HC Deb 01 December 1953 vol 521 cc927-8
3. Mr. Glover

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers now serving on a Territorial Army engagement have battle experience; how many of these officers are over 40 years of age; and how many of the officers in the field force units are still category A1.

Mr. Head

To get the exact details asked for would involve a special and laborious inquiry. I do know that in March this year about 3,400 officers in the Territorial Army are over 40.Nearly all of them served during the late war. As regards medical fitness, the exact position in Field Force units is not recorded day by day, but if these units had to be embodied the number of their officers unfit for worldwide service would be small.

Mr. Glover

If 3,000 or 4,000 officers are over 40, is my right hon. Friend happy about the command position in the Territorial Army when these officers reach retiring age in three or four years time in view of the fact that they are the ones with battle experience and also that today the Territorial Army is the Reserve Army and must, therefore, be ready for embodiment and action in a matter of three or four weeks? Does my right hon. Friend—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member must not ask supplementary questions which are too long.

Mr. Head

It is a big problem in the Territorial Army to find volunteers to replace the officers who are growing older. When we have a long period of peace, as we hope to have, there always arises a moment when we cease to have battalion commanders with battle experience.