HL Deb 26 March 1947 vol 146 cc818-78

3.26 p.m.

LORD MANCROFT rose to call attention to the state of progress in the re-forming of the Territorial Army, and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: It is over three months now since your Lordships last had the opportunity of discussing Service matters. That was on a Motion initiated by my noble friend Lord De L'Isle and Dudley. The subject of that discussion was the three Services, and although the Territorial Army was, naturally, touched upon, it did not receive very full attention. In view of the fact that the Territorial Army of the future is to occupy such a much more important place in the national fabric, my friends and I thought that your Lordships would like an opportunity of discussing it in some detail. The Motion was put down for this particular day because April 1, which falls next week, had been chosen as the day upon which the Territorial Army was to re-form. To those of us who remember the chaos and confusion which attended upon the last recruiting drive for the Territorial Army in March, 1939, this choice of April Fool's Day for our new attempt was hardly a satisfactory omen. There was also a feeling in Territorial circles that an attempt should have been made to start the Territorial Army before. But it has become apparent of late that preparations are not sufficiently far advanced to enable the date of April i to be met. The Government have now agreed to the date being put back to May 1. I must confess that I am not quite happy in my own mind as to whether we shall be any better advanced by May i than we should have been by April 1. I hope that perhaps this debate will put our minds at ease on that point.

I think it is only fair to say that there is a feeling in the country—I do not, myself share it—that the present economic state of the country, coupled with the effects of the disastrous weather of the last few months, makes it problematic whether it is right to consider re-forming the Territorial Army at this moment. I feel bound to add that a certain depression has been caused by the fact that it has been found necessary to postpone the re-forming of the Territorial Army, because there is a suggestion that plans are not on such a good and satisfactory footing as they should be and that we shall not get off to such a good start as we could wish. But be that as it may, on May 1 we re-form, and it is clear that we re-form on an entirely different basis from that of the Territorial Army before the war.

We are no longer merely to constitute a second line of defence, but we are to re-form as a new body with new functions, and, most important of all, with an entirely new part in the national life. Three roles so far have been given to the new Territorial Army. First of all, we are to find a balanced field force of six infantry divisions, two armoured divisions, one airborne, certain armoured brigades and corps and Army troops to scale. That gives a force of about eleven equivalent divisions, as compared with the fourteen divisions of Haldane's original force and the twenty-six divisions which were on the Territorial Order of Battle in 1939. Secondly, we are to find the A.A. and coast defence for the whole of Great Britain. To do that we have to raise 62 A.A. regiments as opposed to the 311 which were on the Order of Battle at the end of the war. I am. only a humble field gunner myself, and I do not speak with any authority on A.A methods. Lord Moynihan, who is to speak later on, is an expert and it is therefore with much trepidation that I say that the great advance in technical and scientific development of anti-aircraft defences means that a very much higher standard of training will be required from A.A. in the future. I question whether it will be possible to reach a high enough standard of training to make that burden a fair one to put upon a part-time force. I only question it, but it strikes me as being a very heavy task they have to undertake. The third role is to provide a tail for the regular and Territorial Army, to find those G.H.O. and L. of C. troops which are not normally required by an Army in peace-time. We have had little information as to the nature and number of these troops, or the state of training required from them.

Where are the men coming from for this new force? In the first place, they are to be volunteers drawn largely from the ranks of the old pre-war Territorial Army. How many are coming in is unpredictable; one cannot tell. I think they will come in, though why they will I do not quite know. Perhaps the only reason is the fact that the feudal system is still very strong in the Territorial Army, and when the Commanding Officer comes in the men will come also. But one must confess that seven years of warfare have probably blunted the keen edge of some of our volunteer spirit. You need be in the Army only for about seven hours to realize that only a lunatic volunteers for anything. Whether a man volunteers for good reasons or bad—and it is generally for both reasons—the volunteer seldom gets what he deserves. Furthermore, we have in this country a rather disreputable way of treating volunteers. We call upon volunteers to shoulder a burden which really ought to be shouldered by the whole community We wait until a volunteer tries to get on with the job and promptly put every conceivable obstruction in his way. Nevertheless, I think the volunteers will come.

After the volunteers have served for a period of a year and a half a complete change comes over the whole force. We then start to get the first batch of conscripts who have served their conscript service of eighteen months. It is difficult to discuss this before we have actually discussed the National Service Bill in detail, but so far as I can see we shall be getting recruits at the rate of about 200,000 a year. That means that by 1952 the Territorial Army will be nearly 1,000,000 strong, and of these million men less than 25 per cent. will be volunteers. That means that a radical and serious change will have come over the whole force, and we shall have a conflict which may take some resolution between the volunteer and the conscript forces. That is going to require tact and leadership of a high order and the first difficulty that is going to arise is the difficulty of discipline. I have given the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, who is to reply, notice of this matter, and I would very much like to hear his comments. All I would say is that before the war discipline in the Territorial Army was based on an indefinable system of good humour combined with mutual respect. That will not do for some of these conscripts, who may very likely regard the whole of their Territorial service as an irksome business. One thing must not be done: we must not be lured into the Territorial Army as volunteers on the old system of discipline, and after eighteen months suddenly find a new code of discipline is introduced to meet the conscripts. Let us be told, either in a Territorial Army Act or on same scheme based on the Home Guards principle, or in same other way, what we are in for.

Those are the disadvantages. May I now turn to the advantages the new scheme gives us? First of all, there will be a fixed number of recruits. This means that establishments can he maintained; it means that we can visualize the Order of Battle with much more certainty than we could before the war, and it means that a higher state of preparedness may be maintained. Now may I sound a note of warning? About 10 to 15 per cent. of the Regular Army are gunners, but the Royal Regiment of Artillery constitutes nearly 60 per cent. of the Territorial Army, and very rightly so. But this will necessarily involve a great deal of retraining and cross-posting when a man comes out of the Regular Army and goes into the Territorial Army. I do not want to discuss in detail the Territorial Order of Battle. To begin with, it has not yet been published. But there is one point which I am sure your Lordships will agree is an improvement, and that is the permanent part which the A.T.S. are to play in the new Territorial Army. But, in the name of common decency, humanity, and justice, cannot the A.T.S. have a new uniform? The present humiliating combination of sackcloth and sandbag has been designed, I think, by a man who must have been crossed in love when young, and was determined to get his own back on the whole of the female sex. Unfortunately, the measure of his success is reflected in the recruiting figures. I would like to ask the noble Lord whether he has any comment to make on the announcement in the Daily Graphic this morning that the A.T.S. are to become Royal. This is a wholly admirable suggestion, but exactly how the difficulty of the initials is going to be surmounted I do not know.

May I now return to the all-important question of training, and I hope I shall have your Lordships' agreement when I say that a Territorial Army which is not trained to the utmost of its capacity is, in view of our manpower shortage, a luxury which this country cannot afford. That may sound platitudinous, but I assure your Lordships that the idea is quite current nowadays that a soldier shall do everything except train for soldiering. Apparently we roust spend the first half of a conscript's eighteen months apologizing for putting him in the Army, and the second half in preparing him for demobilization. In between the two he can shift a bit of coal, meat, snow or flood water, as the case may be. But the time available for training in the Territorial Army is short. I do not think it could be any longer, because I do not believe the manpower position could stand it. Therefore, the fullest use must be made of it. We are not rejoining the Territorial Army for fun; we are rejoining to soldier.

Training rests in the hands of the Regular Army, as it did before the war. For that purpose, a cadre of 2 per cent. has been allowed for a Lieutenant-Colonel's command. In the present state of the Regular Army, I think that 2 per cent., even if it can be provided, is going to be small, particularly for technical units. Therefore, it follows that the cadre must be of the highest possible quality. The temptation for the Regular. Army to hold back their best men and to send their second best will be very natural, but it will be to the mutual advantage of both if only the best men are sent. I have expressed before in your Lordships' House my extreme respect for the high technical skill of the Regular Army, and I have no hesitation in doing it again. I hope that the greatest possible liaison can be maintained between the two forces. It was not always so before the war, let us admit. Sometimes the Regular Army adopted a rather condescending attitude towards the Territorials, and in return the Territorials adopted a snobbish attitude towards the Regulars.

I think it was the late Lord Rosebery who lamented our ridiculous and disproportionate love of amateurism in this country. How right he was! It always seemed to me sad that we place such great stress on the technical training and ability of our footballers and strip-tease artists, and yet we seem to despise it in our soldiers, in our statesmen and our cooks. I sincerely hope that the greatest possible liaison will be established between the Regular and Territorial Army. I saw it announced in The Times a few weeks ago that the R.A.C. are to follow suit with the Infantry and create a liaison between every Regular and Territorial unit. I hope that will be followed—I sec no reason why it should not—for every unit in the Territorial Army. Let every unit, particularly small units, have a Regular parent unit which can look after its interests.

My last point on the subject of liaison between the two forces, I fear, will not meet with your Lordships' full agreement. We are one Army now. The volunteer spirit has reached the stage when it must decrease, and we therefore want to emphasize the fact that we are not two separate Armies. We are one Army. Therefore I hope there will be no move to put back the "T" or "Y" on our shoulders, as was done before the war.

It is impossible to talk on the subject of training without mentioning land for training. This has already been the subject of many discussionsinyourLordships' House, and will be so again. We have reached the stage now when the public regard the War Office with the same jaundiced eye as they used to regard Hitler, when he said he had no further territorial demands to make. The War Office now fear that a soldier has only to ask the way to somewhere and that place immediately becomes a beauty spot. But the fact remains that before the war we had barely 300,000 acres for training in this country. As I have said, by 1952 we shall have not only 1,000,000 Territorials but the whole of the Regular Army of this country to train, and enough land has to be found. Training has got to be more realistic now. We must have training with the other arms and other Ser- vices, particularly with the R.A.F. We must have live firing; we must have realistic training, and we want land for it. Time unfortunately prevents us from going overseas, for instance to Cyrenaica (which I have seen suggested) or Canada, and I doubt whether it is a practical proposition to move, say, the Welsh Division to the North of Scotland, or the East Anglian Division to the North of Ireland. You have only fifteen days in the year for camp, and in those fifteen days the men have to do their annual training. Each year between the months of May and September something like 1,000,000 men have to be moved into camp. That is a problem that I trust the noble Lord will try to solve for us this afternoon.

