HL Deb 09 November 1943 vol 129 cc563-600

THE DUKE OF MONTROSE had the following Notice on the Paper: To call attention to the desirability of further collaboration between the three Cadet organizations, representing the Navy, Army, and Air Force; and to ask, whether the Government can give any assurance that official recognition and enrolment of Service Cadet training units will continue after the war; whether such units will constitute part of the proposed post-war national youth training policy; and whether the units will remain eligible for the continuance of capitation grants in respect of efficiency as now; and to move for Papers.

The noble Duke said: My Lords, I bring forward the Motion standing in my name particularly in order to ask for some kind of assurance or understanding as to what the Government's attitude is going to be towards the Cadet forces after the war, when peace returns, and by the Cadet forces I mean the Sea Cadets, the Army Cadets, and the Air Force Cadets. When war is over and peace returns I have no doubt that there will be considerable activity in the way of planning. There will be planning schemes of all sorts and, of course, planning for youth, for the rising generation. Your Lordships will agree with me that we in this House and in the country would be failing greatly in our duty if we did not do something to give the rising generation who are coming after us a better opportunity, perhaps, than we had to acquire a sense of discipline, moral rectitude, and the joy and happiness which come from physical fitness. We should be failing in our duty if we did not do something to enable those who are coming after us to educate themselves better in these matters than we, perhaps, had the opportunity of doing, especially when it is stated in the very first paragraph of the White Paper issued by the President of the Board of Education that "in the youth of the nation we have our greatest national asset." If the youth of the nation is our greatest national asset, we ought to do something to develop it in the right way.

It is very lamentable—here I can speak only of Scotland—that recently the Secretary of State for Scotland remarked that 17,000 young people under the age of sixteen every year figured in the law courts for juvenile delinquency. That is an appalling fact, but happily there are figures in our experience which go to show that wherever an effort has been made to organize youth, to do something for the social welfare of youth, juvenile delinquency is least. We have in Scotland—and I am sure in England too— some very good organizations for training youth. We have organizations like the Boys' Brigade, the Church Lads' Brigade, the British Hostels and Camping Association, the Y.M.C.A., and a great number of Service Cadet Corps. Our experience has been that a very small percentage of the lads who have been in these brigades and corps figure in the courts. That fact seems to me to point the direction in which our policy and planning for youth should go. We should do our best to follow along these lines because we have got to remember that it will fall upon those who come after us to maintain the influence and prestige of the British nation in the world's councils.

I am not going to trouble your Lordships with all the various schemes and planning arrangements which are being put forward for the training of youth. I am only going to say this, that no one can exercise a more powerful influence in the training of youth or in helping in social reform with boys than those who are to-day actively working and serving with the Cadet Corps. Is their experience going to be made use of? Is all the work they have done going to be put to service? We want to know—are the Cadet Forces going to continue? We hope they will, but we want to know if all the experience of those who have been working for and serving with the Cadets in recent years is going to be wasted. Is it all going to be put on the scrap heap, as it was in 1931, when the Government decided to withdraw their recognition and help from the Cadets? We know now that the withdrawal of the Government recognition from the Cadets in 1931 was done in the name of national economy. Well, it was a penny wise and pound foolish policy, and it stands to the credit of the Coalition Government that in 1932 they took a wet sponge and wiped the slate clean of that narrow-minded, mistaken and parsimonious policy.

I understand from the Youth Advisory Council Report to the Minister of Education that a suggestion is being put forward for placing the Voluntary Boy Training Corps and even the Service Cadet Corps under the control or supervision of the Board of Education. I have nothing to say against the Board of Education. I admit they have rendered great service to boys in various forms and that those who work in schools have been of great help to Voluntary and Services Cadet Corps; but it will be a bad day indeed for this country when those who represent the Services in the Admiralty, in the War Office and in the Air Ministry throw away the chance they have and sacrifice the great opportunity they have to lead boys to-day to understand and appreciate all the great loyalties of civilization—loyalty to God, loyalty to their King, loyalty to their country, loyalty to their homes, their families and their businesses, and to some unit of service. It will be a bad day for the country when those serving in Government offices, who have the opportunity in their hands to continue that good work, throw it away. Those of us who have worked for years in the Volunteer Forces and in the Cadets know and appreciate the tremendous importance of having the Government offices and the Services immediately at our backs. As one who served in the Naval Volunteer Force, I know what it means and how very valuable it is to have at one's back the prestige of the Admiralty and the Royal Navy.

If all I have heard is true, and it should be decided in this scheme that those serving in these offices are to allow the great opportunity they have to so from them and pass to the Board of Education, I believe that anything from 60 to 80 per cent. of those now serving in the Cadet Forces will resign. I believe that all the Servicemen (sailors, soldiers and airmen) serving in the Government offices are anxious to carry on with the Cadets. They realize that if they fail to carry on with the Cadets a great many serving officers and ratings will not be able to give that leadership in social reform which is so great a benefit to the country. If that were to happen it would indeed be lamentable in these days, when it is so hard, nay almost impossible, to find leaders anywhere. I believe these Service officers are anxious to carry on with the Cadets. I have seen it stated in the Press, and I have heard it on the platform, that the War Office most certainly intend to carry on with the Cadets. I have heard it outside; and I have seen it stated in the Press, that the Air Ministry certainly intend to carry on the Air Force Cadets. But I am sorry to say that I have not seen or heard any statement so definite made on the part of the Admiralty regarding the Sea Cadets.

The nearest thing to it that I have heard is that on one occasion the First Lord said he would give the Sea Cadets his blessing. I must apologize for saying it, but I do not know what the blessing of a First Lord is really worth. It may be worth a great deal, it may be worth nothing at all, nor do I know how long the effect of a blessing lasts. Anyhow my doubt as to whether the Admiralty do mean to carry on the Sea Cadets is supported by this, that while I was Commodore I heard it said in the Admiralty more than once by sea officers that there was an impression that after the war Government recognition of and assistance to Cadets would be withdrawn. That view was strengthened by the fact that the Admiralty did call in a civilian body, the Navy League, to assist them to carry out a certain amount of administrative work and organization and also to carry on the social welfare work. Those who have had experience in the Volunteer Force with Cadets think that the War Office made a very good job in carrying on the Army Cadets practically through the machinery of the Territorial Army, and by making use of the machinery of the Volunteer Force. The Air Force have carried out very much the same idea by working through the Territorial Army Association. I think the Admiralty "slipped up" in placing a great deal of work in the hands of the Navy League.

I say that not because I have anything against the Navy League. On the contrary, I was one of its original founders. We founded the Navy League at the time when Admiral Lord Charles Beresford was bringing forward his great naval construction scheme in Parliament. We founded the Navy League to support him, to make the people of this country sea minded, to bring to the notice of our people the everlasting truth of sea-power and to emphasize the fact that if this sea-power was to continue we must have a predominantly strong Navy. But now, if the Navy League is to run the Cadets, the Navy League no more than any other private association is really able to carry on and control a great national Cadet movement without some Government assistance. I do not know whether it is a fact, but I believe the Admiralty are placing into the coffers of the Navy League about £25,000 a year. Any civilian body that accepts £25,000 from the Government must also accept a certain amount of Government control, and I feel that the Navy League has parted with its freedom and with its liberty to act as a critic of the Admiralty. How can it act with vigour and strength and independence if it is receiving £25,000 a year from the Admiralty?

Moreover, the work of the Sea Cadet Force would have been much better, in my opinion, if the Admiralty had carried out that work through the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, a voluntary body, in much the same way that the War Office acts through the Army Cadet Corps. The Admiralty may gain a certain advantage by getting good work done for it by the Navy League, but the country will suffer greatly by having its one check in criticizing unwise expenditure by the Admiralty shackled and bound by the provision of public money. If the Navy League had retained complete freedom and independence before the war and at the beginning of the war, I do not believe we should have found ourselves short of corvettes, destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers. There would be great advantage in future policy, I believe, if all the Cadets were taken fully under the administration of the Ministerial offices concerned. Then we should have a great opportunity of getting uniformity, bringing about co-operation in training, sharing staffs, sharing headquarters, sharing camping grounds and so forth.

