§ The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison)
Regimental anniversaries are occasions of importance to present and past members of the regiment and to their relatives, including the relatives of those who have given their lives while serving with the regiment. My right hon. Friend considers this to be a fitting occasion on which a compulsory parade should be held in conjunction with an act of corporate worship.
§ Mr. Wyatt
Will the Under-Secretary remember that when arrangements were made directly after the war for the curtailment of church parades, it was intended that they should be confined to days of local or national importance, and that the occasion he described cannot strictly be included in either category? Will he bear in mind that there is a tendency on the part of commanding officers to try to extend the number of days on 23 which they can hold compulsory church parades, and warn them that they should not do so?
§ Mr. Hutchison
I could not agree with the hon. Gentleman that a regimental anniversary is not a day of local importance. Such anniversaries are rare, and are of great importance to the regiment.
§ Mr. Simmons
Is the Minister aware that, as an old soldier, I cannot understand this? In my day regimental pride was a thing we had, and if there is regimental pride why should there be need of compulsion?
§ Mr. Hutchison
As one old soldier to another, may I say that I think most of us well understand that occasions such as regimental anniversaries are times of pride to a regiment and that the men are only too glad to take part in them.