck by the muzzle of a rifle on the eye and rendered unconscious for some time. He got sleepy sickness and was discharged. But we are told by the Ministry concerned that that ex-soldier is not entitled to any pension. The man has almost lost his reason, and he is incapable of presenting a case for himself. I have gone to considerable trouble to get a case stated for him. I have tried to get one soldier who is prepared to make a statement, but the other soldier concerned is not prepared to make a statement because it was he who struck the ex-soldier and is afraid of military discipline. The order was given to shoulder arms, a rather awkward movement, and it was while doing it the soldier inflicted the injury in the case I have mentioned. This man is afraid to make a statement for fear he would be subject to disciplinary action. I have no opportunity of focussing attention on this case except by bringing it before the Minister. I have repeatedly tried to bring it to the notice of the Department concerned, but have failed.
There is another case where two men were discharged as insane. One has been a few years in a mental hospital and is in a pitiable position. I saw him in the hospital. He is now ready to be discharged, but can get nothing in the shape of gratuity or pension to put him on his feet again in the civil world. He was sent home with an escort of a corporal and two soldiers. We are now told that this man was not insane in the Army. If not, why was he sent home in this manner? There is another case of a soldier who, after an ambush, suffered from the delusion that he was being pursued, and he went insane. In this case we are again told the same story, that he did not go insane while in the Army. He was handed over to the mental hospital. These are three of the most glaring cases that have come under my notice, and I think it is not fair that they should not get more consideration than the Department of Defence has given them. I want to assure the Minister that I did not take advantage of this opportunity to bring these cases without having tried on several occasions to get some redress for these men, but I have failed miserably.