There is some talk about their abolition after the war. I am a volunteer and always have been a volunteer. I believe in voluntary service because I think one good volunteer is worth ten pressed men any day. The rising generation, I believe, will come to hate compulsion, but if we work on a voluntary basis we can do a great deal to make the Cadet Forces popular. At present our social headquarters are miserable. We should do something to make them joyous and comfortable places, with swimming baths, dormy house and other amenities for boys who come from the country to take a course at headquarters. That will be impossible if each force remains separate, but it will be possible if we can get all Cadet Forces co-ordinated and acting in close co-operation. The Army was extremely wise in accepting the advice of my noble friend Viscount Bridgeman, who seems to have recognized that it was one thing to frame a policy in London and quite another thing to carry it out it different parts of the country. Therefore he wrote, I believe, to all your Lordships who may be Chairmen of Territorial Committees or Lords Lieutenant inviting you to form Inter-Service Committees in your counties or regional areas. That was an excellent idea. In Scotland, where most of our Cadet units are 400 miles from London, our conditions are entirely different. I think it was a good idea for the War Office to form a Scottish Army Cadet Council which could act more or less independently, under the Chairmanship of my noble friend the Earl of Airlie. The Air Ministry also saw the advantage of local or regional Inter-Service Committees and formed an Air Cadet Council in Scotland under the command of my noble friend the Duke of Hamilton.

When I was appointed Commodore of Sea Cadets my ambition was to take an equal part, so that we might all co-operate in carrying out the policy decided in London, but my attention was drawn to an Admiralty expression of opinion that my appointment was to be regarded as purely titular, and that when naval officers attend a conference they should only do so as observers and take no active part in the proceedings. Your Lordships will understand the position at regional conferences when there is co-operation between the Army and the Air Force but the Navy stand out. I say that if the Cadet Forces are to be made of any use at all you must have regional conferences and all three Forces must co-operate and combine closely with the same powers of administration. Regional conferences must be backed up by local committees of strength, and if you have local committees you must give them something to do. The thing to give them to do is the work of social welfare among the boys. As no public money is spent on this they will be able to raise money, and having raised money they should have the responsibility of spending it.

In my own district we formed the North-East Scotland Cadet Council, which covers the burgh and county of Aberdeen and several counties around. That Council is representative of the Navy, Army and Air Force cadets. We have three subcommittees, one for the Navy, one for the Army and one for the Air Force. The whole thing has gone extremely well, and only last week the Chairman told me that if the Government will give some indication that the Cadet Forces will continue and that co-operation in regional areas will be recognized, they will raise £25,000 to be expended on Cadet social welfare. I understand that this idea is also being taken up in Kent and in Cornwall and that part of England with equal promise of success. The training of youth, with all that it means in fitting those who come after us to maintain our prestige in the world, depends on whether the Government intend to continue the Cadet movement and to maintain financial assistance to it. Until that point is settled nobody knows what will be done and the position will remain unsatisfactory. I beg to move.


My Lords, the noble Duke who has raised this question has covered almost the whole ground, but there are one or two points I should like to put before your Lordships. In the first place I doubt very much if His Majesty's Government have any knowledge or realization of the immense weight of public opinion which supports the idea which my noble friend has put before the House. The noble Duke has referred to the diminution in juvenile crime wherever good units of the Cadet Forces are functioning. The effect is perfectly electrical upon the young people of the country. In the contacts which I have made with people in all spheres of life who take an interest in youth, I find approval of the Sea Cadets, of the Air Training Corps and the Army Cadets. That approval exists even in spheres in which before the war, and before this experiment had been tried, people would have shuddered at the thought that anything like a military organization could have a good effect on youth. The support which we who take an interest in Cadets receive is quite enormous even from those who would like to think that their thoughts were merely being directed towards peace and anti-militarism. That is one point which I wish to bring to the notice of His Majesty's Government.

On one matter I am not, perhaps, quite so whole-heartedly in agreement with the noble Duke as I am with what he said in other parts of his speech. I refer to the matter of conscription. I am not myself against conscription, but I do not like the idea of forcing boys, before they reach the age of eighteen, into anything like a Cadet Corps, and I should like it to be a matter entirely of voluntary enlistment for boys up to the age of eighteen. But we may be told that there will be conscription after the war, that conscription will, in effect, produce all the good of disciplining youth which some of us would like to see started at a much earlier age, and that it will, in effect, be a sure safeguard for this country against war, or against defeat in war in the future. I do not agree with that point of view at all. After all, as your Lordships will be fully aware, France had conscription; but it did not save her. It is not conscription that saves a country; and, after all, it is not of winning the next war that we are thinking now but of how to prevent another war. It is the spirit of the people that will win the next war, if there is one, and what is more important still, it will prevent another war. If, indeed, we can prevent the youth of the country taking up the attitude which it did between the two wars, when that famous Oxford resolution was passed, we shall have done a great deal to avoid giving encouragement to our enemies. We shall not lead them to think that we will not fight. If we can prevent our enemies getting the impression that we will not fight they will think twice before they venture to attack us. For that reason, I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of giving encouragement to these three Cadet organizations even as opposed to a policy of conscription at a later age.

There is one other point which I would venture to bring before your Lordships' House. At the beginning of this war there was a great outcry in certain quarters because it was said that officers for the Army were all drawn from one small and narrow class. I am inclined to think that there was some truth in that assertion, but is it surprising when you reflect that every other profession which is of use in life has to start its technical training long before those who are going in for it reach the age of eighteen? With these three professions, or at any rate with the Army and the Air Force being the only professions which are completely excluded as regards technical training from a school curriculum during school hours, is it surprising that you do not get leaders from those classes which are obliged to attend those schools which are limited in this direction? I do not know a great deal about the Navy, I must confess, but you cannot expect to produce officers for the Army and the Air Force ready-made if you do not allow them to take some form of technical education in the same way that is allowed for all other professions.

Therefore, I do press upon the Service Departments that this matter of Cadet training is not only one which affects all three Service Departments, but it is one which comes quite seriously within the scope of the Minister of Education. I do press the view that a boy should be allowed, within the scope of his training before the age of eighteen, to devote some of his time, and to divert some of his attention, from the service of himself and the learning of how be can make a purely private and selfish living, to services whereby he may be enabled, if he wishes, to give his strength and his brains to the service of King and country.


My Lords, I understand it is customary on the occasion of making a maiden speech to crave the indulgence of your Lordships. My request for indulgence is very sincere for I am speaking also as a serving officer. May I be presumptuous enough to congratulate the noble Duke on his inspiring speech on this very important subject, the sincerity of which, especially regarding the betterment of youth, I am sure deserves universal respect and admiration? I should, however, like to deal with certain main facts. At the outset let me say that I would warmly welcome all possible collaboration between the three Cadet organizations representing the Navy, the Army and the Air Force. Close collaboration between the Fighting Services is of vital importance, and, if I might, I would mention our victories in the Mediterranean as affording striking illustrations of this. It is true, I think, to say that our victories at El Alamein, in Tunis and in Sicily could not have been achieved by any two of the Services without the assistance of the third. It is therefore most desirable that Cadets training to enter the respective Fighting Services should from the start be impressed with the importance of inter-Service collaboration.

