HC Deb 16 May 1939 vol 347 cc1182-3
41. Mr. Boothby

asked the Secretary of State for War whether His Majesty's Government will consider extending the annual period of training for those serving in the Territorial Army who are under the age of 25?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

To adopt the proposal would not be advantageous, as it would mean that complete units would not be present.

Mr. Boothby

Is the general question of the amount of annual training for the Territorials under the consideration of the War Office?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I made a statement on that subject a day or two ago.

Major General Sir Alfred Knox

Is not some increase in the period of training necessary to enable these units to go overseas within a reasonable time after the outbreak of war? If the period of training is not increased, will not the militiamen who have joined up know a great deal more about the work than some of the Territorials?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir; but my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that we are dealing with people who are engaged in civilian occupations, and there is a limit to the amount of training they can undertake.

43. Major Whiteley

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the grave dissatisfaction which will be caused in the Territorial Army by the proposal to terminate the existing service and status of all Territorial soldiers, however efficient, on their being called up for six months' compulsory training; and what steps he is taking to see that the implied lack of appreciation of Territorial training and standards of efficiency does not have an adverse effect on voluntary recruiting for the Territorial Army?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Men serving in the Territorial Army who were accepted before 27th April are not liable, under the provisions of the Military Training Bill, to have their service as such terminated and to be called up for six months' training in the Militia. In the case of those accepted after that date who become liable for service in the Militia, their Territorial service will reckon in diminution of the period of three and a half years' Militia service after the completion of the six months' course; and, further, they may then, subject to the approval of the Army Council, return to the Territorial Army in order to complete the balance of that period of service instead of remaining in the Militia. The value of Territorial Army service is fully recognised.

Major Whiteley

Will the Secretary of State give an undertaking that Militiamen who were serving Territorials at the time of being called up for their six months' training may afterwards, if they so wish, be reinstated in their old units, with their old Territorial rank and seniority?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I cannot give that undertaking, because, as my hon. and gallant Friend knows, that will depend on the commanding officer, but I should think it will be normal for him to reinstate a man in the position he had previously occupied.

Mr. Bossom

Will my right hon. Friend see that those who are called up and need a medical operation will have it without charge to themselves?