HC Deb 20 May 1952 vol 501 cc241-2
9. Captain Ryder

asked the Secretary of State for War in view of the fact that the term "private soldier" is an inappropriate description, if he will take steps to introduce a term more in keeping with modern conditions.

Mr. Head

No, Sir. This is an honourable and traditional title which is no more intended for literal interpretation than that of petty officer in the Royal Navy: and I am sure that the great majority of the Army would share my reluctance to see it changed.

Captain Ryder

Is this not a splendid tribute to the spirit of private enterprise surviving in the ranks of the Army?

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Minister aware that his answer will dispel the widespread anxiety felt in many quarters that there was to be some interference in the most important word in the ancient and honourable title of the Lord Privy Seal and of Privy Councillors generally?

Major Legge-Bourke

While I partly welcome the decision of my right hon. Friend on this matter, will he consider eliminating the impersonal word "personnel" from the military vocabulary?

Mr. Head

I am not fond of the word "personnel."

Mr. Hector Hughes

Would it not be appropriate to call them all "gallant gentlemen" regardless of rank?