While welcoming whole-hearted collaboration, I should like to draw attention to one or two aspects which I think might be borne in mind. Although the three Cadet organizations have often been coupled together, their functions are somewhat different. May I refer particularly to the Air Training Corps? The duty of the Air Training Corps is to train for the air; the Royal Air Force depends on the Air Training Corps for its intake into all ranks. The Air Training Corps is more comprehensive in its work than the other Cadet organizations, in that the Air Training Corps includes open, school and university air squadrons. In fact, the Air Training Corps is to the Air Force what the Army Cadet Force plus the Junior Training Corps plus the Senior Training Corps are to the Army, and what the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, plus public school entry plus the Sea Cadets plus the Naval Division at the Universities are to the Royal Navy. Further the Air Training Corps trains large numbers who enter the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Navy. Twelve per cent. of the total number of cadets turned out by the Air Training Corps as air crews join the Fleet Air Arm. So far as Scotland is concerned, a large number of Air Training Corps units, especially in the North and the Highlands of Scotland, train a considerable number for the Royal Navy, and the cadets who go to the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm include some of the most intelligent, ablest and smartest.

I mention all this because I think we should be clear in our minds about what the position is and what difficulties do exist. Close collaboration is necessary in the case of transfers, which in their turn are rendered desirable by differences in age. For example, it is desirable that any transfers between Services should be done as easily as possible. It is very important that Air Training Corps cadets who join the Fleet Air Arm or the Royal Navy should receive every possible help and encouragement in their future service, and so far as the Air Training Corps is concerned I can confidently say that we are proud to take part in this training. At the same time, other transfers are of value. For example, if a boy is going into the Fleet Air Arm it might well be to his own advantage if at the age of 14 be joined the Sea Cadets, and transferred to the Air Training Corps at 15½ or 16, where he would get air training for his duties with the Fleet Air Arm. Further, a cadet in the Army Cadet Force who wishes to go into the Royal Air Force should transfer to the Air Training Corps at the appropriate age. There are also a great many single units in localities where the Air Training Corps is the only unit that exists. In such case the Air Training Corps includes cadets who join the Army.

These transfers obviously present certain difficulties and problems which have to be dealt with by cadet commanding officers, who, in my opinion, are carrying out a very important and responsible duty to their country. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the spirit of esprit de corps with a desirable transfer from one corps to another, but commanding officers, while creating that esprit de corps, often do much to make their cadets realize that, however proud they may be of their own unit, other cadets are just as proud of their units; and so they impress on them that unity means strength. In passing, I should like to pay tribute to the help given to the Air Training Corps by the Royal Navy. The Royal Naval Air stations have been most helpful, and have given more help than we could possibly have expected, while the Fleet Air Arm officers who address open and school units of the Air Training Corps are excellent and doing most valuable work.

Now let me turn to the second point in this Motion, the continuation of official recognition. Statements on this subject have been made by the Secretary of State for Air and by the First Lord of the Admiralty. The Cadet organizations, as has already been pointed out, have proved to be of great value not only to the war effort, but in promoting good citizenship. On the training of youth depends the strength of this country and never again must we allow this country to sink to the defenceless state in which we were in 1940. The Air Ministry are giving very serious consideration to post-war policy of the Air Training Corps and I should like to allude to three factors which I think should be borne in mind when the policy is formed.

First, I believe that much preliminary air training might be considered basic training, common for all three Services. Secondly, the pre-entry Services derive their inspiration—I refer to all three of them—from their link with their parent Service. The Sea Cadets have the call of the sea, the Air Training Corps the call of the air, and the Army has an attraction of its own. The third point which should be borne in mind is the increased significance of air power. Significant as air power has been in this war, it is bound to be very much more important after the war. Every capital in the world will be only a comparatively few hours from Britain. This factor will vitally affect not only our Fighting Services, but the whole economic basis on which we live. It is vital that as large a proportion as possible of our leading men should be trained actively to participate in air power, for the very existence of this country depends on it, whether in war or in peace.


My Lords, it is my privilege and pleasure to congratulate my noble friend the Duke of Hamilton on his maiden speech. We all know that the noble Duke is a daring and enterprising airman; and, having been in another place with him for some years, I was not surprised that he acquitted himself so well in his maiden speech. I think that your Lordships' House is to be congratulated on having a young member who can speak so forcibly and clearly in the interests of the Service which he represents.

I am in entire agreeement with my noble friends the Duke of Montrose and Lord Harewood as to the tremendous importance of the youth movements to the country, and I share with them the very earnest desire to see these youth movements kept in being. But I am at issue with my noble friend the Duke of Montrose in his objection to the Navy League having anything to do with the Sea Cadet movement. He took exception to the Navy League accepting £25,000, I think it was, from the Admiralty. That £25,000 is only a capitation grant for out-of-pocket expenses, which the other Services get for their cadets, and I think we should remember that although the Naval Brigades have been in existence to my knowledge for over fifty years, it was about forty-two years ago that the Navy League founded and was entirely responsible for initiating the splendid Sea Cadet movement.

The noble Duke wants to know what the Admiralty and Government policy is on this matter. I am delighted to find in a Fleet Order that was issued as to their policy towards the Sea Cadets, that the Admiralty make it quite clear that the Sea Cadets will be under the Admiralty but co-operating to the fullest possible extent with the other youth services. The Order goes on to say that the Admiralty will be responsible for the organization and training, but what particularly pleases me, and pleases, I am sure, every sailor who knows the history of the Sea Cadets, is that the Navy League is to continue to administer the corps on behalf of the Admiralty and be directly responsible to the Admiralty for the social welfare side of the organization. After all, the cost of maintaining the Sea Cadet units, which has been borne to a great extent by the Navy League, thanks to the generosity of a great many public-spirited people, is immense and the capitation grant is a very small proportion of the cost of maintaining a unit.

The noble Duke wants to get an assurance from the Government that the Sea Cadets will continue, but I would remind your Lordships that, judging by the history of the past twenty-five years, with the fluctuating policies that we have witnessed, the Sea Cadets probably would not exist if it had not been for the Navy League. I do not forget that in 1929 a Government came into power which not only stopped all Cadet movements in the schools but even abolished the observance of Empire Day. I cannot believe that that sort of thing would happen again, but one would perhaps have said the same thing after the last war. We started the last war unprepared except for the Navy, and thanks to the Navy we were able to hold the ring until a great Army, whose hammer blows played an immense part in winning the last war, had been trained and built up all over the Empire.


And the Air Force.


And the Air Force. Memories are short and we cannot be certain that in the years to come economies will not be introduced. If a Government when it took office could stop, the building of two cruisers and four destroyers which had actually been voted for by the House of Commons during the term of office of the previous Government, is it likely that they are going to spend money on maintaining Cadet Corps? All I can say is thank God we have got the Navy League to ensure that our Sea Cadet Corps will endure I am sure that the Air League, or some similar organization, will see to it that their cadets are maintained even if the Government will not subscribe towards them. Similarly I am sure that my noble friend Lord Milne will be able to give us some assurance that the Army will look after the Army Cadets. The noble Duke said that the War Office and the Air Ministry had given satisfactory assurances but, as far at any rate as money is concerned, they are dependent on the Government of the day and the money may not be forthcoming. Therefore my plea for the maintenance of these pre-entry organizations is that they should be looked after by independent bodies such as the Navy League, and maintained thanks to the generosity of people who are not blind to the lessons of history and who will see to it that the money is forthcoming to keep them in being.

There are many districts with Sea Cadets where the people are poor and cannot afford to provide much money. There are other districts where they are most plentifully provided. For instance, at Kingston there is a wonderful Cadet Corps with every sort of facility for training. I am sure your Lordships will be glad to hear, as many of you probably know, that a sum of money is being raised in memory of the late Lord Lloyd, who did so much during the difficult and anxious years to maintain the Sea Cadet movement. When this money is raised we will be able to make these training centres, drill halls and all facilities which some of the richer neighbourhoods possess, and we shall be able to spread them all over the country. In conclusion, I do trust that the boys who voluntarily give their service to fit themselves to defend their country by land, sea or air will be given every possible assistance and help to maintain the units which have been formed.


