HC Deb 19 July 1944 vol 402 cc192-3
60. Sir T. Moore

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will consider permitting Austrian nationals serving in His Majesty's Forces to wear the flash "Austria" on their shoulders, irrespective of the unit in which they may be employed.

Mr. A. Henderson

I am afraid that my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion would cut across the existing system of badges for units of the British Army, and I am not aware of any exceptional circumstances which would justify a departure from this policy.

Sir T. Moore

Is the Minister aware that the Prime Minister himself declared that Austria would receive priority of consideration at the Peace Conference? Does he not think that this concession to our Austrian friends who are fighting with us would be very encouraging?

Mr. Henderson

I do not think that the question of Austria receiving recognition at the Peace Table depends upon the wearing of a flash.

Captain Alan Graham

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the leaders of the three chief United Nations made a special stipulation when discussing the future of Austria, that the Austrians themselves must co-operate? In view of that fact, does he not think it is only just that those Austrians who are definitely trying to co-operate to secure their liberation should be able to show it to the world by some sort of badge?

Mr. Henderson

All I can say is that it is quite inconsistent with the practice of the British Army that individuals should receive flashes apart from their unit badges.

Commander Agnew

Is the Minister aware that it is the practice in the Royal Navy that such badges are worn by individuals, and that it is optional on their part to wear them or not? Can he not extend a similar concession to the Army?

Mr. Henderson

I do not think the position in the Navy is analogous to that in the Army. Sailors serve in the Royal Navy, whereas soldiers serve in particular units of the Army.