HC Deb 23 July 1934 vol 292 cc1531-3
51. Lieut.-Colonel CRUDDAS

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is in a position to state what steps are being taken to remedy the serious block in the promotion of officers at present existing in the Infantry of the Line as well as in other branches of the Army?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Mr. Douglas Hacking)

This question, so far as it affects officers of the Infantry of the Line, has been examined by a committee of which my right hon. Friend Lord Stanhope, a former Under-Secretary of State, was chairman; and as a result certain exceptional measures have been decided upon. The most important of these measures are as follow:

Promotions have been made to the ranks of major-general, lieut.-general and general, in the place of the general officers who have been permitted to retire prematurely. Their vacancies in the establishment of general officers had remained unfilled pending the dates when they would have been retired on completing three years non-employment, or have come within two years of the age limit for compulsory retirement or have died, whichever would have been the earlier. Certain reductions in the establishments of general officers will, however, be effected over a period of time, but the net result at the moment is to make some seven promotions in these ranks at once. There will be a consequential and increasing number of promotions throughout the lower ranks.

A number of officers of the rank of major or below, whose commissions bear a date before 1st January, 1919, will be invited to retire voluntarily with special terms as regards retired pay or retiring gratuities. If sufficient volunteers are not forthcoming, it may be necessary to select officers for compulsory retirement with the same special terms.

It is further proposed to exercise a greater degree of selection as regards the promotion of officers from major to lieut.-colonel. Majors will not be allowed to continue serving beyond three years in that rank unless they are considered fit to assume command, provided that no such officer will be placed on half-pay until he has attained the age of 45.

The position as regards promotion in certain arms other than Infantry of the Line is also being examined, but I am not in a position at present to state whether any special steps will be necessary in their case.

Brigadier-General NATION

May I ask whether the establishment of full colonel is to be altered and whether the length of period during which a full colonel can remain on half-pay will be changed?


I shall be glad if my hon. and gallant Friend will read the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It is rather involved, and, if he is not satisfied with any point, perhaps he will put down a question.

Brigadier-General NATION

My hon. Friend has not mentioned colonels in his statement. He spoke of general officers, but colonels are on a separate basis.


I said there would be promotions from majors to commands, and I also spoke of more vacancies so far as the higher commands were concerned. There is, therefore, a better chance of promotion from colonel to general.


In view of the fact that certain officers who ranked before 1919 are being asked to retire and are being offered special gratuities and pensions, will anything appear on the Estimates for this purpose, and will the alteration of any warrant be required?


Any change that requires a bigger grant will appear on the Estimates.


Will the policy of special gratuities to officers who retire be carried forward to the workers?