I trust also that he will solve for us the very tricky problem of drill halls. I do not suggest for one moment that the noble Lord should turn families out of their houses to provide drill halls for the Territorials. Of course, one cannot do that. One cannot suggest that the building of new drill halls should occupy a high place in tho priority of building, but accommodation has got to be found. We need two sorts of accommodation. There is a short-term and a long-term problem—short-term for us to get together, to organize, and to accumulate tho equipment needed; and long-term for a permanent barracks system on a much better basis than we had before the war, including accommodation for all our vehicles and equipment, and permanent accommodation for the staff, for canteens and messes. May I suggest to the noble Lord that he should examine a scheme which has been adopted in Canada, where in some towns where they have three or four units, units are grouped together in one big headquarters, thereby reducing overheads. It seems to me that that is a scheme which we might well copy.

I mentioned equipment, and I hope that we shall not find ourselves in the position in which we were before the war with inadequate and insufficient clothing and equipment. Nothing is more discouraging to training than having insufficient and out-of-date equipment. I remember only too well before the war, in 1939, when the recruits came in, that there were no uniforms available for them, and those of us who had two tunics were told to turn in our spare uniform for the recruits. My spare uniform had been hanging in mothballs for about six months. I duly turned it in, and I was happy to receive in due course a receipt from my Quartermaster saying: Received: tunics S.D.—I; trousers, pairs of—I; balls in the pocket, moth-5." All these problems are going to fall, in the first place, on the Territorial Army Associations. They will have to bear the brunt of the problem. I would ask the noble Lord if he is satisfied that they are reconstructed, as they should be, on the best working basis. Is union representation on these Associations strong? Some surprise has been expressed recently that union representation is allowed for, but that should not cause any surprise. It was always provided for in the original scheme. I hope that union representation is strong. I hope that the employers' organizations, as well as the educational authorities, are also well represented on all the Associations.

I approach the next point with trepidation, because I know that many of your Lordships are members of these Associations. I hope that the average age is being reduced. I know that the first time I ever came to deal with an Association I formed the impression that far too many members appeared to have been on back-slapping terms with Boadicea. All these questions turn on one point—that of information and propaganda. I would ask the noble Lord—and the words of my Motion are specifically phrased in that way—for a report on progress. How is it going? It is very difficult to find out. The War Office have kept very quiet about it. It is perhaps not entirely their own fault. Shortage of newsprint and shortage of space in the papers obviously make it difficult to get the widest publicity, but I think a great deal more might have been done. I beg the noble Lord to tell us as much as he can. I beg him to stop playing soldiers in the corner by himself. Let him come to the front and tell us his difficulties. We want to help him. There are so many things which are difficult to find out.

I know that the terms of service have been published, but they were given very little publicity in the papers and a large number of potential recruits have not beer, able to get hold of them. Can the noble Lord make these terms more widely known? Can he tell us how Commanding 'Officers are coming along? Are we getting enough? If we are not getting enough, are enough Regulars being provided? Are we getting the Staff Officers we want, and the Adjutants—particularly the Adjutants—and the P.S.Is.? Are the rates of pay which have been laid down for these officers attracting the right type of man? It struck me on looking at those rates for the first time that they would attract far too many people who were unable to obtain reasonable employment elsewhere.

I mentioned the Order of Battle just now. I hope that the Government will see their way to publish that Order of Battle as soon as possible. If it is not ready yet, that is a good reason for not publishing it, but I hope they are not hiding behind any idea of security, because that argument will no longer hold much water. The Government must realize that the new Territorial Army is going to touch the national life at every point. It is going to cause friction at some points—commercial, industrial and domestic. Take the all-important question of camp. What are the Government doing to prepare the nation for the effect which that will have on everyday life? Are we or are we not to give our employees holidays, as well as allow them to go to camp? Pious hopes, as expressed by the Secretary of Stale in another place, are not good enough. We must have something definite on that. Are we doing our best to identify local authorities with their own units, getting them to take a pride in those units? What are we doing to get families interested in the social and sporting life of the units?

I see in the Territorial Army an immense weapon for good in the way of club life. We can provide in the T.A. a club life for men who would otherwise know no club except the pin-table saloon and the street: corner. We have here an immense weapon for spiritual and moral leadership. I hope that on this point, at least, I shall have the support of the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Truro, who is to speak later in this debate. I think that point is one which cannot be sufficiently stressed to the country at large.

I have said once before, and I will say again; this new Territorial force is a completely different force from the Territorial Army we knew before the war. It is of increased importance, both from the demand it is going to make on the country and in the number of points at which it is going to touch national life, as well as for the contribution it can make to the country's life. As the Regular Army runs down, and it may continue so to do if we are to carry through certain suggestions of further cuts and possible reduction of period of service, so will more weight be thrown on the Territorial Army and greater responsibilities for defence will have to be shouldered by the Territorial Army.

It is therefore absolutely essential that the Territorial Army should have a good send-off. The old Territorial volunteer spirit, unless we are very careful, will die with the volunteers. We must do our best to see that that does not happen. We must see that the very best of the regular technical spirit is combined with the Territorial volunteer spirit. We no longer have the urgent pressing need of dangers impending to give an impetus to the Territorial Army. Will the Government give us an assurance that they are really behind the Territorial Army? Will they say that they are not going to let us down, and that the threat of the axe will not be always hanging over our heads? I beg the Government to do one thing, and that is to keep faith. Let them tell us what we have to do; let them tell us the worst. Do not let them bring us in on one contract when they have another contract in mind. And, above all, no secret treaties with the Treasury. I hope the Government will do their best to see that the country realizes what the Territorial Army has come to mean, and to make the country appreciate the Territorial Army and give it the best support they can. I beg to move for Papers.

3.51 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has introduced this Motion, if I may say so, with an able, interesting and amusing speech, and I must say, being a very infrequent speaker in your Lordship's House, that I feel rather diffident about following him. He has given us a clear description of what the Territorial Army is going to be. The process of the reestablishment of the Territorial Army is certainly much behind schedule. This may be partly due to the fact that expectations were placed rather too high. I speak as the Chairman of the Association, and the orders that we have had from the War Department certainly show that they have been hurried, and give one the impression that they have been under a good deal of political pressure. The result is that the Associations have had to try and deal with these things and bring forward a plan without nearly enough time in which to do it. After all, it is no small task to try and reform the Territorial Army on a new basis. Under the new charter we have to reorganize our Association—we have to increase our staffs; we have to plan accommodation; and Commanding Officers have to be appointed, with their Adjutants and their permanent staffs. They must have time to find their way about. On top of it, we have all the accounting, the ledgering and the equipping to do before the troops come along.

This question of accommodation is really formidable, and it has been made much more difficult owing to the fact that many other authorities are concerned. Our requirements are much larger than they were before the war. I will give your Lordships one instance of this, and that is the number of vehicles which we are to be allotted. So far as I can see, the peace allotment in my Association for all kinds of vehicles, from motorcycles to tanks, is going to be somewhere in the region of 800. I think your Lordships will realize that this is a formidable number to be housed and properly looked after somewhere. We have to negotiate with town planning committees and various other authorities, and they all have their own requirements to think about, This is, and will continue to be for some time, a very formidable question. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, referred to finance. I do think we want some guidance in this matter. We have been told—in fact this is almost all we have been told—that the same system of accountancy will continue as before the war. But I think I am right in saying that we have had no indication yet as to what we may expect in the next financial year. That, as I think is obvious, makes is very difficult for us to budget ahead, when we have so much for which we have to budget—increased staff, and all those things for which we have to plan well ahead.

I do not want to dwell upon the past. We are all in this, and we want to make a success of it, especially those who are Territorial officers and old soldiers of a good many years standing. Without raising a lot of small details, there are one or two things I should like to bring before your Lordships this afternoon, of which I have given the noble Lord who is to reply some notice and upon which I should be grateful for some information. The first matter which is really a matter of concern is the question of holidays. The Secretary of State for War said a few days ago in another place that he hoped employers would give sympathetic consideration to those of their men who wished to attend camps. That does not seem to me to go far enough. I hope it means that time riven to training in camp will not be allowed to interfere with a man's holiday. In pre-war days many people had to take their holidays in camp and to give them up otherwise, but that is not the case now. I have been asked this question several times by prospective officers and men. They are much concerned about it, because they say they have been away from their families during the war for five or six years, and they really cannot now join unless they receive an assurance that they will not lose by it in this matter of holidays. If the Government can make a clear statement on that, I think it will go a long way to clearing the air and reassuring these men. Otherwise I am afraid we shall lose the services of a certain number of them.

Another matter which is very difficult, and which I hesitate to press too hardly, is that of accommodation for P.S.Is. It may be possible to house a certain number of these men in local barracks and depots if they are single men. But even that is not completely satisfactory, because in many cases they will be some distance away from their work. And married men will certainly not find it anything like so easy. Furthermore, I think the lodging allowance is not big enough for the purpose, even if lodgings can be found. I do not know what the Government have in mind. I know, as we all do, the difficulties of the housing situation, but I wonder whether the Government have considered huts for this purpose. It is a point which is probably worth consideration. It is not ideal, but the advantage of huts is that in many cases they are on the spot. This would be only a temporary expedient, but: it might go some way towards meeting the case. It is vital that we should have a really good type of N.C.O. and permanent staff instructor, but I cannot see that we shall get them; at any rate we shall get them only very reluctantly if they are not given proper accommodation for themselves and their families. Those are just one or two matters which, if settled satisfactorily at the beginning, will go a long way to allay the anxieties which exist.

Another matter I would like to mention is that of recruiting. We are all glad to hear that it will not begin until May 1, and then only for key personnel. It has been obvious to us for some time that April will be really too: much of a rush, and it is most unlikely that a satisfactory start could be made on that date. I would like to ask the noble Lord if the Government have any date in mind for the opening up of general recruiting. The recruiting on May 1 will be confined to Commanding Officers and key personnel.


If I may intervene, I may assist the noble Lord. That is not correct; it will be general recruiting. But where an Association finds it impossible to make a start at that time it will have the option of postponing it until a more suitable date.


I thank the noble Lord for that information. Why I raised the matter was that it has seemed to me it would be better if the whole thing could start together. As it is now, units that are not ready will be at a disadvantage compared to the units that are. I was hoping very much that the Government, as they saw how things progressed, would be able to state a date, say September 1, or some date like that, on which the whole scheme could start together, and the Associations who are responsible for its publicity could get it going with a good flourish of trumpets. If the noble Lord says that is not possible, then I accept his ruling.