My Lords, it was only recently, I think, that the question was raised in another place about the quality of children's footwear, and I hope we may hear something from the Government this afternoon about the future of the minds and bodies of those young people for whom so properly adequate provision is being made as regards shoes. The raising of this immediate issue was, I think, to a certain extent due to an article which appeared in the Press at the beginning of August about an Army Cadet Force camp held in Dorset. The special correspondent reporting on that camp stated that the Army Cadet Force, the Sea Cadets and the Air Training Corps have unfortunately nothing to do with each other, that the Sea Cadets come under the Admiralty, and the A.T.C. under the R.A.F. while the Army Cadet Force is affiliated to the Home Guard and, in some ways, apparently, nobody's concern.

Several authorities have taken exception to the statement that the Army Cadet Force is apparently nobody's concern. I am not speaking so much of the present am of the future, but I do not think there is a great deal to quarrel with in those words. One correspondent wrote, in reply, that it is incorrect to state that the Army Cadet Corps is nobody's concern as the training has been placed immediately under the local O.C. troops. I cannot help feeling that there are some areas, particularly rural areas, where no such person exists as O.C. troops—at any rate he is hard to find in some areas. We are all very grateful in the Cadet Force for the assistance we have had from the Home Guard, but is the future of the Cadet Force to be measured by that of the Home Guard?

Take another point Just recently instructions have been issued that the responsibility for the supervision and training of the Cadet Force is now vested in the G.O.C. Home Forces. I imagine that the country will not be always organized as it is at the moment. One does not like to call that an expedient, but so far as the future is concerned it sounds like an improvisation. Improvisation is necessary in these times, and cadet officers, it is hardly an exaggeration to say, are expected to make impossibilities become possibilities. When the suggestion is made that the grant-earning age for cadets should be reduced from fourteen to thirteen and a half, one is generally met with the reply that there are no more uniforms available. That may be true, but improvisation is rather apt to become a one-sided affair. To-day it is almost the privilege and prerogative of the voluntary worker.

There is just one further point on this question of whether, as the newspaper correspondent said, the Army Cadet Force is apparently nobody's concern. Quite contrary to what has been said elsewhere, I feel that the Sea Cadets are fortunate in having the Navy League to sponsor them. Just recently there was an exhibition held in a London store organized by the Navy League. Personally, I do not know of any comparable body which could do that for the Army Cadet Force. It was quite strange to hear the noble Lord, Lord Keyes, talk about money. In the Army Cadet Force that is a most unusual word. It is possible that I may be accused of stressing too much the training assistance being given to Army Cadets. I do that because I feel sure there is a great need of that assistance on a broader basis, not confined only to the immediate pre-Service training. Again I stress variety because the Army Cadets, to me at any rate, appear to be in a different position from the other two pre-Service units. The noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, referred to the fact that the Sea Cadets had the call of the sea, the Air Training Corps had the call of the air, whereas the Army Cadet Force had an attraction of its own. I do not know what he meant by that, but compared with the other two pre-Service units the Army Cadets differ in respect of civilian employment for the future.

It is difficult for Cadet officers unaided to provide instruction in order to maintain interest on a general basis. The cadets are disciplined and taught to become good citizens, though not necessarily good soldiers. Many of them are not necessarily going into the Army as a career. It is these boys—not so much the lads in the Cadet Force to-day, but the rising generation—that I wish to see encouraged now by a greater certainty of the future than exists to-day and by a live kind of training, more clearly reflecting the needs of the time, so that our numbers will not fall appreciably when the war is over. That training, whatever career or profession they take up, will not only benefit them, but benefit the State. It is on these lines that I hope we may hear something this afternoon from the Government as to the future of the three pre-Service training units.


My Lords, I am sure your Lordships would wish to congratulate the noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, who has made his maiden speech in such an able fashion, and to express the hope that he will attend our deliberations as often as he can and give us the benefit of his wide experience. We are all very grateful to the noble Duke who has raised this question, more especially those of us who have had the privilege of some connexion with one or other of the Cadet movements in the country, either in the past or at present. I speak in all due humility, but I can perhaps claim to have a little knowledge of the civilian side as President of the Committee of the B.N.C.A. in Scotland, as well as from the military side, having just vacated, as the noble Duke kindly mentioned, the post of Commandant of the Army Cadets for the whole of Scotland.

I sometimes wonder, looking back over the past year, whether the powers that be right at the top have quite fully realized the intense importance of this movement in the country to-day. I do not refer to those who have had the handling of Cadet matters at the War Office, because they have given the utmost assistance and have apparently had a real understanding of the difficulties which beset us on all sides. I am speaking not as a one-time Home Guard officer or Cadet officer, but as a Regular officer who had the privilege of being attached to both these Forces for some considerable time, and had the opportunity of seeing what a splendid show these people are putting up, often in face of great and grave difficulties when feelings of sheer frustration must almost overwhelm them. I feel that we owe to them a very real debt of gratitude for the work they have done and are doing.

In regard to the first part of the noble Duke's Motion, which deals with collaboration, that has been fairly fully discussed already, and I do not wish to say much more except that so far as Scotland is concerned—it is of that I wish mostly to speak—we are in the heartiest agreement that the more collaboration that can come about the better. We all appreciate the difficulties which the noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, mentioned. He touched on one point, which I am quite certain is a vital one, and that is how collaboration will be achieved after the war— on the social side in the form of clubs, social activities, and such like. I cannot see how we shall be able to get a really sound financial position going unless we are able to start with, possibly, joint premises, joint staffs, and so on, which will make it a really sound running show. He spoke also of the question of transfers, and I can assure him—I think he knows so far as Scotland is concerned—that there are now going on a great many transfers from the Army Cadet Force to the Air Training Corps. Any sound-thinking person who has had to do with youth to-day realizes that what we have to do is to get the biggest number of our youth, our boys and girls, into some organization of service, and that we must try and see that those most fitted for a particular service go to that service, irrespective of numbers.

If I may, I should like to say a word or two about the Army Cadet Force. I speak mostly from the point of view of Scotland, though I have had a certain amount of experience working with the British National Association movement in England. There are three points which stand out in my mind. The first—and it is so obvious—is the tremendous keenness which is displayed not only by the Army Cadets but by the other boys themselves, or at any rate by a large proportion of the youth of the country. I must say, however, that it is only a small proportion of the youth of the country who actually give some form of service to this country, and if I may I will say a word about that later. The second point that seems to stand out is, I am afraid, the obvious neglect—and we are all to blame for this— which we have shown in the past in trying to satisfy the very real and live desire of the youth of the country to give some form of service to his country. This has only come to light under the stress of war. Your Lordships notice that I said a small proportion of the youth actually give service. Though I speak subject to correction, I think I am right in saying that it is only about one quarter of the youths who come for interview who actually join any pre-Service or other organizations with a view to giving service. I think you will agree that this is not a very high figure.

The points which I have raised, with other factors that I propose to say a word or two about later, only go to show the vital necessity of seeing that these movements not only continue after the war but continue with the fullest Government support and direction from the Service Departments which at present look after them. There are many factors, as I have said, which support the points of view that I have put forward. I do not propose to weary your Lordships with them all but I will mention three. The first is this. Do we realize that we are probably one of the most pagan countries in the world to-day? That is a pretty strong thing to say, but I think it is more or less true. Do we realize how really more pagan we are than Christian? Shall I put it that way? If I may I will quote figures given to me by an Army Cadet officer, who is second in command of a cadet battalion in one of the large industrial centres in Scotland, not by any means the largest. He is also the head of one of the technical schools and is serving on the interviewing board. He gave me the numbers of the youths who came up for interview who have no connexion with any religious body or with any religious organization or church or who have any knowledge or even have heard of the Bible. Do you know what the figures were? They were 5 per cent. Now, I put it to your Lordships, who are we to start lecturing others on high standards and ideals?

