HC Deb 25 March 1952 vol 498 cc200-1

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:

89. Mr. ODEY: To ask the Secretary of State for War what arrangements are being made for Z reservists called up last year to volunteer for camp this year with their unit.

At the end of Questions

Mr. Head

Mr. Speaker, I should be glad to have your permission and that of the House to answer Question No. 89.

Any officer or man who trained under this scheme last year may now volunteer to train again this year. Arrangements have been made to accept these volunteers subject to the proviso that, in the case of T.A. units, the volunteers must live outside the normal recruiting area of the unit with which they trained in 1951. I hope that a number of men will take advantage of this opportunity for further training.

Applications should be sent to the War Office (T.A. 1), Whitehall, London, S.W.1, and should contain the man's name, Army number, address, arm of Service and the unit with which he trained in 1951. Before volunteering all men should, in their own interests, consult with their employers. I can, I feel sure, rely on employers to give wherever possible the necessary facilities to men who wish to undertake this further service on behalf of their country.

I understand that the Air Ministry are making similar arrangements, which will be announced in the Press.

Mr. E. Shinwell

Does this reply indicate that, in the opinion of the Government, the scheme has now proved to be a success, and is that not contrary to the predictions made by the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends in the debates last year?

Mr. Head

The announcement means only one thing, that some men have shown such patriotism and zeal as to be willing to volunteer for a further term of training.

Mr. Odey

My right hon. Friend will be aware that this arrangement will give great satisfaction to a number of men who are anxious to give National Service to their country.

Mr. George Chetwynd

Does this mean that the units in which the men originally served will not be the units to which they would be attached in case of emergency?

Mr. Head

The whole object of this scheme is that men who volunteer will once again serve with the same units in which they served last year.

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton

Does the right hon. Gentleman's original statement mean that Government Departments have been advised to grant the necessary permission in the case of Class Z volunteers already employed in the Civil Service?

Mr. Head

I gave the hon. and gallant Gentleman yesterday an undertaking that I would look into the point that he raised on that matter.

Major H. Legge-Bourke

Arising out of my right hon. Friend's answer to the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd), how is it going to be possible to guarantee to these men that they will go back to the regiments in which they served last time when, in fact, many of the regiments have left the country since then?

Mr. Head

If a man volunteers for a unit which is not available this year, of course he will not be able to go to it, but my hon. and gallant Friend will realise that these units have not left the country. There are no T.A. units out of the country.

At end of Questions