HC Deb 19 February 1957 vol 565 cc181-2
6. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for War how many of the generals, lieutenant-generals and major-generals, respectively, on the active list of the British Army, are commanding formations; how many are employed at the War Office; and how many are not employed on any specific duties.

16. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for War how many generals, lieutenant-generals and major-generals are now on the active list; and how many of these hold commands.

Mr. Hare

One hundred and forty-eight officers of the rank of major-general or above are on the active list; 43 are in command; 40 are at the War Office; 51 are holding staff appointments elsewhere; 6 are on leave before retirement and 8 on leave between appointments or not yet appointed.

Mr. Bellenger

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the proportion of senior officers—major-generals and above—who are not holding commands is very high? Is it not time that some pruning was done in those ranks, because the proportion, if I am not incorrect, is higher than it was before the war, taking into account the size of the Army?

Mr. Hare

There must obviously be a considerable number of generals in directing posts at the War Office, but I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I will see that the number is kept down to the minimum.

Mr. Johnson

Can my right hon. Friend not answer my Question in the form in which I asked it, that is, to give me the details of the three different ranks and to say whether there are not far too many still employed?

Mr. Hare

That would involve a great number of figures [HON. MEMBERS: "Three."] No, it would be far more than that. It would be a very long reply, but I will see that my hon. Friend gets those figures.

Mr. Shinwell

What are 40 major-generals doing at the War Office? Will not the right hon. Gentleman look into this matter, and not seek to evade the issue by telling the House that these major-generals are engaged in direction of one kind or another? What are they actually doing?

Mr. Hare

I do not know how many there were in the right hon. Gentleman's time, but I think there was a considerable number. I assure him that I have every intention of keeping the numbers down.

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