The second point relates to the question of cleanliness. I hope you will not think I am diverging, but this has a bearing on what we are discussing. Who would have believed that it would have been possible that such bodily conditions and such normal insanitary behaviour could have existed in a country which calls itself a civilized nation as came to light after the evacuation took place in this country? Who would have believed it? I do not think anybody would. Yet these conditions did prevail. What is worse, after a time the first feeling of horror in regard to it died down, and little was thought of it. even by the sufferers themselves. I know perfectly well that this will be counted as another instance of the national trait of always running ourselves down. But we are not running ourselves down; what we are doing is this: we are facing the facts as they are, and the sooner we all face them the better. I hope that it will not be thrown back at me that the reason why these conditions are such as I have suggested is to be found in bad housing conditions. Undoubtedly it is. We cannot get away from that fact, and the sooner we correct this frightful state of affairs the better. But I am certain we shall not correct it by keeping it within the realm of Party politics. The only hope is to deal with it as a national problem at the earliest moment. The third factor which comes to my mind is the question of self-discipline within the nation. It seems to me that somehow there has been a sad lack of this in the national make-up, and the sooner we can get it re-established the better.

Some of these factors which I have mentioned have been going on for some considerable time, and possibly the only solution will lie, as I think it did in the case of the Nazis, in trying to teach our children how to train their children when they have them to do those very things which used to be taught in the old days in the home and at the mother's knee. I for one do not believe that the schoolmaster is the person or the education authority the body to teach these things; therefore we have to try and find some other way. As I say, we have to get the youth of to-day to pass on to their children these very ideals about which we are-speaking. As a result of the experience which I have had with youth and with the pre-Service organizations I am beginning to feel that probably they are one, if not the best, means of passing on this knowledge, and that gradually as more and more join these pre-Service organizations those very traits which we want to re-develop will become the normal characteristics of home life once again as they were in the past.

To emphasize what I mean I would just like to indicate, although many of your Lordships will know them, the kind of general talks that are given to the cadets in the organizations regarding the future and the objectives of their movement. I have had the privilege during the past year or so of addressing an enormous number of boys in Scotland of all types and classes, and I can assure your Lordships that it has been the greatest pleasure in the world to realize how receptive these boys are, how they drink it in if they are given the right stuff and if it is given in the proper way. If I might state my personal experience, I used to try to divide the objective of the movement into two aims. The first, which sticks out a mile, is that we have to win the war because unless we win the war we shall never get to aim number two. The second aim, the broader and wider aim, is to develop a sense of citizenship amongst the youth of the country, so that they will learn to shoulder the responsibilities which will be theirs in the future when the war is over.

There was one point I tried to make above all others, and that was that the youth of to-day form by far the most important part of the community, for the reason that they will be the next to go into the line of battle, if the war goes on long enough, and because they will be the next to take a share in the government of the country. The youths were told that in order to achieve aim number one they must put their backs into it and do all in their power to fit themselves from the military point of view to take their places alongside their bretheren—and in some cases, alas ! alongside their fathers overseas. But it was pointed out to them that that was not the only aim. One day the war would finish and when it was finished military training, while still forming a large part of the curriculum, would automatically to a certain extent take a lower category. It would lose some of its actual needful priority, and ahead of them would be aim number two, the broad aim of developing a sense of citizenship.

I do not want to repeat myself, but I am bound to reiterate that I am quite confident, though I know there is another school of thought who will not agree with me, that schoolmasters and education authorities are not the people to put this across to the youth of the country. Had they been the type of the old dominie who existed in Scotland it might have been left to them, but a good many of them to-day are not that type, through no fault of the schoolmaster but because the profession is no longer made so attractive that it can draw the best types into it, although, of course, it does still include many good types. So I have come to the conclusion, and I believe many of your Lordships will agree with me, that in the future at all costs this training scheme must have amongst its constituent parts sound permanent pre-Service organizations which will not be allowed to lapse at the end of every war, and must embrace all the three Services and any other organization who may wish to come in, such as the Girls' Training Corps and others. They should be administered by the three Services from whom they spring and grants should be forthcoming to enable them to meet the social needs and other sides of their activities as well as actual military training. The Duke of Hamilton spoke of this and I would emphazise what he said. I am sure we must try to get the closest collaboration if we are to get the most efficient working of these organizations.

I am satisfied, and I know your Lordships are too, that the past reputation of our Services both in peace and war, at home and abroad, shows conclusively that the ideals which they teach can help them to develop the very qualities which we need in our youth to-day for the attainment of a sense of citizenship. I do not believe there is anybody else who can do it quite in the same way or quite as well. It has been acknowledged by many who have experience of youth to-day that once the so-called glamour of war and the natural desire of youth to be like other people and wear uniform has died out, we shall have to develop the other side, the moral, spiritual and social side, but we cannot in developing that let go the disciplinary side. This disciplinary training is the very basis that makes it a running show. If we had paid greater attention to this side in the past we might have found ourselves less handicapped, more and better prepared at the outbreak and in the early stages of war.

There are two ways of doing this, either by opening clubs to which boys and girls should come from pre-Service organizations, or by pre-Service units forming clubs from within themselves. I must say that, owing to the necessity of establishing discipline among the youth of to-day, I favour the latter course. There I differ from some noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. I would prefer to see the Service Departments continue the control of these various pre-Service organizations. I realize that we may have difficult times in politics and that other Governments will succeed the present Government, but I am confident that it is the most efficient and best way of running these organizations. There is one other point I would make on which I expect the experience of your Lordships is the same as mine. Unless you are able to give the youth of to-day or to-morrow the best instruction that can possibly be given, interest will gradually fade away. So it would seem that we must face the fact that sooner or later we must have organizations in which the Service Departments continue to give regular instruction, either through commissioned or non-commissioned officers.

I should like to give one instance to illustrate the advantage of that. In one Scottish region a commander who saw some of these cadets, and realized the value of the material they provided, organized a scheme whereby boys from various counties were attached where possible to their own county regiments for five or six days at a time. It was a wonderful sight to watch these boys sitting around so-called "old soldiers" —most of them were no more than 21 or 22 years of age themselves—who, with weapons between their knees, were giving out all the stuff they knew to the boys who might one day have to take their place. The enthusiasm was so great and the good will was so strong that I could not help passing on the news of this experiment to your Lordships as a valuable lesson to be learnt. One commanding officer said that the men of his unit benefited as much as the boys did. He found men who had previously been always tongue-tied talking quite freely to the boys.

Finally, I want to say something which may sound rather strong meat but which I think should be said. For generation after generation we have never faced up to facts and to what has obviously been coming to us, with the result that we have murdered the youth of our country by sending them into battle at the start of every war ill-equipped, often unequipped, half trained and so, sometimes, half disciplined. They were sent out to meet a ruthless and efficient foe, an enemy who had learnt soldiering as a profession from the cradle, simply and solely because we had been too slothful to face facts and fit ourselves in peace to face what must come in time of war. You cannot expect to protect the fold unless you keep watchdogs. Your Lordships probably know what was said by German prisoners in Tunisia. They said: "You won the last war, you may win this war, out we will win the third war." We may have another chance. Are we going to seize that chance? Are we going to try and inculcate the youth of the country with ideas of service and the will to protect their homes and help to keep the peace of the world? Surely, my Lords, that is not militarism; it is sheer common sense and nothing else. And if we are to do this we must teach our youth the ideas of service to the State, service to their brother men, and in that way service to the world. And you cannot do this without first inculcating in these young people the principles of self-discipline and self-sacrifice. I am quite certain that this can best be done by maintaining both in peace, as well as in war, a sound youth service scheme embracing the principal Service organizations whole-heartedly and at all times.

