HC Deb 27 June 1939 vol 349 cc192-3
24. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the number of nominations to the staff college for the Tank Corps are six as against only four for the cavalry; and, in view of the amalgamation of both these services into the same armoured corps, and seeing that the numbers of cavalry officers are three times the numbers of Tank Corps officers will he readjust these nominations accordingly?

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Hore- Belisha)

The allotment of vacancies by competition and nomination for Camberley and Quetta is considered together, and does not entirely depend on the number of officers in the arm of the Service concerned, but also on the number of officers who have qualified by examination. This year, there were nine cavalry officers and 13 officers of the Royal Tank Regiment who were qualified, and the vacancies allotted were six and eight respectively. A larger allocation of vacancies to cavalry officers at the expense of officers of the Royal Tank Regiment would not have been fair to the officers concerned.

Brigadier-General Brown

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that recently qualified cavalry officers have not been fairly treated in not being given nominations when they have passed their examinations; and will he see that the examinations are fair, as between the two branches?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I think my answer made it plain, that there were nine cavalry officers qualified, and six admitted, whereas 13 officers of the Royal Tank Regiment qualified and eight were admitted.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these were from Camberley and how many from Quetta?

Mr. Lawson

Have these cavalry officers had any experience in mechanised units?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir, and they will progressively gain more experience.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is there any suggestion that the old school tie operates in the selection of these officers?