Before I sit down, I should like to say one word in regard to volunteers. It is very encouraging to know that the Secretary of State looks upon them as the backbone of the force, and undoubtedly they are. I hope it will be realized what a very strong tradition there always has been in most Territorial units. There is not only a strong local feeling but a family feeling as well, and it is a source of great pride that sons and grandsons have followed their fathers and grandfathers from the days of the old Volunteers and the old Militia. These key men will be called upon to make considerable sacrifices. They are mostly busy men and they will have to give up ale greater part of their spare time to the Service. Therefore I hope that nothing will be done to break that spirit upon which so much depends in this new Army. I think the Government can afford to be generous in the matter of allowances for travelling, petrol and so on. I hope they will see that no man is out of pocket through attending to his duties. If this is done and these men are given a fair trial, then I am quite certain that a good foundation will be laid upon which a successful build-up of the Territorial force can be made.

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, I desire in a few words to support some of the points that were made by the noble Lord who introduced this debate in such a fresh and vigorous manner, and also, if I may, to add a few observations on the whole subject from the Church's point of view. The great majority of the members of Christian communions in this country recognize preparation for defence as a necessary part of the nation's duty, and they are anxious that that preparation should be efficient in itself and that it should also, so far as possible, make a contribution to the physical, mental, moral and spritual welfare of the rising generation. Looking forward into the future some years hence, we see the young men of the nation doing two years' full-time training for military service, and then continuing with part-time training over a further period of four or five years.

It is to be hoped that the period of full-time training will be as short as is compatible with efficiency, because in many instances it will involve a serious dislocation of the young man's career as a civilian. I know the Army has an Education Corps but that Corps has to operate under conditions which impose severe limitations upon the best educational work. It will often be able to offer knowledge only in bits and pieces—potted knowledge—with inevitably, I am afraid, a good deal of tendency towards superficiality rather than thoroughness. I am not in the least blaming the personnel of the Army Education. Corps; I am merely calling attention to the conditions under which they will inevitably have to work. These young men doing their military training cannot expect the same kind of preparation for their civilian careers as they would have had if they had not been required to serve their country in this way. I would strongly submit, however, that the interruption in their civilian careers should be made as short as real military efficiency will allow. If that period is reduced to a minimum, the next part of their training—the four or five years in the Territorial Army—becomes correspondingly more important.

The national service men will eventually form the bulk of the Territorial Army, but a very important element in that Army will still be the volunteers. Who are the men who will now volunteer? My own little experience leads me to think that foremost among these will be excellent young fellows, keen and trustworthy, with energy, ability and personality. They will appear from all sorts of backgrounds and origins. One of the keenest part-time soldiers I remember had a Quaker mother and a Presbyterian father—a blend warlike in resulting effect. Such men as my young friend are men of intellectual and moral fibre above the average, and their influence on their comrades in the Territorial Army will be invaluable. Indeed, as I see it, the new Territorial Army will present to these young natural leaders of their generation, if I may so call them, a very great opportunity, and it will be for the families and friends of the volunteers and of the national service men, for their employers, the Territorial Associations and the various Christian communions to do all they can to encourage and to help.

I was very glad to read what the Financial Secretary to the War Office recently said in another place. He said: We do rely upon the co-operation of the whole House and of the whole public that wishes well to the Army in trying to do everything possible to make the Territorial Army an outstanding success. I read those words in the light of some other words used on the same day by the Secretary of State for War. He said: It is my duty, and not only my duty but the duty of every member of this House, to see that it is borne in on all officers and men that they not only have a military function to perform during their service but that they have to increase their moral as well as their physical stature while in the Army. It can be done, but it cannot easily be done. It will not be done by making everything soft and voluntary. It is greatly to be hoped that in this connexion the Government will resist the great temptation which besets all democratic Governments—not only the present one—of angling for votes. Moral fibre is required of the Government, and a determination not to pander to uninformed popular opinion. The danger of militarism in this country is infinitesimal—negligible. It is surely a mistake even for Parliament to interfere in matters of Army discipline, apart from the most exceptional occasions.

I hope I may be allowed to say that the new regulations recently introduced with regard to Church Parades, are, in my view (and I have had some little experience both in the former war and since) very regrettable. I am Too per cent. for freedom of worship, but that freedom can be safeguarded in other ways. I do not think it is unreasonable that men who have put themselves down as C. of E. should be called upon from time to time to unite in the worship of Almighty God. I admit that the whole question is rather a complicated one, but I would maintain that the value of the greatest asset in the old system was not sufficiently appreciated. That greatest asset was that regular Church Parades provided an open and clear expression—an ocular demonstration, if we may so put it—of the fact that the British Army as a body corporate reverenced Almighty God. That has been the tradition of the British Army, and it is a great tradition. These new regulations. have dealt it a heavy blow and have made the work of the chaplains more difficult—and it was, in all conscience, difficult enough before.

Do not expect too much of your chaplains. They will not all be men of the calibre and personality of Woodbine Willie. We will try hard to supply as chaplains the best men we can find. A rough estimate suggests that between 500 and boo chaplains will be required in the new Territorial Army. As your Lordships know, the clergy are considerably depleted in number, and most of them are very hard pressed, but we will try hard to provide chaplains who will be young, and fit enough to train and go on active service with their units, should such an eventuality arise. They will be good men, eager to do their best, but they will not all be outstanding personalities, and they will all need constant help and support at every turn from all ranks.

There is one great advantage which these chaplains in the Territorial Army will have over their fellow chaplains in the Regular Army; that is that they will be able, I hope, to keep in closer touch with the officers and men in their homes and in their social and business life. They will be ministering to men of their own locality, if not actually of their own parish. I am sure that this House will sympathize with the earnest desire of the Christian Churches to keep in close touch—to get into closer touch—with the youth of the country. After all, there are no other organizations which have done so much to promote sound morality as the Christian Churches, and it would be deplorable if officials and others who have a sincere concern for the moral welfare of the nation were to leave out or by-pass the Churches.: (hope, therefore, that the new Territorial Army will be as sparing as it can be in the demands it makes upon the week-ends.

The Home Guard, in the recent war, made a great deal of use of the week-ends. The Churches, as a whole, recognized the grim necessity, but I am afraid that in consequence, in certain respects at all events, the Churches suffered. The members of the Home Guard, and others who were engaged in war service, often found it difficult, if not impossible, to attend Divine service, and the habit of regular attendance which the Churches are so anxious to encourage, and which I believe is tremendously in the national interest to encourage, has declined. I hope that on such questions as the use of Sunday, those who have at heart the moral and spiritual welfare of the Territorial Army will not get out of step with the Churches. In conclusion, I should like to emphasize again the greatness of the opportunity which the creation of the new Territorial Army will present to all those who have the highest welfare of the on-coming generation at heart. Parents, friends, educational authorities and the Churches all have a vital interest in making the Territorial Army both a bulwark of national defence and also a power for the nation's good.

4.14 p.m.


My Lords, I am sure your Lordships will all agree with me that the contribution which the right reverend Prelate has just made to our debate has been a most valuable one. I, for my part, feel that there need be no fear in the county of Cornwall that the Church and State will not work together for the good of the Territorial Army. Equally I have no doubt that Cornwall will set an example in that respect to other parts of the country. The right reverend Prelate did underline the point that the forces are trustees of those people who, whether they are volunteers or conscripts, serve in the forces. We take the smallest number that are necessary for national defence, and we keep them for the shortest time that is consistent with readiness for war. But while they are there it is our business to see to it that they become better people, in body and mind, than they were when they joined. It is perfectly possible to combine the fear of God with the honouring of the King in the King's Service, if all who are concerned work together.

I do not want to spend any of your Lordships' time covering the ground which was so fully covered by my noble friend who moved the Motion. If, therefore, in what I am going to say, I sound perhaps more intent on criticism than praise, it is simply because I do not wish to spend your Lordships' time stating the obvious, but merely to point to things which seem to me to be the points which still require attention. The first point, and I think the big point, is that although announcements have been made about the Territorial Army which may be complete, in so far as they concern the Territorial Army in a narrow sense, they are very far from complete in so far as they concern the auxiliary Army. The Territorials, plus the conscripts, are to form, as we see in the White Paper on Defence, this country's second line of defence. Therefore all we are doing when we announce the conditions of service of the new Territorial Army—and let us face it—is to announce the conditions of service and the proposals for the volunteer cadre. That will not constitute a second-line Army unless and until the National Service Bill—which I think is now being laid on the Table in another place—has reached the Statute Book. Let us leave no doubt in anybody's mind about that.

The volunteers are our most essential part. They will provide the leaders, the specialists, and the technicians. They will set the tone and set the pace of the auxiliary Army, but by themselves they will not produce a force ready to go to war, with its proper reserves behind it, unless a miracle happens—and I do not suppose for a moment it will—and three or four times the number of volunteers that we had in 1938 and 1939 come forward now. I do not expect that to happen for a moment, and therefore I repeat that this scheme is dangerously incomplete from the point of view of readiness for war. until the National Service Bill reaches the Statute Book. I am interested in no other point of view except that of readiness for war. I am not interested in traditions and regimental customs, and things of that sort, in so far as they are used—as they were used between the wars—to provide a kind of opiate or soporific, something to divert the attention of the Territorial from lack of money and equipment. We all know that that is no good. Let us be realistic about it, and let us not assume that everything is all right until Parliament has provided for the proper number of men to be there.

That brings me to a question which has been mentioned by one or two speakers; how far the conscript will mix with the volunteer. We had all this in the Home Guard days, and I had opportunities for seeing, as well as anybody else, how that worked. When it became necessary to introduce compulsory enrolment the most gloomy prophecies were made about what would happen if we dulled the bright edge of the volunteer spirit, and so on and so forth. However, we were not entirely convinced, and "soon a wonder came to light which showed the rogues they lied." It turned out that if the conscripts were properly treated and led, and if the local commander had a wide measure of discretion in deciding whether or not any particular Home Guard should parade, the whole thing worked perfectly ail right, and everybody felt the better in that the ranks of the Home Guard Units were full. I offer that as some indication of what I think and hope will happen when the time comes—as I hope it will soon—when the national service recruits come into the Territorial Army.

