HC Deb 07 October 1941 vol 374 cc821-2
23. Sir Robert Young

asked the Secretary of State for War whether an order was issued saying that brasses on equipment were not to be polished; whether this order was in any way qualified in such a manner as to give officers in command power to ignore the order; and will he say whether equipment, including respirator case, as part of the order, should, or should not, be blenched?

Captain Margesson

Instructions were issued in November, 1940, that all webbing equipment brasses and other brass parts of arms and equipment used or worn, or likely to be used or worn, by troops during active service operations should be left unpolished. This order has not been qualified in any way and was, in fact, reaffirmed in July last. As regards the last part of the Question, existing instructions provide that the webbing parts of equipment including the respirator haversack should be cleaned and blancoed in order to preserve the qualities of the material.

Sir R. Young

Is not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is much dissatisfaction because brasses are cleaned in one unit and not in another, especially around Edinburgh, where it is being insisted upon by commanding officers?

Captain Margesson

I was not aware that there was great dissatisfaction on this point. As I said, this order was reaffirmed as lately as July last.

Mr. Bellenger

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman look into the question of various colours and expense, according to the taste of the individual commanding officer?

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Is it not true that some units like to be slovenly and that some like to be smart?