HC Deb 23 January 1951 vol 483 cc4-5
7. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state his proposals for the organisation of the Home Guard by battalions or otherwise; whether battalion areas will be the same as those of the last war; and whether detachments will be formed as in the last war for duty with anti-aircraft guns.

Mr. Strachey

It is proposed that, in the event of an emergency, the Home Guard would be organised in much the same way as it was in the last war. Details have, however, yet to be settled and battalion areas cannot yet be stated. One of the possible roles of the Home Guard will be to supplement the antiaircraft defences.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that improvisation never produces efficiency, and would it not be better to organise in quick time and before an emergency arises, if there is to be an efficient Home Guard when the time comes?

Mr. Strachey

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence announced, it is not proposed to raise the Home Guard before an emergency, for reasons which the Minister gave and which were strongly supported by his military advisers.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is the Minister aware that the lack of a clear announcement about the Home Guard is having a most prejudicial effect upon recruitment for Civil Defence?

Mr. Strachey

I cannot agree that my right hon. Friend's announcement was unclear.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

What does my right hon. Friend mean by an emergency? Is it a war? Why not use plain words?

Mr. Strachey

For the simple reason that I am not willing to commit myself that in no circumstances would the Home Guard be raised before the actual outbreak of war.

Mr. Bossom

Can the Minister say whether the equipment and arms are ready for this body when it is incorporated?

Mr. Strachey

I cannot add to what the Minister of Defence has said.

Forward to