Unnecessary though it seems, I repeat again that it seems to have been suggested in some of the speeches I have read, in and outside Parliament, that this question of the Territorial Army has something to do with our immediate commitments in Greece or Palestine, or where you like. I do not take that view for one moment. This is our long-term insurance against war, long-term plans forestalling future wars, not short-term plans for clearing up messes left over from the last war. Do not let us suppose that the two things have anything to do with each other; nor let us suppose that manpower shortages in themselves have any real bearing on whether or not it is necessary, in the interest of national defence, to raise a force of this or that size.

I understand that the Army estimates have been passed in another place. The sooner the War Office can get the conditions of service, financial provisions and the provisional grant to the Territorial Associations, and such matters, all in one document the better; and the better will be the response, both by the Association and by the individuals, to the calls made on them by the War Office. The sooner, too, that we can have the Order of Battle free from secrecy, so that every one know how many men are wanted, and of what kind, the sooner a lot of difficulties will be removed and the sooner the War Office will have to stop answering a lot of questions based on false assumptions. I hope the time will come for less secrecy about the Order of Battle, but I do not know how far at the present time these things are necessary, and how far they are not.

To come back to finance. Again, I am drawing on my experiences in the Home Guard. One wants to give the Territorial Associations as much latitude as they can possibly have. One also has to be careful, if financial provision is made for this or that service, that the provision represents the market price of that service. Here you can do one of two things. You can either give free services at the War Office expense, or an allowance which will have to be constantly reviewed to see that not a halfpenny more has to be spent on tram rides than the amount of the allowance, This work should be done by the War Office staff, day in and day out, and their reputation would go up in the country if it was known that they were doing these things and paying the market rate.

We shall hear a great deal about the traditional regiments, the Horse, the Foot and the Guns, but in the new Territorial Army, of course, the proportion of Horse, Foot and Guns to technical units of the corps arid services will be very much smaller than it was. I have no doubt the yeomanry and infantry and the gunners, however many there are, will be well looked after by their regimental asso- ciations. I am not so happy about the small technical units— Ordnance, R.E.M.E., Signals, and so forth. They arc equally important. We should like to know what steps are being taken to get them cared for in the same way as units of the older corps.

I will not repeat what the noble Viscount, Lord Allendale, said about Territorial Associations. It is early days to say whether their reconstruction has been a success, or whether the choice of the members of the association is right. It is also early days to say whether the membership of representatives of the workers' and employers' organizations will be really effective, or whether it will merely be a couple of people in the shop window of each association. We shall not have the Territorial Army running smoothly unless it has the real backing of both employers and workers, nor shall we get it running smoothly unless we make it clear that the amount of time spent in a Territorial camp shall be in addition to holidays with pay. If we want this to be the case, and if Parliament is able to command that it shall be—as they command other things, such as that children should stay at school a year later—they should be able to decide the matter. But we should not go around cap in hand asking people to do it. We should also sec that those who do not join do not steal a march on the more patriotic of the workers.

The Territorial Army starts on May 1., It will start as a cadre. It will start under difficulties. I am a little sorry, I confess, as it was not possible to start on April r, that it was not put off until October i. But still, some units, at any rate, will be able to start, and the units which find it possible to start should be given every possible encouragement from this House and from everyone else. They will rely very much during the first year on the regular cadre. The regular cadre is going to be 2 per cent. What I hope is that the 2 per cent. will all be there on the ground, and not merely on paper. I also hope we can be reassured about quality, because every Regular soldier is riot suitable for the Territorial Army in respect of personality and character. I also want to make sure that, so far as possible—at any rate those who have to do with training—the whole of these Regulars are serving Regulars and that they are not civilians. Clerks are a different matter, I do not press that. Let us, on May 1, give a real welcome to the people who join. They will have a hard time. Drill Halls, whatever the Association or War Office do, will not be adequately warmed or properly furnished. No one will mind if it is felt that everything is being done, but if we merely give lip service to the overcoming of these difficulties, and do not produce the money and produce the priorities, then not only our efforts but the efforts of these people who are giving a lead and who are joining the Territorial Army on May I will be in vain.

4.29 p.m.


My Lords, I do not intend to keep the House for more than a few minutes. The only reason I venture to intervene in this debate is that I had the honour of joining His Majesty's Army on September 15, 1910. If, as it may well be, I am asked in a small way to help recruiting it will be for the fifth time that I have raised men for the Territorial Army since I joined. Only for the reason that I have had experience of this kind do I venture to put one or two views before your Lordships and before the noble Lord who is to reply.

May I begin by thanking him for the courtesy he has already shown me, and others of your Lordships who are interested in this matter, by seeing us on this point? To the magnificent speech which the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has made there is very little that I desire to add. Nor do I differ from anything that he said except on one matter. I should indeed be very sorry to see disappear from my own shoulder the "Y" which I had in September 191o, and I am quite sure that members of the Territorial Army would be very sorry if in the long run the "T" was taken from their shoulders for good. It would be against the interests of the Territorial Army tha* such a thing should happen. We have our own spirit and tradition. I venture to suggest that since its formation in 1908 the Territorial Army has developed a tradition and a spirit which is second to none in the world as regards both efficiency and courage. We were, after all, only civilians turned soldiers.

The first point on which I wish to put a question to the noble Lord who is going to reply arises in this way. Before the war we had a Deputy Director-General, under the Director-General, of the Territorial Army, who was himself a Territorial, who could deal with all the various Departments and who was in direct touch the whole time with the Territorial Army. I have had it said to me outside that that appointment is no longer to be carried on, and I am bound to confess that some of us think that such a decision would be a great pity. Everything that the noble Viscount, Lord Allendale, and the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, have said has helped to impress upon me one thing and one alone, and that is that this Territorial Army scheme is being rushed, that it is being pushed through too quickly. I cannot believe that it was the War Office who suggested April Fool's Day as the day on which to start the re-forming. I think that it must have been somebody outside the War Office—I do not know who—who suggested that. Now, as we know, "April Fool's Day" has been altered to May i. That means that in about four or five weeks from now we shall start. We have already heard of questions being put to which no answers can be given. Last Thursday I was at an unofficial conference dealing with recruiting. We were trying to make a beginning and to work out what should be done in the early stages. Question after question was asked, and each time we had to say that we were afraid that we could not answer them.

Now consider the bearing of this matter on the agricultural industry. We are going to have a very late harvest; work on the land has recently been completely dislocated. Workers in the cities—some of whom it may be are going away for the first time since the war—have fixed up their holidays and have already booked their rooms. For these reasons and for those which have been already mentioned by Viscount Allendale I do hope that it is not too late now to have the start of this re-forming put back to October 1. May I quote my own personal example? I am desperately keen that we should start on the right foot and not on the left. When I took part in recruiting for the second time after the First World War, the War Office, through the usual channels, and the Government of the day, tried to induce me to get my men recruited in October. I flatly declined. I did the preliminary work, and in the third week of January—that is, some four months later—I recruited the whole of my establishment in one evening. Others took the same view as I did, and did the same thing. We chose our own time. Take the unit with which I am connected and consider the state of the huts. Yet we have been separated from another unit which has a first-rate drill hall. We shall be behind the whole time, and the unit will suffer in consequence. I am certain that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, will agree that we cannot expect to have other buildings or huts yet awhile. That, I suggest, is all the more reason why we should all start together, so that we shall all know where we are and shall have a chance to get the huts and other buildings in decent order.

If am, as I say, one of those people who believe that we should start off on 'the right leg. I am not disputing that it is a matter for the Government to decide, but I hope particularly that we are going to, start off on the right leg with regard to the code of discipline. I had no disciplinary powers before the war. If any of my men did anything wrong all I could do was, quite illegally and against War Office regulations, to dock them of part of their bounty and put the money to squadron funds. That was, in fact, about the only way in which I could raise money for squadron funds. As a matter of fact those funds were always overdrawn. There were really very few people whom I felt it necessary to make contribute to the funds in that way. I ask the noble Lord to let us know what the code of discipline is going to be, so that we can give a real and comprehensive answer to questions on the subject when they are put to us. In my view what will be fair for the Territorials will he fair for the National Service men when they join up.

Now let me turn for a moment to the subject of finance. We are within five weeks of making a start, and in my regiment at the present moment we have not a penny piece. The Commanding Officer has to put his hand in his pocket for £100 to pay for bare necessities to start a canteen. He has not got any money, because his original unit has been split in two and the funds have all gone to the Regular battalion. The Territorial unit is left without funds. May I now turn to the question of units and, in particular, searchlight units? I commanded one of those units—very inefficiently no doubt but I did my best—and I was continually chasing equipment. No sooner did I get one kind of equipment than it was out of date. Indeed, we had four different kinds of equipment on our sites at one time. Incidentally, searchlight units were not popular in the war, and I cannot see that they are going to be any more popular now. I would like to know whether there is any necessity for the reforming of searchlight units. If it is felt that there is, I do beg that an effort will be made to see that they have later equipment than that which was already out of date in 1943, because I understand the issue of that equipment is being suggested at the present moment.

I have just one other point, and that is with regard to the sums of money allotted for civilian clerks, storemen, drivers, and so on. I venture to suggest that the amounts are nothing Ike high enough. For instance, I am told that a driver is to be paid approximately £5 a week. You will not get drivers for that money; they can get £8, £9, £10 and even £11 a week, and they are not going to join up to get £5 a week for civilian labour for the Territorial units. There, again, I think the financial department of the War Office should reconsider matters. As to executive officers, I am told that they are to get only a mere pittance. If we are to start off in the proper way, this is another matter which must be attended to and put right. With regard to the starting date of the scheme, we know that the noble Lord who is going to reply for the Government cannot give us an answer this afternoon. But surely an interval of only four or five weeks from now is too short to allow us to get these questions settled. These are very serious matters for all who are taking part in this great cause. So far as I am concerned, I have always felt it a great honour to be connected with the Territorial Army. My sole object in putting these facts before your Lordships is that I may, in my humble way, help in the re-forming of the Territorial Army on the right leg and not on. the left leg, as I believe will happen if we start on May If we start on May 1 I am convinced that we shall be starting on the left leg a ad the result will be a failure.

4.40 p.m.


My Lords, we have been listening, for the most part, to speeches by noble Lords who had great experience in the Territorial Army before the war. I was a member of the Territorial Army before the war, but I am speaking to you this afternoon as a prospective Commanding Officer—in fact, as one of the "lunatics" to whom the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, referred earlier on. As a C.O., I feel that there are two grave causes for worry. First of all, we are worried by the continued changes of date for the start of recruiting; secondly, we are worried by the revised conditions of service. It will be over two years since hostilities ceased before we can once more be actively at work. Great numbers of people who a year ago were very keen to join, are now through constant delays having their ardour damped, and it will become harder and harder to get the right people if we do not get on with the scheme as quickly as possible.

