HL Deb 22 May 1946 vol 141 cc423-6

4.7 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the second question standing in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether a statement can now be made in regard to the Territorial Efficiency Medal.]


My Lords, the noble Viscount raised this question a few months ago, with particular reference to the case of Territorials who had attained commissioned rank during the war, and I was then able to assure him, and other noble Lords who took part in the discussion on that occasion, that the claims of the officers in question were at that time receiving the most careful consideration and that I was not unhopeful of being able to make an announcement in due course which would be regarded as fully satisfactory. I am grateful to the noble Viscount for his patience during the period which has elapsed and for putting down his question to-day. The consideration of the matter has just been completed and, although the detailed regulations have not yet been promulgated, I am able to inform your Lordships of the conclusions reached and of the concessions which are being made.

As is no doubt known to many of your Lordships, the Territorial Efficiency Medal (referred to as the T.E.M.) is granted for long and meritorious service in the ranks of the Territorial Army. There is a corresponding award, the Territorial Decoration (generally known as the T.D.), granted for long and meritorious service in the commissioned ranks of the Territorial Army. During the war, in order to make the fullest use of the services of trained personnel of the Territorial Army, it became necessary in many cases to transfer men outside the Territorial Army. These transfers involved loss of Territorial status and, with it, the right to earn the Territorial Efficiency Medal, if not already obtained. The most notable class of Territorials who suffered by this arrangement were the warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men who left the ranks of the Territorial Army on being granted commissions. These officers have, in many cases, lost entitlement to the Efficiency Medal, notwithstanding that their aggregate service is sufficient, and the conditions are otherwise satisfied, solely because their commissioned service could not be allowed to reckon for the award. Other Territorial soldiers, transferred to Forces outside the Territorial Army, below commissioned rank, have been at a like disadvantage.

The question was accordingly referred for consideration to the Inter-Departmental Rewards Committee, of which I am Chairman. That Committee reached unanimous conclusions, which have now been agreed by the various Departments concerned and approved by His Majesty the King, and are now being put into force.

Under a Royal Warrant, published as Army Order 7 of 1946, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Territorial Army who were serving on September 3, 1939, and were embodied for service and granted commissions, may be granted the Territorial Efficiency Medal provided that they otherwise fulfil the necessary conditions for the award of that medal. In order that officers of the Territorial Army who were similarly serving on September 3, 1939, and were embodied, may not be placed in a less favourable position than other ranks, the Royal Warrant provides that they also may be awarded the Territorial Efficiency Medal under similar conditions. This does not debar such officers from qualifying for the Territorial Decoration in due course, under the usual rules for that award.

The Royal Warrant deals only with the entitlement of officers. The position of other ranks of the Territorial Army, who have been transferred to other forces without promotion to commissioned rank, will be met by allowing them to count such service for the award of the medal as though it had been performed in their Territorial Army engagements. At the same time, corresponding provision is made for Supplementary Reservists, Categories A and B, and Auxiliaries of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, who were similarly granted commissions or transferred, to enable them to count their service for the grant of the Efficiency Medal appropriate in their case. The necessary amendments to the Territorial Army, Supplmentary Reserve and Auxiliary Territorial Service Regulations are in course of preparation, and although they will take some little time, will be issued as quickly as possible. I hope that the noble Viscount and other noble Lords interested in this matter, including the noble Lord, Lord Croft, and the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who participated in the discussion on the last occasion, will be satisfied from what I have said that my earlier optimistic forecasts were not without justification.

4.12 p.m.


My Lords, arising from the noble Lord's reply, may I be allowed to thank him for the method and the way in which he has been able to make this statement this afternoon to your Lordships' House. I know that great satisfaction will be felt in all quarters that these officers will receive the Territorial Efficiency Medal, and I am deeply grateful for the support I have received and to the noble Lord, Lord Croft, when he was Under-Secretary of State for War, and the noble Marquess, Lord Reading.

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed.