HC Deb 27 November 1956 vol 561 cc209-10
18. Dr. Stross

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will order that the punishment awarded to Private K. Mason, of the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, for having his hands in his pockets and standing bareheaded whilst attending an open-air fete, be expunged from his records.

Mr. Hare

No, Sir. As my hon. Friend explained to the hon. Member in his letter of 20th November, this punishment was not irregular, and I think that such minor disciplinary cases are best dealt with by commanding officers.

Dr. Stross

Does not the Minister accept that this is a very unusual case? Is it not true that there are recruiting posters asking men to join the Services, depicting men without their hats on and in uniform with the caption, "This is the life "? Does the right hon. Gentleman not really think that, in view of the fact that if schoolboys were to sneak on their fellow-schoolboys in this way they would be sent to Coventry, it is time that we stopped this sort of thing altogether?

Mr. Hare

I know that everyone has his own opinion on this matter, but I think everyone agrees that soldiers off duty must maintain a reasonable standard of deportment and discipline. Also, it is extremely difficult to draw the line between this kind of case and that of the themselves but for their families, than Service men of other ranks.

Mr. Fernyhough

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Following is the table:

soldier who is obviously shabbily dressed, slopping about, and doing no credit either to himself or to the Army.