But before we can recruit we must have, first of all, commanding officers, and then permanent staff. I understand that a few months ago "D" Day for this was February. If my mathematics are correct, today is "D" Day plus 53, and we still want Commanding Officers and great numbers of people for the permanent staff. I was told a few days ago—and I believe that I am right in saying this—that among London gunners units only one so far has an Adjutant. It is no good talking about recruiting, until we get much further forward in this matter. Though I should like to see recruiting start at the earliest possible moment, I believe it would be a mistake to start on May i. I think we should put the date back at least to July before we start full recruiting. I am of opinion that this delay, or this change of date, is beginning to make certain people think that the Government are not 100 per cent. behind the Territorial Army, and I should like some practical evidence that they are.

Now I would like to look at the conditions of service. First I would like to criticize (I am afraid that I am going to be in a very critical mood this afternoon) the great lack of publicity for these conditions of service. I have at last managed to get one copy of the official War Office document, dated January, 1947, stating the conditions of service. That is one copy for a regiment. Surely copies of that document should be available to every one who wants to join the Territorial Army. It should not be left to the regiments themselves or to the Territorial Association to have to advertise their own wares. If you look at the details of these conditions of service, I do not think you will get a great deal of encouragement. I do not wish to worry noble Lords by going into this in great detail, but there are two or three points which I must raise. First, I want to say what very false economy it is to tax all the payments to Territorial officers and other ranks. Other ranks are to get is. 6d. for two hours' work in the evening, from which, presumably, the Government are going to take the better part of half. I feel that that is. 6d. is, at best, only a gesture in recognition of two hours' hard work. The sum of is. 6d. will perhaps pay for a pint of beer and a sandwich. It would be very hard on the other ranks in future to be allowed to have only half a sandwich and half a pint of beer. But, beer or no beer, this tax cut will deter people from becoming recruits.

Recently we have welcomed in the Territorial Army Associations representatives from the trade unions. That is a great step forward, and I think it will lead to a broadening in the types of men from which we shall draw recruits to the Territorial Army. But that move will not succeed if the outlay is going to be more than the remuneration. I would like to refer particularly to the fact that there is no annual bounty for officers—not even a bounty from which tax can be deducted. I am not trying to argue that the Territorial Army should become a paid army, but conditions generally have changed greatly since 1939. Living expenses have risen and great numbers of young men who would be only too willing to join are now married and probably have young families. Those men cannot afford to join anything which will result in an increase in their expenditure. So I do earnestly hope that the Government will seriously reconsider this question of taxation.

Next I would like to deal for a few moments with the social and recreational side of the T.A. As a Commanding Officer, I am one of the lucky ones; I have a brand new drill hall, which was finished just before the war, for my regiment. We have not yet been in it, and it contains hardly a stick of furniture.

There are a few army tables and nothing else but plain boards. There is nothing to furnish the canteen. In fact, so far as the equipment of the place goes there is nothing whatsoever to encourage recruiting in any way. In that drill hall two anti-aircraft regiments, to say nothing of a Brigade will have to train. 1 hope that we shall get an answer from the noble Lord that we may get a little priority now so far as essential furniture is concerned. I most heartily agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Long, about the return of our "T" badges. I and my troop at the beginning of the war were very upset indeed when we went to France and the order came to take those "T" badges off. I should like to see them back again at the earliest possible moment.

In all the plans that the Government are making with regard to both the Regular and the Territorial Army, I rather feel that they arc putting the cart before the horse, or perhaps, as I am a gunner, I should say they are putting the gun before the tractor. Instead of giving every incentive in a plan to produce a future first-class voluntary Regular Army, supported by a Territorial Army formed on a pre-war basis, we are tied down to peace-time conscription. Great loyalty is needed on the part of a volunteer to join the Territorial Army now, when he knows that in two and a half years, whether his regiment is full to overflowing or whether it has only a handful of men. it is going to be joined by conscripts who have no love of the Territorial Army and no remembrance of the great things its members did in the past. I am not particularly critical of the amalgamation between conscripts and Territorials. In 1939 I was in charge of a troop of which 50 per cent. were Territorials and 50 per cent. were Militia. Practically all the Militia boys came from the East End of London, and in my opinion we have never had greater soldiers than those boys turned out to be. They were tremendous examples to all who came after. One particular batch of them in my own troop named themselves the "Dead End Kids," but whatever they were, and where-ever they came from, I am very proud to have had command of them, and I am more proud that now, two years after the war, they still count me as one of their friends.

But let us remember the conditions under which these young men joined up. It was June, 1939. There was every prospect even then that there was going to be a war. When their training was over the war had actually started, and they joined their units with the complete knowledge that all their training had been of some value. Now the conscript joins under a completely different rule. First of all, there is peace in this country. Then there is a greater demand for manpower than, r suppose, there has ever been before. Thirdly, there is a feeling in their own minds—a very definite feeling—that they are wasting their time. From all one can learn, in a great number of cases that time is actually being wasted.

I do not want to dwell at any length on peace-time conscription, but it does appear to me that these conscripts are not following. the great example previously set. 1 do not think it is their fault; it is the fault of the conditions of service and the fault of having conscription in peacetime. I would like to see the Territorial Army as an alternative to conscription. I would like to see an offer made of four years service in the Territorial Army as a volunteer. If they will not do that, then have your eighteen months' conscription. I am afraid I have been critical and have asked questions, but that is only because I believe that unless we change the conditions of the Territorial Army we shall not be able to get the best results. I want to apologize to the noble Lord for the fact that I may have to leave before I hear his full reply. When I made my arrangements for this evening I did not realize noble Lords would be attending a midweek greyhound meeting! If I may thank the noble Lord and the Government for something, it is that we are very proud that they are going to allow us—the antiaircraft units—to be the sole defence of this country against aircraft attack.

The noble Lord suggested that it was going to be too much, that it was too technical. I am only a prospective C.O. I particularly refrained from signing the papers until to-morrow, because I thought there might be some high officers listening. I think we can do this job. I think that technical though the anti-aircraft arm is, it has passed the highest point of technicality, and now, by all the evolution, all the experiments and everything that has -been done during the war, it has become easier. In fact where two or three years ago one had to be technically very proficient all one does now is to press a button. We still need our tech- nicians, and we shall most certainly get them. I am quite certain that if you leave the defence of this country to the Territorials they will not fail.

There is one other point which I might mention. I think I am right in saying that in 1939 there were exactly one and a half regular anti-aircraft regiments. When the war started these regiments were sent abroad, so that the whole of this country was, in fact, defended by Territorials. I spent nearly the whole of the war abroad, and I was always amazed at the little official recognition given to the anti-aircraft units in this country. In my opinion, they did a harder job throughout the war than any other troops in any part of the world, and I think that they should have had greater recognition than they have had. I would remind the noble Lord of one other thing. When the flying bombs came over, there was at first a lot of destruction. Then the average Londoner suddenly found that no more were coming over. That was not the end of the flying bombs; they were still coming over, but the R.A.F. and anti-aircraft units together were getting every single one of them down before they reached a vulnerable point. If we are ever called upon to fight another war, however evil the weapons which by then may have been invented, we will do our best to deal with them, and, as Territorials, will follow the great example set to us by past Territorial units. We will not let this country down.

4.55 p.m.


My Lords, we are most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, for having raised this subject to-night, and we are also most grateful to him for the admirable and witty speech in which he put the subject before your Lordships. He dealt with so many sides of it, and other noble Lords who have spoken have done likewise, that I do not propose to detain your Lordships for very long with my remarks. My association with the Territorials is connected more with the South of Scotland than any other part of the country. I have had a long association with them. In an honorary capacity I command a Territorial Battalion of a famous Scottish regiment, which was disbanded at Luneburg in 1945, was put into suspended animation a few months afterwards and is now, by the grace of God and the War Office, once more being revived and put on the map. That has created a situation in which we. as a battalion—and it applies to any battalion in that part of Scotland—are very anxious not only to be revived in the tradition of our regiment but really to do credit to all that the battalions have been in the past and to what we wish them to be in the future.

There are various difficulties standing in the way. First of all, I think that from the voluntary point of view it will be difficult at the beginning to secure more than 30 per cent. of our strength. That means that the rest will have to be made up from the conscripts. I have not the slightest doubt that national service is an absolute necessity in this country. Unless we have national service we shall not have a Regular Army of sufficient strength, and we shall certainly not have a Territorial Army of sufficient strength to be a second line of defence. From the point of view of the officers, I think it is probable that many officers originally of the Territorial Army, who served in this war and did what one may call their job, will not be prepared to come back. Consequently, with the "squeezing out" of the old families in the counties which is going on to-day, and the general urge that everybody should try to earn his living and perhaps go elsewhere, it will be very difficult to get the officers unless we explore other avenues for them.

When it comes to Commanding Officers there will be an even greater difficulty, because there is little doubt that to-day the Commanding Officer of a Territorial battalion will have to devote his whole time to that job if he is to build up his battalion and make it worth while. The War Office have agreed, I understand, with the consent of the Treasury, that there shall be one Regular Officer for a cadre of two appointed; that is to say, if you have two Territorial battalions you will have one Regular officer in charge of one and the other will have to be a Territorial officer. In my view that is wrong.


I am afraid the proportion of Regular officers is nothing like so high as that.


That makes my point all the stronger, because the difficulty is going to be to obtain the services, as a Commanding Officer, of a Territorial officer who can devote the whole of his time.


I am sorry to interrupt the noble Viscount, but the assertion that the Commanding Officer, if he be a Territorial, will have to devote his whole time to it is a long way wide of the mark,


I venture to differ from the noble Lord. To-day, if you take what an infantry battalion has to do—its various guns, ammunition, Bren carriers, and so on, and the men having to be trained on an entirely different basis from before—a Commanding Officer will have on his shoulders a great deal of work that he did not have formerly. I think the noble Lord will find that even if the War Office arrange that the Territorial Commanding Officer shall not be engaged full-time, in practice that will not work out satisfactorily.

