HC Deb 06 July 1948 vol 453 cc184-6
12. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the conditions as to candidature for Regular commissions through the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, with special reference to age, entrance examination, interview and qualifying service in the ranks.

Mr. Shinwell

There are two methods of entry to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. The first is for schoolboys who may take the Army Entrance Examination conducted by the Civil Service Commissioners. Successful candidates attend a selection board to be put through tests of personality and leadership. The top age limit for this type of entrant is 18½ years at the time of the examination. Unsuccessful candidates are eligible to try again by the second method.

The second method is open to all serving soldiers, Regulars and National Service men, who are below the age of 19½ at the time they would enter Sandhurst. They must first pass a War Office Selection Board, which tests all potential officers before training. These candidates do not have to take the written examination, but they are required to attend the same selection board as the schoolboy candidates, the procedure being augmented by the addition of an educational test.

All candidates for entry by either method must serve in the ranks for at least four months.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the entrance examination for those going in through the first method of entry is a competitive one or merely a qualifying one? As regards the interview, to what extent does a psychiatrist enter into the proceedings?

Mr. Shinwell

As regards the first part of the supplementary question, obviously there is an element of competition, because they have to qualify on the basis of the possession of certain qualities. A certain test has to be applied. As regards the second part of the supplementary question, I cannot say whether psychiatrists' services are available.

Major Legge-Bourke

Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is not a third method of obtaining commissions, especially in the technical arms? Is it not the case that a young man who has had a special technical training can get into one of the technical arms by other means?

Mr. Shinwell

That may well be, but this Question applies to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Mr. John Paton

What proportion of the total entry comes from the second category?

Mr. Shinwell

I have not the figures off hand, but I looked into them recently. It breaks about even.

Mr. Grimston

With reference to the first supplementary question and the qualification, does the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that any candidate who has passed the qualifying test will be passed for entry? Or is the number limited?

Mr. Shinwell

It depends on other factors. The candidate may possess the necessary qualifications but, for other reasons, may not be accepted.