There are, as I see the position, three things essential for the future of this country. Those needs are: First of all, housing, concomitant with which is—and though this may seem a digression I contend that it is not for it is all bound up with the same thing—water-power, light and transport in the rural districts. The second essential is work; work for these people to do. The third, and by far the greatest need of all, is to make absolutely certain that we do everything in our power to care for and bring up our youth along the lines of those ideals in which we have always believed, and which have made this country and our Empire what they are.

House adjourned during pleasure, and resumed by the LORD CHANCELLOR.


My Lords, it may appear presumptuous of a mere Englishman to attempt to address your Lordships on this subject, for it will not have escaped your attention that all those who have spoken with authority as having held positions at the head of the youth organizations are Scotsmen—the noble Duke who introduced this Motion, the noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, to whose maiden speech we listened with so much pleasure, and now Lord Airlie. It so happens that there are youths in England, too, and I will say a word about them. I am one of those who were asked by Lord Bridgeman to form a co-ordinating committee for youth. We did so, and I think he agrees that it works very well in the county with which I am principally concerned. On the whole—and I speak with some knowledge of what is happening in England—I think these youth movements are going well. I have seen a great deal of them in connexion with the Wings for Victory Weeks, and I have come into contact with tens of thousands of the young people. I am coming presently to the weak point in connexion with this matter and I shall ask the Government spokesman to go further than he has yet been asked to go.

I am not going to enter into the vexed question of what we should do with regard to the Sea Cadets and the Navy League. I have no doubt that that problem will be solved. I cannot agree with Lord Greenway that the Army Cadet is nobody's child. Indeed, these cadets are the children of the Territorial Army Association who take the greatest interest in them, and I think that on the whole they work well. As for the Air Training Corps, the Duke of Hamilton has paid tribute to the Help which they give to both the Army and the Navy, and I am sure they will prosper. But when we come to the question of the future, I support the noble Duke—and I think all my friends here on these Benches do also—in saying: "Do let the Government declare here and now that they will continue to support these youth movements, notably the three with which we are concerned principally today." They have been of priceless advantage to us during this war. When once in a lunatic moment—I cannot describe it otherwise—the Government withdrew the grants from the Cadets, some of your Lordships were good enough to go with me in a deputation to the then Secretary of State and to beg him to reverse the decision which had been taken. That decision struck a shattering blow at our youth. It was really a disastrous thing to do. Let us all agree to forget about that, and let the Government say here and now: "We as a non-Party Government undertake these things, and we are sure that all Parties in the State will agree in supporting these movements."

I hope that they will say that, and, if I may, I will go further, and give my reasons in a moment. I hope the Government will say that the grants they make will be considerably higher than they ares now. I do so for reasons which I am sure will appeal to my noble friend Lord Latham (whose eye I caught just now), and I count upon him to help us very much in this. Nobody who has been watching what has been happening during four and a half years of war can have failed to notice the remarkable fact that, while among our young people good boys are getting better and better, bad boys are getting worse and worse. I beg the Government to ask the police authorities especially to go into this question which was referred to by my noble friend Lord Harewood. Certainly in my own county, and I am told in others, when these children come before juvenile courts, in most cases they are asked if they belong to any youth organization. In the part of the country which I know best, in hardly a single case is a boy who is accused of a criminal or other offence found to be a member of a youth organization. Conversely, in hardly a single case is a boy who has spent any time in any of these youth organizations brought before the magistrates on an accusation of committing any serious offence. If that be true, and I know it is, there is a complete separation between groups of our male youth of this country. How far this applies to the girls I do not know, but in respect of the boys it is as though there were here an apex, and from this apex the boys slide in opposite ways.

As I have said, our good boys are getting better and better. I think that all the noble Lords who have spoken to-day will agree that that is so. Those boys who are members of these organizations and of some other organizations are getting better and better, more and more unselfish, more and more helpful, in times of danger; but the bad boys are getting worse. I have had some remarkable figures given to me relating to such crimes as arson, theft— serious theft—robbery with violence and even more serious crimes, committed by boys between the ages of ten and fifteen years. If that be true—may I have the attention of whoever is going to reply on behalf of the Government because this is a vital point that I am asking a question about?—is it right for the Government to sit by and allow this to go on? I claim that it is not. While it is very desirable, as I think Lord Harewood said, to give the element of choice to youth, to allow them to choose what particular kind of youth organization they should belong to, I do say that here and now the Government should decide that all youths, or at any rate all boys, should be obliged to go in for some minimum form of training to teach them self-discipline, self-respect, unselfishness and loyalty to their fellow-creatures.

I am sure that that is the Government's bounden duty. I believe that every other country did it before the war; I understand that the Scandinavian countries, who are supposed to be pacifist, adopted that principle. Now is the time to act, because we have no vocal pacifists left now. That is a new fact in our history. The bombardment of our towns and the example of Russia have swept the pacifists out of our community. They may whisper, but they cannot speak aloud. Who can say "I do not believe in fighting for my country" to people who have seen a daring young airman shoot down a bomber which was about to drop a bomb both on the just and on the unjust alike? I ask the Government, therefore, to consider this matter and to give us an undertaking to-day.

The first thing to do is to ask the Home Office whether the facts bear out the allegation which I have made, that the bad boys are getting worse and the good boys are getting better. Having ascertained that, I ask the Government to take the necessary steps, as has been done in other countries, to ensure that no small boys shall go downhill as they grow up. I remember talking to my noble friend Lord Latham about this. I think he will agree with me when I say that very often a boy goes downhill because he comes of very poor parents, and all these organizations require some subscription from the parent. Benevolent people often raise a fund to deal with this difficulty, but, when that does not happen, what is a boy to do when his parents cannot afford any subscription? He has to remain outside. I would sum up the position by asking the Government to give a promise that they will continue to support these movements. Such a promise will hearten every organization throughout the country. I ask the Government to promise to raise the grants so that the poorest boys can join. Thirdly, I ask that plans be made, with the co-operation of the President of the Board of Education, who must come in, to see that every boy in the land gets good teaching in citizen- ship and self-sacrifice. The teachers will be very glad to help. I heartily support the Motion.


My Lords, I have listened with very great interest to the debate so far as it has gone, and with very great admiration to the vigorous speech of my noble friend Lord Airlie. I also listened to his speech with some apprehension, because he seemed to cover so much of the ground which I had hoped to traverse. This Motion, it seems to me, has been brought forward owing to the natural fear of what may be the attitude of the Government in the post-war period towards the pre-Service organizations. That fear has arisen through the experience between the wars of those who felt strongly throughout that the Cadet Forces should be kept alive as a nucleus, having regard to possible future events. Those who thought so did so in spite of the Government thinking differently and at times withholding their recognition. It is very understandable, therefore, that those most concerned should now want some assurance for the future. I hope that there will always be those strong supporters of Cadet Forces, even if the Government of the day consider that Cadet Forces may become unnecessary; but I think that there are limits to that attitude. I have myself had experience of the difficulties which those volunteers had to face between the wars. I hope very strongly that the lessons of this war will never be forgotten by future Governments.

Is it too much to hope that the Services and pre-Service organizations may have equal encouragement and support from every Government, whatever its political character? The Cadet Forces are training youth in war for war, and indirectly for peace. We all know what a tremendous contribution they have made to the war effort. We know their keenness and enthusiasm; their very numbers are an indication of that, and their high standard is also an indication of another kind. When peace comes, we shall still be training youth. We shall be training youth in peace, and for what? For peace, we hope, but surely indirectly again for war. There will no doubt be the inevitable post-war reaction, and there may be a "No more war" cry raised again; but that should not go too far, and there should not be that extreme belief in the impossibility of war which has prevailed in the past. We have seen that danger before; and therefore, as in war so in peace, the Cadet Services should give at any rate the rudiments of military training.

