HC Deb 09 April 1957 vol 568 cc944-5
13. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Secretary of State for War what proportion of men enlisted on Regular engagements of six years or more reach commissioned rank.

Mr. John Hare

The proportion of other ranks gaining commissions must obviously vary. I cannot therefore give a direct answer to my hon. Friend's Question, but it is our policy to provide every opportunity for suitable candidates. Last year, for example, 478 Regular soldiers were either granted commissions or admitted to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Mr. Kershaw

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the very long time which is necessary for men to spend in non-commissioned ranks is a disincentive to recruitment? Will he examine the possibility of other commissioned ranks on the lines of present quartermasters being instituted in battalions—such as administrative officers or adjutants—which would give a further outlet to the men who have served for so long?

Mr. Hare

I am interested in considering any useful suggestions of the sort put forward by my hon. Friend. Perhaps he will be good enough to keep in touch with me and to outline his suggestions in greater detail.

14. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers will be commissioned on Regular engagements during the calendar year 1957; and how many of these officers will be required, in due course, in the rank of lieutenant-colonel or above.

Mr. John Hare

About 500 Regular commissions are likely to be granted during 1957. Promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel does not normally occur until an officer has served for twenty years or more, and my hon. Friend will understand that I cannot forecast so far ahead.