HC Deb 07 November 1950 vol 480 cc747-8
13. Mr. Niail Macpherson

asked The Secretary of State for War on what grounds the system of organising infantry regiments in groups has been departed from in the arrangements under which Reserves drawn from Scottish regiments are being sent as reinforcements for the brigade composed of non-Scottish battalions despatched from this country for service in Korea.

Mr. Strachey

Infantry battalions in the United Kingdom which were selected for service in Korea were built up to strength by Reservists drawn from the Regular Army Reserve, who are liable for recall to any branch of the Army. Reservists from the groups to which the battalions belonged were insufficient to meet the requirements. It was, therefore, necessary to find the balance by calling up Reservists from other groups.

Mr. Macpherson

When Reservists are drawn into other groups in this way, does it not mean that when the groups to which the Reservists belong are subsequently sent abroad, Reservists may have to be drawn from other groups? Does this not entirely undermine the regimental spirit?

Mr. Strachey

We are concerned here with the Regular Army Reserve and not with the main Z Reserve of the Armed Forces.

Brigadier Peto

Has the right hon. Gentleman any ideas on the subject of reorganising the Reserves so that this sort of thing will not happen in future?

Mr. Strachey

It partly depends on the size of the Regular Army Reserve and the number of Reservists who have to be called up at any given moment. Owing to the relative sizes of those two figures today, this was unavoidable.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Is there any truth in the rumour that it is the intention of the War Office to adopt the group system generally for infantry regiments at home?

Mr. Strachey

That is entirely another question.