The other point is with regard to drill—halls, accommodation, and so on. Certainly in my part of the country there is no accommodation anything like what is required to-day, and I do not see how the demand there is for housing, both urban and rural—I wish there was more rural housing—is going to be met at once, or even for some considerable time. What I am leading up to is this. A. strong plea has been made here by several noble Lords that we should defer the bringing into being of the Territorial. Army for another five or six months, until October 1. The date fixed to-day, May 1, seems to me to be far too soon. We have just emerged from the most terrible weather—in Scotland it is continuing—and to get the men together and induce them to enlist at this moment would, I think, be very difficult. Not only that but, as has been stated already, there are many points which require explanation.

My noble friend Viscount Long has already mentioned that he had a recruiting meeting last week when many questions were asked that could not be answered. I venture to support the plea of my noble friends that the War Office should delay this scheme for several months, until things are more settled. Then they can go ahead with it with a flourish, which would be quite impossible at the present time. After all, we do want an Army; we want a first and second line of defence, and we want them both to be good. We are not anticipating a war within the near future, whatever may happen ten or fifteen years hence. Therefore six months' delay at the present time could not make any difference from that point of view, whereas it would make an enormous difference from the point of view of bringing into being a very satisfactory Territorial force.

5.8 p.m.


My Lords, when I first saw the announcement in the Press and elsewhere that the general recruiting was going to be delayed for one month—that is to say, up till May 1—wondered whether this debase might also be delayed. I may say that I was profoundly glad when I heard that it had not been delayed and, having listened to a number of speeches here this afternoon, I am more than ever convinced that the need for this debate existed. Indeed, there is no doubt that problems have come to light during this present vital preparatory period of the re-formation of the Territorial Army which can well be discussed to-day, with a view, we hope, to minimizing their difficulties later on. I have advisedly mentioned the word "vital." This present period is a vital period in the reconstitution of the Territorial Army, because it includes not only the finding but the selection and appointing of key personnel—the Commanding Officers, seconds-in-command, the Adjutants and others—and unless these are found, and the right men are found, the very success, at any rate during the initial years of the new Territorial Army, will be jeopardized.

I know from my own limited recent experience, from what I have heard elsewhere, and from what has been said this afternoon, that very definite difficulties are arising. The last time that this subject cf the Territorial Army was debated in your Lordships' House I ventured to express strongly the opinion that tremendous care should be taken in the choice of Commanding Officers, and I was particularly glad to find that the noble Lord who replied for the Government held the same views as myself, and many other of your Lordships. What I would like to ask the noble Lord now is if he can give us some indication—I am not asking for figures—of the measure of success that has been so far achieved in the appointment of Commanding Officers. What I have in mind is how many Territorial Commanding Officers have in fact been appointed; in how many cases has it been thought advisable, where they have been available, to have Regular seconds-in-command; and in how many cases have Regular officers been appointed to those commands?

From Commanding Officers I would like to turn to the question of Adjutants. That is a point which has been mentioned this afternoon, and it is one which I should like to expand further. We have been given to understand—indeed we have been encouraged to think—that in nearly every case the unit Adjutants would be Regular officers, but now we find that in a large number of cases, and particularly in the case of certain corps (I have the Royal Artillery particularly in mind, and we must remember that, as the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has pointed out, the Royal Artillery constitutes an enormous proportion of the Territorial Army) practically none of the Adjutants is going to be a Regular, because apparently the Regulars are not available. One would like to know how it is that this has come about. I understand the position is that civilians with Territorial commissions are being offered these appointments as fulltime jobs. I have no doubt in my own mind that Territorial officers, with the experience, technical qualifications, personality and drive necessary to make a really first-class show as Adjutants do exist, but what I fear very much is that, for the very reason that those officers have those qualifications, they will be looking for a much higher status than a post with £600 a year for three years.

There is no further opportunity for recognition or promotion at the end of those three years, and they will be earning no contribution towards any form of pension rights. I know there may be some officers who have private incomes of their own and for whom recognition, promotion and pay are not of very material importance, who would volunteer for the sheer enthusiasm of doing the job well. There are cases like that, but they will not he many. I am afraid that the whole procedure which is being adopted will be such as to encourage not the very best hut very definitely the second, or even the third, best. I realize that if Regular officers do not exist we have to cut our coat according to our cloth, as in any other walk of life, but I hope we may be given some indication as to how this has come about. Have circumstances changed since the original announcement was made? Were the original Staff calculations found to be incorrect? Or was the original announcement that we were to have Regular Adjutants made before the calculations were completed? I hope the noble Lord will throw some light on that when he replies, and I hope also that he will give us an assurance that, even though we may not have Regular Adjutants now, the policy of the Government as regards the long-term view remains unchanged, and that as soon as Regular officers are available they will be posted. In fact, I hope he may be able to go even further than that and to say that, should the need be proved, they will be prepared to increase the Regular establishment of officers to enable Regular Adjutants to be appointed to all units in the course of a few years. Having said so much on this subject, I should like to quote two cases which have come to my notice. I know of certain first-class Adjutants who have been appointed, but by the same token I hear of one case where a Territorial Association secretary was instructed to find as many as nine such civilian Adjutants, and has so far, I gather, not been able to fine one.

I would now like to turn to the question of accommodation for Regular officers. In the case of units which have been lucky enough to get Regular officers appointed to them, this is a very real problem. I know perfectly well that Regular officers, whether they are appointed to Regular units or to Territorial units, if there are no married quarters available and if they want to live with their own families, are responsible for finding their own accommodation. That is accepted. Before the war, with Territorial Adjutants the problem may not have been too difficult, but to-day in the big towns, where so many of the larger Territorial units are based, the housing situation—I need hardly tell your Lordships this—is acute. Territorial Association secretaries can do very little to help. In the case of single officers, or officers living away from their families, they may be able to make arrangements for the officer to live in some nearby Regular mess, but that is very hard on a married officer, especially when it may be his only tour of home service for some time, and especially after the many years of separation from his family during the six years of war. I hope that urgent consideration will be given to this point, which is, 1 realize, an extremely difficult one.

I had not intended to mention the question of the "T" badges on uniforms, but as three noble Lords have already done so—one having expressed the hope that they will not be re-introduced and two having expressed the hope that they will—I should like to balance things up by saying that I very much hope that the "T" and "Y"—thereby making two Armies—will not be re-introduced. We are one Army; we go to war as one Army, and we should be one Army in peace. I want also to refer to this question of the annual camp—although it has been mentioned before. I realize that it may not be considered as of immediate importance, seeing that the annual camps such as we knew them before the war are not likely to be introduced for one or two years, until the Territorial Army is more on its feat. It is a point, however, which. will loom very large in any recruiting campaign. We want to know what, if anything, is to be done so that the officers and men who go to camp do not look: upon their period at camp as the only period of holiday they will have in the year.

It has been stated that employers are to be encouraged to see that holidays are given, as well as leave of absence for the duration of the annual camp. But I should like to know what form this encouragement is going to take. Is it merely to consist of an appeal to the patriotism of employers? If it is, it will not succeed. It is an extremely difficult problem, and one that cannot be solved locally. It cannot be solved by Commands, and therefore it certainly cannot be solved by Associations. It has been suggested to me that one possible way would be to have some form of financial return to employers—perhaps some form of tax rebate—but I do not think that would really help, having regard to the fact that so many industries to-day are very short of their full requirements in the matter of employees. However, some form of financial assistance might help, and that method should he given consideration. If it were felt that it would do any good at all, it should not be allowed to pass by. I know it is easy to criticize in a matter like this, and not at all easy to make constructive suggestions, more especially because the problem really falls under two headings. There is the case of the employer who has hundreds of employees, and there is the case of the small man with one, two, three or half a dozen men. Those are two separate problems, and I am convinced that the matter can only be settled by it being dealt with from the highest level and, if need be, some form of statutory authority exercised to compel employers to make suitable arrangements.

My last point is one which the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, mentioned—the question of bounty. I refer to the 8 which the other ranks may earn during the year, provided they do a sufficient number of drills and reach a certain measure of proficiency. I have made inquiries, but I cannot get a satisfactory answer as to whether or not these bounties are going to he taxed under Pa.y As You Earn. It seems to me that the amount of money involved will be relatively small, but the effect during any recruiting campaign will be very large, and will, I am afraid, put off a large number of men who might otherwise have joined. Psychologically, I think it would be a great mistake to apply Pay As You Earn in regard to these bounties, and I hope we may be told that that is not contemplated.

The last two points I have mentioned deal with matters of cost: the question of annual camps and bounties. I am perfectly well aware that money is not an answer to every problem that turns up in the Territorial Army, particularly as it is a volunteer army. Very often other inducements, such as first-class equipment and all the essentials that make it easier for a man to take a pride in the work he is doing, count much more than a small sum of money. Money does help, and where it is found to be advisable to spend it I hope it will not be lacking. If the reconstitution of the Territorial Army is really successful it will provide the country with a very cheap army. If it is not successful, then any possible alternative, so far as I can see, will be much more costly, not only in money but also in manpower.

5.23 p.m.


My Lords, if we wish to mould a useful weapon which can be relied upon in time of need and as an assurance for peace, new ideas of defence and training, right to its fundamentals, will have to he the key note. I do not believe any noble Lord in this House would think that a Territorial Army organized exactly as it was before the war would be sufficient. There must be something supplementary with which to support it. Last night I was reading in Hansard the debate which took place last week on the Army Estimates, and I saw there were going to be three elements in the new Territorial Army. The first element was the permanent staff to run it, the second element was the volunteers and the third clement was the national service reservists. I would like to suggest that a fourth element might be added. It is rather more complicated than just a fourth element, in that it would need slightly more organization. I would like to see a volunteer defence corns formed to meet all the contingencies of modern scientific warfare in the future. Call it the Volunteer Training Corps if you like, for the sake of something better to call it—it can be called anything.

I would like to see that corps split into two groups. The first group would be the officers training corps, a corps of officers not only tutored and trained professionally, but also specially Academy-trained for this purpose. The second group would be a warrant officers and N.C.O.'s training corps, with prototype instructors specially schooled and trained for this particular job. Before such a force could be organized, all volunteers should pass through a selection board of experts who would appraise each type of man, his character and his personality, and decide whether he would be most useful to fit into the first group, with all the necessary ingredients of leadership, or whether he would be better as a technician in the second group.

