HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc399-400
39 and 40. Sir E. Errington

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he has now agreed to the cancellation this year of the Aldershot Queen's Birthday Parade; whether he is aware that the parade is the only annual comprehensive parade of all units in the Aldershot district; to what extent the "At Home" proposed to be held a fortnight afterwards is designed to serve as a substitute for this traditional occasion; and if he will make a statement;

(2) why he has agreed to the cancellation this year of the Aldershot Show; and whether he proposes to reconstitute this limited form of army publicity at an early date.

Mr. Profumo

This decision has been taken because of our shortage of manpower. The usual comprehensive parade involves a good deal of special training and administrative effort. This year in its stead there will be unit parades to mark the occasion and the ceremonial artillery salute will be fired. The Aldershot Show has not been cancelled. It was decided last year that the 1962 Show would be held without the Tattoo which has formerly been an adjunct to it, and advantage has been taken of this arrangement to replace the Tattoo by an "Open Day". These arrangements will be reviewed next year.

Sir E. Errington

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it involves at most only two extra parades? Is he also aware of the value of this traditional spectacle and the fact that this decision to cancel it will cause a great deal of disappointment to those who live in the area? Concerning the Show, will my right hon. Friend make it quite clear that this year Rushmoor arena will be made available for civilian purposes of a show, and will he give an undertaking that next year reconsideration will be given to the question of a military Tattoo in the Show?

Mr. Profumo

I will certainly give consideration to the number of problems which my hon. Friend has put. I am sorry that I cannot give a more satisfactory reply from his point of view concerning this year, but I would remind him that we are doing this for the reasons that I have given and will review the whole position next year.