HC Deb 08 February 1944 vol 396 cc1602-3
8. Commander Locker-Lampson

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in enrolling men and women for the Forces, only the date of birth and no more will be asked so that there shall be no chance of publicity of illegitimacy.

Sir J. Grigg

A man enlisting voluntarily in the Army may be asked to produce his birth certificate and women and youths must always produce them. This provisions is necessary as a check on false statements, particularly where the age limits for enlistment are narrow as in the case of young women and youths. Once recruiting officers have verified the date of birth the certificate is immediately returned, either to the parents of the boy, or to the recruit, and the possibility of publicity such as my hon. and gallant Friend fears is in practice very slight.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is an opportunity of branding people whose illegitimacy would never become known but for this arrangement? Does it not mean that——

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and gallant Member is now putting forward an argument.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the Minister consider, in these circumstances, accepting a certificate from the registrar as to the date of birth, without other arrangements being made?

Sir J. Grigg

I will certainly consider that but it does not seem to me that there should be, unless these regulations are broken, any opportunity for the kind of undesirable publicity which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Handsworth (Commander Locker-Lampson) fears.

Miss Rathbone

Is not the real remedy a definite change in the form of the birth certificate, as the difficulty applies to civilians as well as to people in the Services?

Sir J. Grigg

Luckily, that is one of the matters which is no concern of mine.

Mr. Thorne

Would not the doctor's receipt be quite sufficient?

Forward to