Before anybody says that that weapon would not be useful but would be unwieldy and wholly incongruous, I would like to describe what I mean by this additional corps. I do not mean another Sandhurst. I mean that I would like to sec schools and clubs formed in cities or regional groups near the depots of the Divisions in the Army. It would have to fit in with the military organization. The painful question of drill halls and the shortage of accommodation has already been referred to, but something ought to be done to make this scheme work. I am not going to suggest how many times a week the men should meet, because that is for the War Office to decide. But I stress the word "club," so that while they are undergoing this course of training and before joining their units they could have all the necessary Army education in citizenship and welfare which is so essential to the Army. I would like to see students wearing regimental badges of their own choice, having already decided so far as possible a preference for a particular regiment. I would like to see a direct communicating link between this force and the Regular Army, so that the theory of their studies and instruction could be put into actual practice. I think students ought to retain as a permanent rank that which they reached during the course of training.

The chief aim of this scheme is to obtain experienced leaders and technicians, and that is why I do not mention anything about a rank and file group. I am not going into any further details about how it could be worked, except to say that it would, of course, necessitate the passing of minor legislation, and arrangements would have to be made between the Government and the War Office in order to carry it out. In passing, I may say that I do not think such a scheme should refer only to the Territorial Army, but should have an equivalent in the other two Services also, and they might all be commanded by a supreme commander. This is meant only to provide a little food for thought. The idea is not revolutionary nor does it mean abolition of the Territorial Army. As I said earlier, it would have to be fitted in some time between national service training and the time when the men actually go into their units. We must never allow this country to sink to the abysmal level we reached during 1939 and also before the first world war.

There is always the dead hand of the Treasury which soldiers always fear so much. I have seldom been so impressed as I was in your Lordships' House on October 14 last year, when we were debating a Motion moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman. In a speech which I enjoyed nearly as much as I did the one he made to-day, my noble friend Lord Mancroft ended a constructive and eloquent address by expressing the best wishes of all noble Lords who sit on these Benches to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for his attack upon the Treasury. I have never forgotten that. The picture has always been one of enthusiastic volunteers, lacking tools, leaders and technicians, their sole weapon being flaming enthusiasm and a desire to fight for their country and for everything that makes life worth living. The spirit of the Territorials has never been in doubt. It saved the country during both wars. But a state of affairs in which the blind lead the blind. must never happen again, and I am convinced that the remedy lies in the few points I have put before your Lordships' House.

5.31 p.m.


My Lords, we are all much obliged to my noble friend, Lord Mancroft, for providing the opportunity for this most interesting debate, and also, if I may say so, for the delight-. ful and witty speech with which he opened the discussion to-day. I am one of those who believe that the basis on which the War Office is working in reconstituting the Territorial Army is the right one. I believe it is right that they should lay down that one of its main functions should be the provision of a large number—the whole, I gather—of our antiaircraft defences and our coast defence units (with which once I had considerable concern) because it is true that you can train Territorials to be specialists. I remember that when we were coast defence gunners, some enthusiasts wanted us to learn something about field artillery and mountain artillery as well. The Regular officers concerned were told that we just could not do it. What we could do, in our limited weekly drills and our annual camp was to provide a certain number of specialists who would be good and up to their job. I hope the Territorials will be looked upon largely as specialists—at any rate the gunners—and taught only one job. You will then have efficient units for the one purpose.

Many people ran down the Territorial. Army in the past because they expected them to learn too many things in the short time in which they are able to train. Some units may be capable of doing it, but I do not believe that the short period of training with the Territorials could raise units up to field Army efficiency in. the very early months of war. They must have some time to train before they can take their place in the front line. I believe the decision that has been taken to try and dove-tail into the Territorial Army the latter part of the period of service of national service men—I prefer to call them national service men rather than conscripts—is a right one. It gives every Territorial unit commander a great advantage we never had in the Territorial Army before—namely, that in future there will not be any recruits training in the Territorial Army, so far as I can see. The men who are being kept on as volunteer elements will naturally be your N.C.O.s, or potential N.C.O.s, or your specialists. And one specialist I would insist on having would be the cook. All will be men who have clone their initial training; therefore in the future you will have the great advantage of not having to deal with a lot of recruits who do not work easily into the battery brigade, or whatever the regiment may be. That is a great advantage to any one who is going to re-form a unit of the Territorial Army, which happened to be my task just after the last war.

We have three partners in this scheme, one being the 2 per cent. Regulars. And here I cannot over-emphasize how important it is to have good Regulars for this job. It is no good having a Regular Commanding Officer looking around and saying, "We have to send somebody to be an Adjutant, or sergeant, or sergeant-major, or P.S.I. Whom do we want least in the regiment?" That is not the way to get an important post filled. Therefore I agree with one noble Lord who said that we ought to try to get every Territorial regiment linked with an opposite Regular regiment of the same corps, so that the Regular regiment can take an interest in the Territorial regiment. There should be real liaison between them, so that they do not feel that they are sending good officers or N.C.O.s just to anyone, but to assist a unit with whom they have the closest possible ties.

Some interesting comments were made on the question of discipline in the Territorial Army. Not much discipline was needed when the whole of the force were volunteers and doing the job because they wanted to do it. The fact is, that the Commanding Officer had practically no power at all, and I suspect the men knew it perfectly well. You could always turn a man out of his unit but you did not want to do it is true you could prosecute him before the local police court if he refused to attend a camp, and if you wanted to put a thorough damper on recruiting to your unit, that would have been the course to take, because the thought that anyone who joined up and could not get to camp might be treated as an ordinary misdemeanant at a police court would be the greatest deterrent to enlisting people on a voluntary basis.

I am not quite certain what the position of the men will be if the National Service Bill becomes law in its present form—whether they will immediately come under the Territorial Forces Act. I suppose they may, after they have ceased to serve in the Regular Forces. But I certainly think the question of discipline should be very carefully studied. There cannot he one code for the volunteer and one for national service men in the same camp. That matter will have to be looked into very carefully. There should be power to deal with these men for military offences—I am not talking of civil offences which a man might commit but of military offences outside the ordinary police courts and the ordinary criminal proceedings of the country. Then, of course, we have the national service men coming in. If they are properly handled I think they can be great assets to the units they join, but, of course, there may be some difficult ones; and it is no good thinking of using the one disciplinary power—getting rid of the man—because that is the one thing he may wish.

Several noble Lords have discussed the question of whether or not we should continue to wear the "Y" or the "T." I must say that I was one of those who were always very proud of the "T" they wore. Here again, one was proud of it because it showed we were all volunteers for the job. It seems to me to be quite wrong to have part of one's unit—the volunteers—wearing the "T" and the national service people either not wearing it or wearing something else. If there are going to be 20 or 25 per cent. volunteers and about 75 per cent. national service men, it is no good anybody thinking that the "T" will have the significance of the volunteer. It will not. If I had to give a vote on it, I should say, "Let us drop this distinction, and let us all become one Army, all dressed the same."

I would like to ask one or two questions. Sometimes, before the war, we were extremely badly equipped for drill purposes. For our practice camp we had the guns that we should have to use in war-time, as coast defence gunners—as the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, knows as well as I do. But in some cases we had pretty poor equipment in our drill hall, and I would suggest that now there is an opportunity, not of scrapping a great deal of the equipment we had in the war, but of issuing it so that every Territorial unit has as much equipment in its drill hall as it can possibly want. I would plead that a lot of the furniture from the messes should be passed over to the drill halls that had their furniture taken away from them, and to the new drill halls that were built just before the war and did not receive any furniture. I do not necessarily mean only from the Army messes, since during the war they probably did not get so much, but from the Royal Air Force messes and the Royal Navy messes.

I have here the pamphlet on the Territorial Army, but I do not know whether this is the only kind of form in which it has been issued. I managed, through the kindness of the Vote Office, to get it to-day; perhaps it is a special sort that we get here. But I should have thought the conditions ought to be printed and many more of the pamphlets sent round. I think the complaint of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, on that score was a very proper one. Having obtained this pamphlet I looked through it, and I tried to compare the times of training in this pamphlet with what appears in the National Service Bill. Of course, the National Service Bill may be altered; it may never get here; but somehow I think it will. It may be altered en route. But I see by the pamphlet that the trained soldier has to do thirty drills and a maximum of fifteen days and a minimum of eight days in annual camp. Then one finds that under the Bill the national service men have to do only sixty days during the whole of their part-time service. As the part-time service goes on for five and a half years it means that quite a different period has been put into the pamphlet from that put into the Bill. It is quite clear that people serving in the same Army and in the same unit must be able to have the same period. This pamphlet talks about fifteen days annual training and thirty drills. We used to try and get twenty-eight drills before the war, and at four drills to one day of training that amounts to seven days training, with fifteen days in. annual camp. That makes twenty-two days. Now they have to do thirty drills, which represents another half-day's training. So according to that pamphlet they have to do twenty-two and a half days, and according to the Bill the national service men, under 3 (b), have to do only twenty-one days in any year of Service. I think this needs attention, to see whether the terms cannot be balanced better.

With regard to these conditions, I think it is wrong not to start now the practice of giving a bounty to the officer. My service in the Territorials—and I was not a unique Commanding Officer—cost me money every year I was in it. There was no reason why it should, but it did. In these days of high taxation, and when one does not want a Territorial officer to be selected merely because he can spend his own money on the unit, I think there is no reason to treat the officer differently from the man in regard to bounty. The man gets £8, but the officer has to attend exactly the same number of drills, and usually attends a great many more drills than the man. The officer has to be skilled, and I think he is entitled to the bounty, just as much as the men. After all, in camp they both get the pay of their ranks in the Regular Army, and that is right, because the officer has greater responsibilities. If a lot of men who earned their Commissions from the ranks in the years of the war are to he enabled to come in as Territorial officers, something better must be done for the Territorial officers than is being done under these conditions. I would make a very strong plea here not to differentiate in that way between the officer and the man.

I would like to ask the noble Lord some questions of which I have not given him any notice. I would like to ask him whether all the Territorial Associations have now been formed, because the last thing I heard from one of them was that the membership was not complete. I certainly think that that ought to be very much speeded up by the War Office, if there are any Associations still not complete. I would also like to know whether all the Commanding Officers, or practically all the Commanding Officers, have yet been appointed, because it is no good thinking of starting from May 1 if the Commanding Officer has not been appointed two or three weeks before. After all, the first thing a Commanding Officer has to do is to look round for his company commanders and his battery commanders, or whoever they may he, to get them to help him in the different districts in which he is going to recruit.

