HC Deb 28 May 1940 vol 361 cc402-4
7. Colonel Wedgwood

asked the Secretary of State for War whether members of the Civilian Defence Force will be allowed to use their own firearms pending the issue of Service rifles, and to obtain ammunition for them?

Mr. Law

There is no reason why members of the Local Defence Volunteer Force should not use their own firearms and obtain ammunition for them for the purpose of their duties, so far as it is available.

10. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider the desirability of enlisting all lorry drivers as members of the Local Defence Volunteer Corps to combat the parachute menace, and of providing such drivers with suitable arms?

Mr. Law

The Local Defence Volunteer Force is essentially for static defence and it is not anticipated that lorry drivers will be required except in isolated instances, in which case the provision of arms would rest with the local commander.

21. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Secretary of State for War whether retired officers, no longer on the reserve, who are authorised to wear uniform on appropriate occasions, may wear their old uniform if hunting enemy parachutists, without being specially enrolled in the new anti-parachute corps?

Mr. Law

My hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion is, I fear, quite contrary to the principles on which the scheme for the Local Defence Volunteer Force is based.

24. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make arrangements so that rifle and small arm ammunition may be issued free to the 2,326 miniature rifle clubs, thereby enabling the maximum use to be made of their ranges for the purpose of training members of the Local Defence Volunteers?

Mr. Law

It is not considered necessary to issue rifles and ammunition to miniature rifle clubs, but these clubs can assist materially by offering their ranges for the use of Local Defence Volunteers, who can be trained there by the use of the rifles and ammunition allotted to them for the purpose.

Mr. Stokes

The information received from the Association of Miniature Rifle Clubs is that they are not getting free issue of ammunition and that, therefore, they are restricted in their activities?

Mr. Law

I do not think the hon. Member has quite followed the reply. I said that the clubs could assist materially by offering the use of their ranges to volunteers armed with their own rifles.

Mr. Stokes

Will they be given a free issue of ammunition?

Mr. Law

Volunteers will have a free issue.

15. Mr. Silkin

asked the Secretary of State for War what precautions are being taken to prevent the enrolment of Fascists, Communists and other potential fifth columnists to the Local Defence Volunteer Force; and whether he is satisfied that the precautions taken are adequate?

4. Mr. Poole

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will ensure that the fullest possible inquiries are made into the bona fides of persons recruited for local defence corps before issuing arms and ammunition to these persons, thus obviating any risk of such arms being placed in the hands of fifth columnists in this country?

Mr. Law

It would not be in the public interest to specify in detail all the precautions taken, but I am satisfied that everything that can be done is being done.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister aware that Communists never were and never will be potential fifth columnists?