In reply to a question on July 5th, Mr. Macpherson stated in the House of Commons that Davies, Garland, Keighley, Middleton, and Price, the men sent to France at the beginning of the month, were “irregularly” sent abroad, and “should have been remanded for trial by court-martial in this country.” At the time of answering the question he had not managed to discover where these men actually were. The following letter was received by the parents of Davies when they wrote to the War Office to enquire of his whereabouts:
2nd July 1917.
Dear sir, – In reply to your letter of the 29th June regarding your son Joseph Davies, you may rest assured that if sentenced to imprisonment in France he will be returned to this country forthwith. I have not at the moment accurate information as to his whereabouts, but as soon as I am aware I will make a point of communicating the information to you.
It may be some reassurance to you to be informed that the current rumour that conscientious objectors are being spirited away to France with the object of their being shot is wholly untrue, and you need have no fear whatever in that regard. The last thing I desire is that men should be sent to France under improper conditions as it only entails their being brought back again and al loss of money to the public.
(Signed) B. W. Childs,
Director of Personal Services
As we go to press we learn that all five men have been returned to England.