I should like to refer for a moment to the findings of the Wolverton Committee on Youth Service after the War, in so far as they refer to the pre-Service organizations. The Report of that Committee lays emphasis in the first place on the cuts which will have to be made in financial assistance from the Service Departments to the Cadet Corps. Secondly, it emphasizes that there must be a very great development by Cadet Corps of the nonmilitary side of their work if they are to play their part in the service of youth after the war. Thirdly, the Committee recommend transferring the Cadet Corps to the Board of Education. No doubt we may hear in the Government reply how far the Government policy will be based on this Report. I very much hope that there will not be drastic cuts; on the contrary, I hope that there may be every encouragement for the great contribution which these pre-Service organizations will make to the post-war service of youth. I hope that there will be help for those who will be most concerned with the development of the educational, social and recreative side of the work, which will take priority over the military side after the war. I see no reason why the Cadet Corps should not keep their place alongside the other youth organizations. As we have heard already, there is plenty of room for the training of youth, and youth demand variety of opportunity to develop their variety of talent.

We have in the Cadets a great spirit of adventure, and that spirit is developed fully there. They are trained in leadership, and this country was never more in need of leadership than it is now and will be in the post-war world. The boys are trained in a sense of responsibility and in good citizenship among many other things. All these are essential in the rising generation if lasting peace is to be built, as they have proved in keeping our war strength well supplied. I hope with the noble Duke who introduced this Motion that we may have a very favourable assurance from the Government in answer.


My Lords, I must apologize for speaking in this debate, since I have been privileged to hear only the concluding speeches made on the Motion which is before your Lordships' House, from which I would not wish to dissent in any way, but I think we should regret it if the duties of citizenship and the requirements of discipline were interpreted to youth as residing only in preparation for military combat. There are other duties of citizenship beyond the important one of being prepared to fight and, in case of need, to sacrifice one's life for one's country. I think it would be getting very near the brutal interpretation of citizenship, which we complain of as having existed in Germany and in Italy, if human virtue were interpreted only and solely in terms of preparation for war. I do not believe that the youth of this country has shown itself in the final test deficient in comparison with the youth of other countries. If youth were at any disadvantage in the equipment with which it was provided, it was not the fault of the youth, it was the fault of those responsible Governments which misinterpreted historical and other indications. It cannot be laid at the door of youth. Despite the criticism that has been made, British youth has proved itself unsurpassed among the youth of the world. And let us pay this tribute to them: it was the so-called undisciplined youth of this country who fought the Battle of Britain; it was the so-called undisciplined youth of this country who have carried on since the Battle of Britain.

I am quite prepared myself to admit that, not being uninfluenced by the courses which were being pursued by varying Governments of all Parties, I, perhaps with many another, took a limited view in peace-time of the value of Cadet organizations. I will be perfectly frank and admit that, and I would urge, perhaps in extenuation, that the local authority with which I have the honour and privilege to be connected has done its full share since 1939 in seeking to repair whatever might have been its mistakes beforehand. It is not unwise to admit one's mistakes. But when we are told, as was said by my noble friend Lord Mottistone, that in almost every other country in Europe there were Cadet organizations and pre-Service training facilities, well, that may be so—I would not for a moment question it—but in com- parison with what the youth and the citizens of most of the countries of Europe have done we have nothing to be ashamed of. And do not let us carry this self-depreciation, which is a little difficult to justify among adults in regard to this war, so far as to apply it to the youth of this country as well. The youth of this country has done magnificently, and I do not think that the purposes of this Motion will be best served by seeking to regard the Cadet organizations' training for military operations, when they become necessary, as expressing the whole obligations of citizenship. There are wider obligations, there are the obligations which make the country worth fighting for, namely, the obligations of making conditions of life more comfortable, more healthy and more desirable.

I am one of those who are not without considerable misgivings about a third war. I was impressed by the reference made by the noble Earl, Lord Airlie, to what was said by German prisoners in Tunisia— namely, that Germany had lost the first war, would probably lose this, but would win the third. The best way to prevent the third war in my view is not to rely upon pre-Service facilities for youth, but to take the appropriate steps at the end of the second war to prevent the third war, and divorce from our minds the idea that once again we should treat Germany kindly. It will be the duty of the United Nations, as is envisaged in the encouraging declaration recently made from the Conference in Moscow, to take steps on the conclusion of this war to see that there is no third war. And we shall not achieve that end by seeking to discover grounds for being sentimental towards our enemy, once the fighting ceases. I should regret exceedingly if, in extenuation of that duty lying upon the Governments of the United Nations to prevent a third war, we should be encouraged to rely upon training the youth of the future for that third war. Important as it may be to train them, should it come, it is much more important, it is a greater duty lying upon us, to see that it does not come.


My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of the noble Viscount who leads your Lordships' House I have been asked to reply to the debate which has been initiated this afternoon by the noble Duke opposite. In the first place, I should like, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, to offer their congratulations to the noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, on his maiden speech. He and other noble Lords who have spoken are well acquainted with their particular youth movements, and therefore their views are naturally of considerable interest to His Majesty's Government. I need hardly add that I hope that in the future we shall have the benefit of the views of the noble Duke in other contributions in your Lordships' House.

The debate on the Motion has perhaps wandered at times a little wide of the terms in which it is set forth, but it nevertheless has aroused considerable interest among your Lordships. As I understand the Motion, it falls into three separate and quite distinct parts—first, the desirability of further collaboration between the pre-Service Cadet organizations; secondly, the continuance of official recognition to these organizations after the war is over; and, lastly, the place that will be allotted to them in post-war youth policy. The Motion, therefore, raises questions not merely of inter-Service co-ordination, but of Government policy as a whole. I feel sure that the high opinion of the pre-Service Cadet organization at present in existence, which has been expressed by noble Lords to-day, will be a source of great encouragement to those who are associated with these organizations throughout the country. During the last three years, as noble Lords know, these movements have expanded from very small dimensions to a figure of 400,000. Not only are they performing their primary function of pre-entry training for the Services, but they are also performing a highly valuable civic function in common with civilian youth organizations.

Noble Lords who have spoken have pointed out very clearly that by enrolling this large number of youths who might, to a great extent, have remained outside organized movements, the Sea Cadets, the Army Cadets, and the Air Training Corps have made a very valuable contribution to the war effort as a whole. They are undoubtedly instilling into boys that self-discipline and sense of personal responsibility which, besides fitting them for His Majesty's Services, does a great deal to check that increase in juvenile delinquency which has been mentioned by one or two noble Lords to-day and which is not always easy to avoid in war-time. The noble Lord, Lord Mottistone, will forgive me if I do not go into all the details of his speech on this point. I did not come here armed with statistics of crime, which seem to me rather wide of the terms of the Motion on the Paper, but I shall communicate with my noble friend after I have discussed the point with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Home Affairs.

Opinion has also been expressed this afternoon on the usefulness of these Cadet organizations, and it is not out of place on this occasion that we should remember men of the calibre of the late Lord Lloyd, the late Lord Allenby, and others who had such foresight as to persevere and build sound foundations upon which these pre-Service organizations are now erected. There can be no member of your Lordships' House—certainly no one who spoke this afternoon—who does not desire to sec the fullest co-operation between the Services in pre-Service training as well as, of course, in other matters. When all is said and done, every succeeding phase of the war has brought this lesson home, and it is important that pre-Service Cadet training should cultivate the habit of mind of inter-Service co-operation from the earliest age. That point was made to-day with great force by the noble Duke (the Duke of Hamilton) who sits on the Cross Benches. Furthermore, it is obvious, especially in schools which maintain more than one pre-Service unit, that instructors and equipment should be economized, and duplication of effort avoided, by the fullest possible pooling of Cadet training. I have been informed that a great deal has been done in this direction already.

