HC Deb 08 October 1940 vol 365 cc227-8
17. Major Milner

asked the Secretary of State for War, whether any further decisions have been come to as to the future constitution, provision of paid whole-time personnel and similar matters affecting the Home Guard?

Mr. Eden

On my instructions, a number of questions connected with the Home Guard have recently been considered by a sub-committee of the Army Council. The inquiry of this sub-committee has now been completed, and I expect to be in a position to make a statement on the subject very shortly.

22. Mr. Cecil Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to the inquest at Brixham, on 6th September, on the death of a woman owing to the careless handling of a gun by her husband, a member of the Home Guard, and that in answer to the coroner a witness stated that rifles are handed to men who joined the Home Guard although they may have no knowledge of them; whether such a practice is authorised; and what steps are taken to prevent repetition of such a tragedy.

Mr. Eden

My attention has been called to this case, and I have called for a full report, which has not yet been received. In the meantime, I have seen a report of the evidence at the inquest, from which it appears that the man in question had handled a rifle previously on the range. As regards the last two parts of the Question, it is, of course, the rule that, as soon as a rifle is placed in his hands, a man should be taught how to handle it and the safety precautions to be observed.

24. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that many members of the Home Guard are also serving in the Auxiliary Fire Service and other Civil Defence services; that this overlapping causes expense, duplication and waste of equipment; and whether any arrangements are in view for combining the services of citizens more efficiently?

Mr. Eden

Members of the Civil Defence services are enrolled in the Home Guard only at the discretion and with the consent of the local authority concerned. I do not think, therefore, that there is unnecessary overlapping, but, if my hon. and gallant Friend will bring to my notice particular instances where he thinks waste is being caused, I shall be very glad to investigate them in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

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