HC Deb 15 April 1947 vol 436 cc8-10
18. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for War if the regulations have now been amended to enable ex-officers over 35 years of age to be eligible for permanent commissions in the Army.

Mr. Bellenger

As I indicated in reply to an earlier Question by the hon. Member the possibility of allowing released officers to apply for permanent commissions in certain cases was being reexamined. The decision has been taken that such released officers shall only be eligible to apply for permanent Regular commissions if they have first been granted short service Regular commissions. The reason for this decision is that it is considered inequitable to the candidate, who is still serving and who intends to make the Army his career, that he should have to compete for a permanent commission with candidates who have returned to civil life and wish to come back to the Army. In any case an officer over 35 would not be eligible for a permanent commission in one of the fighting arms except in very special 'circumstances.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why his policy is different from that of the Air Ministry, which gives permanent commissions to men who have been in civil life and come back into the Service?

Mr. Bellenger

It may be that my particular Service is a little different from that of the Air Ministry.

Mr. Lipson

Is the Secretary of State for War satisfied that he can get all the permanent officers he wants for the Army without adopting the suggestion made in the Question?

Mr. Bellenger

I think—and I hope I am not being unduly optimistic—that in time we shall get all the officers we shall want from the young age groups.

Mr. H. D. Hughes

Would my right hon. Friend look at this as far as the Army Educational Corps is concerned, where a number of older officers are leaving the Service because they feel that their Service commission is not sufficient for their permanent needs and, if they could take a Regular commission, they would now probably stay in the Service?

Mr. Bellenger

There, again, I am not pessimistic about the situation in the Army Educational Corps, but, at any rate, there is no age limit in respect of that Corps.