The Inter-Service Cadet Committee, which has been mentioned in the course of our discussion, has been in operation now for nearly two years. Its business is to discuss and, if possible, reach a solution of every problem common to the Cadet movements of the three Services. On this Committee officers representing the three Service Department are sitting— for the Admiralty the Officer Commanding Reserves, the Director-General of the Territorial Army, and the Director of the Air Training Corps. They and their staffs are at all times in full touch with the Board of Education on all matters relating to the Cadet organizations. I am informed that a good deal has been accom- plished to centralize the conditions of service and financial arrangements, and to reach what has been described as the highest common factor of training applicable to all three Services. I am further informed that in the summer of this year a joint Service Cadet training camp was held at Blackpool, and provided highly encouraging lessons in the matter of common training. I understand that these efforts will not be relaxed—in fact I hope they will be repeated. As I see it, cooperation between the Services is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, and the end that must be kept in view is to achieve the greatest efficiency, with the least effort, in the pre-Service training which the respective Services require.

Again, as was pointed out by the noble Duke, the Duke of Hamilton, although the basic training of the three Services may be similar, in point of fact the requirements of each differ fundamentally. Seamanship is essential to the Navy, navigation is essential to the Air Force, and field-craft is essential to the Army. If each pre-Service Corps did not meet the requirements of its respective Service in these specialized directions, it could not fulfil the duties or functions for which it exists. As most noble Lords know, each of these three Services works very differently. The organization of the Cadets must to a great extent conform with, and be built up on, that of their own particular Service. I do not think it is possible at the moment to make any radical change in the administration of the pre-Service corps. They must continue, as now, to be administered by the Service Departments. We must keep perfect co-ordination in view as our ideal, and in the meantime lose no opportunity of improving that co-ordination whenever opportunity occurs.

I leave that and go on to the second part of the noble Duke's Motion, in which he asks whether I can give any assurance that official recognition will be given to these organizations after the war. That was the question that was in the minds of the majority of the noble Lords who have addressed the House to-day, but it is obvious that I cannot commit this Government or any future Government to a course of action under conditions which cannot possibly be foreseen. The need for pre-Service organizations must depend, quite obviously, to a great extent upon post-war requirements of the three Services, which at the present time it is perhaps too early to assess. Nevertheless I can speak of the intentions which we have, and I tell the House that it is our intention and we do propose to maintain the pre-Service Cadet organization of the three Services on a voluntary basis after the conclusion of the war. It follows that if the Cadets are to be maintained the financial provision which is asked for in the noble Duke's question will have to be made for them on whatever scale is possible or desirable from time to time. I think it was the noble Duke opposite who asked what we intend to do with those people who had given their services voluntarily to this cause. It seems to me that it would be very short-sighted and indeed foolish if we did not use the services of those who have had so much experience in the Cadet movement, and of course they will be required to render service on a voluntary basis to the Cadet Forces.

I should like now to deal with the relation of the pre-Services organization to the general organization of youth or to the "Service of Youth" as I think it has now commonly come to be called. About two years ago a scheme was launched for the registration and training of youths and we obtained the assistance of all youth organizations, pre-Service and civilian, to help us to deal with the problem. As I have pointed out already the pre-Service Corps are now responsible for 400,000 boys, and their contribution to the training of the boys is by no means limited merely to pre-Service training. The open Cadet units provide physical and recreational training, and I am informed that they are giving in an ever increasing measure club life co-operation with other organizations such as the National Association of Boy Scouts and the Young Men's Christian Association. I have just told your Lordships that it is our intention to maintain these pre-Service Cadets after the war, and I should like to add that it is the present intention also to continue, as now, to regard them as a valuable part of the national organization for the service of youth in future years. Beyond this I would not at the moment be prepared to go.

Some members of the House may have in mind the first Report of the Youth Advisory Committee which the President of the Board of Education appointed to consider the present youth problem. Noble Lords will remember that in the prefatory note of that Report there were recommendations and these recommendations have not yet been officially accepted or rejected by the Government. More detailed post-war plans for co-operation between the Board of Education and the pre-Service organizations and the civilian organizations must of course be left to the future, but when that time comes the views which have been expressed by noble Lords in the course of this debate will be borne in mind and regarded as a valuable contribution to the subject as a whole.

In conclusion, perhaps I might add this. We have had a number of very interesting speeches made to-day by noble Lords who are very much concerned with, and have had intimate knowledge of, Cadet organizations. There is much that they have said which I could not possibly answer in the time at my disposal, but I do not want them to think that I am discourteous in saying that. I can assure them that the remarks which they have made will be of great assistance and great benefit to the Service Departments. I can promise them that every point that they have made will be very carefully considered when we come to build the main edifice on what I hope will be a permanent and lasting foundation at the end of the war.


My Lords, I want to intervene on this occasion as President of the National Cadet Association, and I would like to take the opportunity of thanking the noble Earl for what he has said this afternoon. I think he has done a great deal to remove the lack of confidence in the future which the Army Cadets felt, and which was so very much felt by the Association, as to what the Government policy would be, more especially after the publication of the Wolverton Report. What the noble Earl has said has tended to remove that feeling altogether. I should like to congratulate the noble Earl on the way he has handled the subject on this occasion. We feel now that we can go forward in our work with confidence. The noble Earl said that the Government had not decided to reject the Wolverton Report. As regards the Army Cadets, I fail to see how the recommendations of the Wolverton Report quite fit in with what the noble Earl said this afternoon, because the Wolverton Report suggests that the Cadets ought to be taken over by the Board of Education. However, I wish to thank and to congratulate the noble Earl, and I understand that now the Government decision is one on which we can work for the future.


My Lords, my noble friend Lord Mottistone said that he had not yet met a pessimist. Well, he has behind him now an optimist, for I cannot help being optimistic after the speeches we have heard this afternoon. Personally, I feel that it is very satisfactory indeed to know that the general feeling in the House is one of appreciation of the work that has been done by the Cadet Forces. I think we all realize that they have proved of very great value to the country in this war and that in the Cadet Forces we have something that we hope will give us control over juvenile delinquency. I agree with Lord Harewood when he said the Board of Education had played a very prominent part in all planning, including that in respect of the cadets, and I think it would be disastrous if the cadets were to suffer in any way by being deprived of the advantages of any education that may be provided in any educational plan simply because they were cadets. We must guard against that danger. I think that some provision should be made whereby any spare time that remains to boys from the time given to the educational plans outlined in Article 74 of the Reconstruction of Education Paper, should be devoted, if they wish it, to cadet service the same as it may be to arts and crafts, especially as the idea is that teaching them arts and crafts will help them to learn self-reliance and self-discipline.

My noble and gallant friend Lord Keyes said that it is thanks to the Navy and the Navy League that there are cadets to-day, and that but for them there never would have been any. Speaking as regards Scotland, we have had Sea Cadets for twenty-four years. When I had the honour to command two divisions of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve we formed a Cadet Corps for each division as a recruiting centre and from that time we never lacked recruits. As a result the two Scottish divisions were the only two divisions of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve that were at full strength always. I am not going to say more about the division of opinion concerning the Navy League because that is a domestic matter, but I am glad that we have had a debate on the best method of dealing with the Cadet Forces as a whole.

One noble Lord said that we must not rely solely on preparation to avoid a third war, and I agree, but surely one of the best ways to avoid a third war is to show by organization of the youth of the country that we are prepared to fight for what is right. One of the surest preventives of war is to show the world that we in Britain will stand up for what is right. I agree with my noble friend the Earl of Airlie that we should have more Government money to encourage the Cadet movement, and I think there is a good deal in the idea put forward by my noble friend the Duke of Hamilton that perhaps in the future we might have one Cadet Corps. The noble Duke, I think, suggested that it might be based on the Air Force Cadets, but I would prefer that it should not be based on any particular force. Cadet training is very elementary training and it might be a good thing to consider the advantages, from the point of view of efficiency and economy, of having one national cadet force with general elementary training, from which boys should join either the Navy, the Army or the Air Force. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.