HC Deb 05 March 1940 vol 358 cc202-3
79. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for War why men of approved and excellent officer type still remain in the ranks of Territorial Army regiments in which they enlisted more than a year since, while their public school contemporaries are being sent to Officer Cadet Training Units straight from civil life?

Mr. Stanley

There are many more recommended candidates than can be absorbed at once in the officer cadet training units, and it is not practicable to devote all the vacancies to pre-war members of the Regular and Territorial Armies, though, in point of fact, some 65 per cent. of vacancies are so allotted. No men are now sent to officer cadet training units without preliminary training in the ranks in other units.

Mr. Williams

Is it not annoying to those who volunteered over 12 months ago to be left in the ranks while others who remained in civil life are sent straight to cadet units?

Mr. Stanley

That is not the case. As I have pointed out, nobody goes straight into a cadet training unit. They must all have preliminary training in the ranks. It is in recognition of the position of the pre-war soldiers, whether Territorial or Regular, that the majority of places are being reserved for them, but some must be reserved for the people who are joining the ranks now.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

May I ask whether the considerations mentioned in the Question in fact no longer obtain, and that henceforth qualities of leadership displayed in the ranks will be the sole factor determining commissions?

Sir Irving Albery

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in units of the Territorial Force there are to-day University graduates who are kept in the ranks and penalised solely because they joined up at an earlier date before the younger men joined?

Mr. Stanley

It is unfair to say that they are penalised. Nor am I prepared to assume that because a man is a University graduate he is automatically more suitable to be an officer. Every effort is made to give everybody in the ranks who displays qualities likely to make a good officer a chance of going to the cadet training unit.

Mr. T. Williams

Is not this a poor testimonial to the Territorials?

Sir I. Albery

As it is impossible to deal with this matter by Question and Answer, I beg to give notice that I intend to raise it on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.

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