HC Deb 30 June 1942 vol 381 cc14-5
26. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the article in "The Engineer" of 12th June, 1942, a copy of which has been sent to him, asserting that Army officers with mechanical engineering training cannot attain such high rank in the Army as is possible in the Navy; and whether, in view of the importance of mechanical engineering in modern warfare, he will cause such a readjustment as to permit of such promotion for engineer-officers as will bring their advice and ability on to levels commensurate with the importance of mechanical warfare?

31. Mr. Higgs

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that officers in the Army who remain constant to engineering have no chance of rising to a higher rank than major-general; and, in view of the increase in mechanisation, will he investigate the possibilities of removing this restriction?

Sir J. Grigg

The importance of mechanical engineering in modern warfare is fully recognised, and the desirability of providing suitable promotion prospects for officers with mechanical engineering knowledge will not be lost sight of.

Mr. Higgs

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the engineer in the Navy can obtain the rank of vice-admiral, and in view of the complete mechanisation of the Army could he not consider granting equal rank in the Army to the engineer, that is, lieutenant-general? Would he give this matter further consideration?

Sir J. Grigg

Certainly I will consider it, but rank is not merely given as a personal tribute but in accordance with the responsibilities of the post.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman take into account the desirability of having on the highest councils of the war direction an officer with mechanical engineering knowledge, as it has contributed greatly to the lack of suitable liaison that there has not been that knowledge in the past?

Sir J. Grigg

I do not think that is so. There is abundant liaison in technical affairs between the Ministry of Supply and the War Office.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is there a single general who has risen from the ranks?