HC Deb 05 July 1949 vol 466 cc1953-4
35. Major Beamish

asked the Secretary of State for War what are his new regulations regarding the wearing of swords, and what arrangements he has made to enable officers to obtain swords in future.

Mr. M. Stewart

Approval has been given for the resumption of the wearing of swords by Army officers on suitable ceremonial occasions. The rule is permissive and not obligatory. Corps or regiments will make their own arrangements to provide the swords required.

Major Beamish

Is it not a very untidy procedure that the rule should be permissive and not obligatory? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that regimental swords now cost between nine and 12 guineas, which is beyond the purse of the junior officer? Should not this matter be tidied up and arrangements made for the provision of swords at reasonable prices if they are to come back?

Mr. Stewart

I realise the expensiveness of swords. That is why it has not been possible to make it an obligatory rule at present.

Mr. Fernyhough

Will those who do not wish to carry a sword be allowed to carry a bow and arrow?

Mr. F. Lee

Will my hon. Friend re-lease some of this money to pay for some light raincoats for the troops?

Mr. Stewart

My hon. Friend has misunderstood me. My answer made it clear that we are not spending money on this matter.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a well-made bow and arrow costs considerably more than a sword?

Mr. Stewart

My experience does not go as far back as that, but I will accept the hon. and gallant Gentleman's assurance.