HC Deb 12 April 1945 vol 409 cc1967-8
35. Dr. Little

asked the Secretary of State for India whether arrangements have been made whereby Britishers serving with the Gurkhas will have the right to vote by proxy at the General Election.

Mr. Amery

Yes, Sir; the original omission to provide for British personnel of the Indian Army was corrected in the Representation of the People Act, 1945, and British officers of the Gurkha units of the Indian Army are in the same position in this respect as officers of other units of the Indian Army.

Dr. Little

In view of the fact that these amended arrangements only came into force after the proxy papers had been lodged here, will my right hon. Friend extend the date, which was 9th February, for lodging the proxy voting papers, as there are very strong feelings on the matter?

Mr. Amery

I am afraid it would not be possible to extend the date of the actual registration when the register has been completed, but if a subsequent register is made, any later applications can come into it.

Mr. Sorensen

Is the term "Gurkhas" a synonym for Ulster men?

36. Sir John Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can now state the number of British officers who were compulsorily commissioned in the Indian Army; how this arose; and when they will be allowed, at their option, to transfer to the British Service.

Mr. Amery

At a time when the need for officers for the Indian Army was acute, some 3,000 British other ranks were commissioned into the Indian Army after completing officer training without being specifically asked whether they volunteered to do so or given the option of being commissioned in the British Service. It is only to this extent that compulsory commissioning can be said to have occurred. The conditions on which these officers will be permitted, if they so desire, to transfer to the British Service have been laid down by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War and accepted by the Government of India. I will circulate these with the OFFICIAL REPORT. The Government of India will shortly issue orders accordingly.

Mr. Vernon Bartlett

Will these arrangements enable these men to be repatriated to this country in the same conditions as those serving in the British Army?

Mr. Amery

Subject to operational conditions they will have the same eligibility.

Following is the statement of conditions of service:

  1. (a) Officers on transfer will be liable to continue to serve with Indian Army units for as long as required: or to serve elsewhere as ordered;
  2. (b) they, will have to accept rates of pay appropriate to British Service officers wherever they are ordered to serve, but if attached to the Indian Army will continue to receive Indian Army rates;
  3. (c) they will become subject to the British Service War Time Promotion Code as modified to meet Indian conditions;
  4. (d) they will have to transfer in their substantive or war substantive rank, retaining existing seniority provided that they have qualified by service, etc., for their rank as laid down for promotion under British Service rules;
  5. (e) retention of acting or temporary rank will depend upon the appointment to which they are posted on transfer;
  6. (f) Infantry officers will be given a choice of three regiments into which they may be transferred, but no guarantee can be given that they will be transferred to the regiment of their choice;
  7. (g) technical qualifications of those who wish to transfer to technical corps will be subject to verification before they can be accepted;
  8. (h) they understand that their entitlement to despatch to United Kingdom under the PYTHON Scheme must depend on operational requirements and the ability to find replacements from other theatres of war.