HC Deb 29 July 1952 vol 504 cc1246-7
15. Brigadier Prior-Palmer

asked the Secretary of State for War what periods of training are now given to infantry recruits before they go overseas.

Mr. Head

At the present time infantry recruits going to Europe receive a minimum of six weeks' training in this country; those going to the Middle East receive 10 weeks; and those for the Far East and Korea 16 weeks. These varying arrangements for training establishments in this country have not been altogether satisfactory, and we have decided to introduce a standard 10 weeks' period for all infantry recruits.

All recruits going to the Far East and Korea will receive an additional six weeks' training, as before, to bring the total up to 16 weeks, but it will be carried out overseas. In Malaya this will have the dual advantage of more realism in jungle training and a longer period of acclimatisation before men undertake active service in those theatres.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that reply will give very great satisfaction indeed?

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman regard it as wise to send men, for example, to Malaya, where there is jungle warfare, with only 10 weeks' training in this country?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir. I think that on the whole it is better for a man to go with 10 weeks' training in this country and have a regular course of six weeks' jungle training in Malaya, rather than have that extra six weeks in this country under very unrealistic circumstances, without experiencing local conditions.

Mr. Wigg

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether they have jungle training at Sandhurst?