HC Deb 16 January 1940 vol 356 cc5-8
10. Mr. Ede

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of the commissions granted since it was announced that all commissions would be granted

dealing with fatal accidents in collieries be available to Members of the House?

Mr. Lloyd indicated assent.

Following is the information:

from the ranks have been given to men whose last formal education was given in a university, public school, secondary school, and elementary school, respectively?

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

I regret that the information asked for is not available.

Mr. Ede

In view of the fact that a similar Question was on the Order Paper some days before the Adjournment, will it be possible to get this information, as it would go a long way towards proving the good faith of the Government in the pledges they have given?

Mr. Stanley

It would, of course, mean looking at every application for a commission that has been granted. The hon. Gentleman will see from an answer which I will give to a subsequent Question that even then it would not give a complete picture.

Mr. T. Williams

Is it not the case that without this knowledge about the granting of commissions hon. Members can never speak with confidence about the so-called democratisation of the Army?

Miss Wilkinson

Could not the right hon. Gentleman ask for volunteers from the women's voluntary organisations just to run through these applications? It would thus be easy to get the information.

Mr. Stanley

I do not know whether that would be an appropriate method. If the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) will wait for the answer to his next Question, he will see that the information would not necessarily be available.

14. Mr. Ede

asked the Secretary of State for War whether any statement is made on the form recommending a soldier for a commission of the places of education attended by the soldier prior to enlistment; and will he give details of the information with regard to education expected in connection with such recommendation?

Mr. Stanley

No particular standard of education is prescribed for candidates for emergency commissions. The form filled in by soldiers recommended for such commissions without further training in an Officer Cadet Training Unit provides for a full statement of technical and other qualifications and experience. No form is used when men are recommended for Officer Cadet Training Units, but the record sheet of a member of such a unit includes particulars of school or schools, university, languages and education certificate.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the proportion of university graduates sitting on the Front Bench opposite is much larger than among the commissioned ranks of the Army?

15. Mr. Ede

asked the Secretary of State for War how many commissions, other than for quartermasters, have been granted, between 3rd September, 1939, and the latest' convenient date, to timeserving soldiers of the Regular Army; how many to members of the Territorial Army; and how many to men compulsorily enlisted, respectively?

Mr. Stanley

The numbers, up to 6th January last, are 393, 1,617 and 207, respectively.

Mr. Attlee

Is it not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to get the information asked for by my hon. Friend with regard to the educational qualifications of officers who have been given commissions during the War?

Mr. Stanley

That point arose on the previous Question. If I may answer it again, the fact is that where a soldier is recommended for a commission without having to go to an officers' cadet training unit he does not necessarily have to give particulars on his form of the schools where he was educated, and therefore it would not be possible to get complete information.

Mr. Attlee

I gathered from what the right hon. Gentleman said earlier that he was going to give us more information when he answered the subsequent question. Would it not be possible to give us this information apart from that?

Mr. Stanley

I will certainly look into that question.

Mr. T. Williams

Is it not the fact that every applicant for a commission in the Army Reserve is called upon by the board to explain where he received his education?

Mr. Stanley

If I may answer the same question again, the position is that where a man is recommended for a commission from the ranks without going to an officers' cadet unit he does not have to state where he was educated, unless he claims to have a certificate, in which case he has to say at what school he received that certificate. Where a soldier goes to an officers' cadet unit he does not have to state before he goes there what school he was at, but while he is there particulars are taken and a form of record is kept, and I will see, having regard to that, whether it would be possible to give the information asked for.