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Wednesday, 8 October 1941

Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) . - I have been attacked by Senator Sampson for something that I said apparently on the 26th June last. Senator Sampson rebuked me for not having mentioned names. I will now name those whom I charged. Colonel Chapman and Major MacDonald were sent back from Gallipoli after thelanding of the 18th Battalion on the 22nd August, 1915. Captain Hinton, the adjutant of the battalion, was sent away from the battalion after we had gone on to the desert of Egypt. I was present when Lieutenant Pritchard was stripped of his epaulets and cashiered by Major Goodsell because he was too cowardly to go out reconnoitring. I was one of the members of the reconnoitring party. Senator Sampson says that he has the records, but I was a witness. The men had to get an officer from another battalion, bring Major Goodsell out of the dug-out, and he was then cashiered for cowardice.

Senator Cooper - Is the honorable senator prepared to make those statements outside this Senate?

Senator AMOUR - I am telling the Senate now. After I returned from the war, I was assured by former members of the 18th Battalion that other officers were also cashiered.

If the records of the Department of the Army show that Colonel Chapman and Major MacDonald were not cashiered for cowardice, they may show that they were charged with, say, murder, which may have been a more appropriate charge. Probably, I was kind to them. How any honorable senator who was not a member of the battalion, had no knowledge of it and none of whose friends died as the result of the action of officers of that battalion, could say that I have lied, passes my comprehension. More men passed through the l8th Battalionthan through any other battalion which left Australia and only one of them was ever charged with any offence involving dereliction of duty. That man was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. It was one of the greatest miscarriages of justice of which I have ever known. His dereliction of duty consisted of his failing, when on outpost duty, to hear an officer, who had crept upon him, say, " Are you on your post?" Failure to hear was his defence, but he was sentenced in spite of it. Only one man of the 3,000 men in the 18th Battalion is shown by the records to have been charged with a breach of duty. Their officers, however, let them down badly. I assure Senator Sampson that I shall ask the present Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde) to check the accuracy of my statements and, if necessary, to have a complete investigation made of the reasons why those officers were cashiered from the 18th Battalion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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