§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. J. Lawson)
With the permission of the House, I will make a statement about the Home Guard. As the House will 419 remember, it was decided.a year ago that the Home Guard need no longer be kept on a war footing. Parades ceased in September, 1944, and orders were issued for it to "stand down" on 1st November. A delay in formal disbandment was, however, desirable to facilitate the recall of arms and equipment. As the result of excellent co-operation by units of the Home Guard and by Territorial Army Associations and their staffs, which reflects great credit on all concerned, the return of arms and equipment has been satisfactory, and it has now been decided to disband the Force. The necessary orders to effect this by 31st December, 1945, will now be issued.
From that date members of the Force will cease to be liable to recall and officers will relinquish their commissions and all ranks will be deemed to be discharged. Officers who have given satisfactory ser vice will, however, be granted honorary rank in the highest rank they have held for an aggregate period of six months. Permission will be given to wear uniform in connection with official and victory ceremonies, but when articles of uniform are worn for private purposes, all military insignia must be removed. Articles of uniform and equipment which they were authorised to retain on standing clown, will become their personal property and they can do with them as they please. I am confident that I reflect the feelings of the whole House in taking this oppor- 420 tunity of paying tribute to the invaluable services rendered by all ranks of the Home Guard, a citizen force without parallel in our long history, which sprang spontaneously into being to meet the greatest threat this country has ever faced.
§ Sir T. Moore
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) when he was Prime Minister did give an indication to the House that he would try to give effect to the natural desire of the country to pay a tribute to the Home Guard, by the issue of a special medal. I do not know whether further consideration has been given to that proposal by the right hon. Gentle man's successor the present Prime Minister. Can the Secretary of State now make a statement on whether it is intended either to issue a special medal, or to include the Home Guard in some other form of a victory medal?
§ Mr. Lawson
As far as I understand, the Home Guard gets the Defence Medal and a certificate. No consideration is given to anything further than that, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman's suggestion will receive consideration.