HC Deb 12 May 1936 vol 312 cc191-2

asked the Secretary of State for War the present number of recruits required by the Army; whether he is aware that many unemployed persons hesitate to volunteer for service in view of the fact that the lowest term of service for which they must contract is seven years; and whether he will consider the desirability of cutting such period down to two or three years in order to attract those who are uncertain about the advantages offered by an Army career?


Approximately 35,300 recruits are required during the whole of the current financial year to complete the Regular Army to establishment. As my hon. Friend will see from page 14 of the General Annual Report on the British Army for 1935, this number is about 10,000 more than has been taken in each of the past two years. I fully appreciate that the present terms of enlistment for the Infantry may not appear attractive to men who wish to serve for two or three years, but the difficulties which enlistment for the short period would present in regard to overseas drafting are very considerable.


Having regard to the difficulties which the right hon. Gentleman is experiencing in recruiting, has he any measures in mind for improving the conditions of service, and will he rely not only on cinema and other appeals for men to join the Army?


I have many such measures in mind, as the hon. Member will know if he has listened to my answers to previous questions to-day and on other occasions.

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