HC Deb 05 December 1939 vol 355 c430
33. Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Makins

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he realises the disappointment of candidates who were at school working for the November Army entrance examination, which has now been cancelled; and whether, in view of the fact that these candidates were desirous of making the Army a permanent career, any arrangements can be made to cover the period between the time when they leave school and the time when they will be called up for military training?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir, I am impressed by the natural disappointment which must be felt by those who were desirous of making the Army a career by entering one of the military colleges at the beginning of next year had the November examination not been cancelled. It is proposed, therefore, that those who can produce evidence that they were going to sit for the Army entrance examination in November should, if they wish, be permitted to enlist at the age of 19, or as soon as possible thereafter, instead of having to wait until they reach the normal minimum age of 20. They will be posted to other rank training units, and, after a period, if they are recommended, they will be sent to officer cadet training units with a view to appointment to emergency commissions. After the war, those who are so appointed will be eligible, in common with other holders of emergency commissions, for consideration for appointment to permanent regular commissions. Particulars of the scheme will shortly be circulated to headmasters and to parents or guardians concerned.

Sir E. Makins

Has the right hon. Gentleman also taken into consideration the case of undergraduates?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Undergraduates have had an opportunity of registering with the reception units, but, in any event They are older and the same argument does not apply to them as to these younger men.