I am not blaming anybody about this, but I think the re-formation of the Territorial Army has been put off too long to catch the psychological reaction of a large number of men who were in the Territorials before the war, who did good service during the war, and who would have come back afterwards to try and reform their own units. One has to remember that these men were almost the first to leave the Army; and quite rightly so. They were the first to come under the age and service group, and they have been out for some long time. The original ardour of thinking they might come back and re-form their own unit is beginning to wear off, and I believe it would be quite fatal to have another postponement from May 1. Even if everything is not quite ready, I would retain that date. People begin to get tired of a thing if one keeps on postponing it. I would suggest to my noble friend, and to those at the War Office, that they stick to the date of May 1, put on tremendous pressure during the next three or four weeks to see that everything is as perfect as it can be for the opening of the recruiting campaign, and then in every way possible encourage the men once they join. I speak from the experience of re-forming a unit after the last war, and I think it would be fatal if there were not some form of camp for the men in the year they join.

If we start enlisting them now, and say we are not going to have any camps this year, not even a short one, to get them together, or, still worse, say we are not going to have any next year, then it would be better to postpone the date for a couple of years. One must have a camp to get the unit together as a unit in the first year. That is the only way to re-start this great Territorial Army; otherwise it will become like a damp squib and the volunteer element will not be forthcoming; or, at any rate, they will not be men who are really keen on the job, who want to go to camp, and who want once again to re-join. Let me conclude by saying I very much hope this new Territorial Army will succeed and also have the old tradition and the great spirit of the one in which I am proud to nave served for some twenty-four years or my life.

5.45 p.m.


My Lords, the last time that I had the pleasure of replying to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, I spoke of him as having addressed your Lordships with charm and brilliance. This was held, up in a weekly paper as an example of the mutual admiration which we practise in this House. It was not mutual admiration, because the noble Lord haxl never gone out of his way to compliment me at all, but it was genuine admiration at that time. At the risk of again being castigated by the same stimulating weekly paper, I would say once again, and still more so, that the noble Lord has addressed us with charm and brilliance. He has initiated a debate which I can honestly say, speaking from the point of view of the War Office, will be most helpful. Whether, on balance, I should have gone away from this Chamber feeling more cheerful than when I came here if it had not been for the last speech—that of my noble friend Lord Llewellin I am not sure. But I was very much fortified by that strong and statesmanlike opinion given by one who has had great experience of these things. I can therefore confirm—what I was in any case going to tell your Lordships—that we arc absolutely convinced that we must start on May r and that we can make a success of May 1.

I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I impose on you a number of statements which may be well known to many of you, but, as you will recognize, my remarks on this occasion may reach a rather wider audience. I will not sit down without coming rather closer than I appear to be doing at present to the main points and questions raised. In answer to one or two questions on this very point, I can assure the House that the Government are solidly behind the Territorial Army, and that they attach tremendous importance to its success and the work it can do. Starting from the general position that as a nation we must be much better prepared than in pre-war years to defend ourselves and to carry out our international commitments, we have reached the further conclusion that within the area of our military thinking the Territorial Army should occupy a much higher place, and must enjoy a considerably higher priority, than in prewar years. It has been brought home to all of us—I think that the whole House and every one in the country outside recognizes—that speed is of immense importance now. Speed of mobilization, and preparedness, are much more of the essence of war now than was ever the case in the past. Therefore, we are convinced—I think the whole House is with the Government in this—that our Army must in the future be fully prepared to play its part much more quickly than in the old days.

It stands to reason that we cannot keep permanently under arms, and away from civilian life and industry, a force of the requisite size, and therefore the only alternative is to have a Territorial Army, properly trained and organized, which can take the field at very short notice. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has said quite clearly that the Territorial Army will have to fill a triple role in the future. I would just repeat what the three kinds of role will be. The Territorial Army's first role will be to provide, in conjunction with the Royal Air Force, the first line of defence of the United Kingdom against air attack. Its second role will be to provide a number of units necessary to complete the Regular Army as a balanced Force, and the third will be to provide, as a second line to the Regular Army, a field force which can moreover serve as a basis for expansion in any emergency. As with the Regular Army, so with the Territorial Army; the Territorial Army field force must he completely balanced.

In the past, as old Territorial officers are aware, that was not so. The Territorial Army formerly consisted of a kind of fighting facade, behind which there was not the necessary support. It is intended in future that it will be able to go to war if—and God forbid that such a thing should ever happen again—war broke out, without having to wait for its tail to he formed and trained, as happened last time. In addition to the field force which I have just mentioned. there will be five anti-aircraft groups and the administrative troops necessary to round off the Regular Army. I think few of us who have been able to remain for this part of the debate (I have received apologies from two noble Lords, who made excellent speeches from the Liberal Benches, who had other engagements) will question the need for a Territorial Army on this scale. Though we may regret the international background that produces it, I do not think any of us who remain here at this moment seriously doubt that we require an element of conscription if we are to obtain an Army of this magnitude.

The National Service Bill, which has recently been published, tackles this problem in two ways. On the one hand, it ensures—which was, of course, never the case before the war—that at any given moment all the fit young men of the country will have been trained in one Service or another. And, on the other hand, through attaching a reserve liability of five and a half years to their one and a half years of national service, it makes it possible to keep these young men thoroughly up-to-date in a military sense, and to organize them against the possibility of our having to go to war. Summarizing what I have said up to this point, the introduction of balance into the Territorial Army constitutes one new factor. The combination of the compulsory with the voluntary element constitutes another. The closer integration with the Regular Army represents a third new element.

Before the war Lord Haldane—whose speeches on this subject, though made in 1907, I recommend to the House—when he introduced the Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill on March 4, 1907, said: We trust that the men of the Regular and Auxiliary forces will come more closely together. Under the old state of thing there has been, in the relations of the two forces, an attitude of aloofness. We hope that under our plan the Regular and the second-line will feel that both are parts of a great whole, working together for a common end. I do not think that I shall be misunderstood when I say that hitherto the dream has never been completely realized, but we intend that it shall be realized to a much greater extent in future. And here I side officially, and with the conviction that it is the majority view expressed in this House, that the "Ts" and "Ys" should disappear. I thought that the reasoning of the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, was particularly cogent on this point, and, therefore, I will not further press the argument for that decision. I will not, at this point, go into further details regarding the smaller, but important, changes that the new Territorial Army will contain, as compared with the Territorial Army before the war. But I know that the noble Lord, Lord Rochdale, is pleased that the machinery for selecting Commanding Officers, and officers generally, is considerably more thorough than before the war.

Perhaps I might diverge for a moment at this point, and lay before the House what is my personal view—one which I think will meet with general acceptance. We are all agreed (it has been very well put this afternoon) that we must develop the social side of the Territorial Army, We are also all agreed, I think, that it must, in every sense, be a much more professional body than in pre-war years. While there is a lot to be said for the "old boy" spirit in many walks of life, I am quite clear in my own mind, and I think the House is also, that in the selection of officers that spirit can be carried too far. In future, we must make absolutely sure that the only test is capacity for leadership and technical qualifications. That, at any rate, is the view which the Government are taking. The permanent staff will be considerably stronger than before the war. The permanent staff of a concentrated infantry battalion 'before the war added up to an equivalent of five members. In future it will add up to an equivalent of twelve. At any rate, it will in future be about twice as strong for a battalion as it was before the war. I will not go at any great length into the financial aspect. I sympathize with those who would like much more generous financial treatment for the Territorial Army. But we cannot have everything we want. All I can say is that I will lay everything that has been said before my right honourable friend the Secretary of State, and I hope (though I have no ground for raising the hopes of noble Lords) that one day we shall be able to secure more generous treatment.

I should not pass from this point without indicating that, in fact, the Territorial Army will receive better remuneration in the future than they have had in the past, unless we take a very gloomy view of the cost of living aid of taxation If we take the kind of view that is some- times forced on us by reason of the present cost of living and taxation, of course it is very difficult to make any accurate calculation. But, at any rate, in future there will be this training expenses allowance which did not exist before the war. That is all in the right direction. I thought there was a great deal in what the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, said, about the bounty for officers. I certainly have no authority for raising any hopes on that or on any other financial point, but I can assure him that we are taking every step in our power (though not necessarily in that way) to try to save the officer's pocket. We certainly do not want to get into the position where only the man of means can undertake the command of a battalion, and in various ways we are trying to make quite sure that he receives at any rate the expenses which he has to meet.

Yet, taking into account the larger and the smaller changes which I have mentioned, the Territorial Army of the future will still remain the Territorial Army—it is a peculiar affair; but then Britain is a peculiar country and it is a particularly British institution. As in the past, it will be based on local connexion and local sentiment, and its roots will be firmly fixed in local soil. It will also continue to draw a great deal of its inspiration from the voluntary element which, after all, will supply most of the leadership. It would have been perfectly possible (though I do not think this point has been touched on in the debate) completely to have centralized the organization of the Territorial Army and to have abolished the Associations. I think every one would agree that that would have been a most unwise step, in view of the past. But we did feel, when we drew up the plan for the new Territorial Army (and here again I think the House has endorsed the decision) that, as the Territorial Army occupies a much larger place in the life of the country, and as all the young men who do not go into the other Services will pass through it, we must make quite sure that the Associations are much more genuinely representative of the whole life of the country.

I am always a little nervous of the word "democratic" in connexion with military matters, although I think the ideal of care for the individual man is one which we all share, but I am quite clear in my own mind that these Territorial Associations have rightly been made much more democratic and will be much more democratic in the future than they ever were in the past. They have not only to be more democratic; they have got to be quite clearly seen by the whole country to be more democratic. It has been decided, as the House is aware, that all Associations should include representatives of all types of local government bodies, of trade unions, of employers' associations, and of local educational authorities. I have been allowed to visit one or two of these Associations and have seen them at work, and the only point which gives me any serious concern is whether they will be able to operate successfully in spite of their large numbers. I should say their large numbers are quite inevitable, for the reasons I have explained, but, obviously, they will have to work out in each case, and in the cases I have studied they have worked out, a system of delegating business to a series of committees. That all seems to be going very well.


What about the number appointed?


I cannot give the noble Lord a firm assurance that they are all appointed. I would like to let him know, and if he will put down a question in the near future I will give him a precise answer. I have not absolutely up-to-date information, but in all the cases of which I happen to have first hand knowledge (these are cases at random) they are appointed, and in nearly all cases they have already met. That happens to be quite a small sample, and I would not like to give that as a comprehensive answer. We in the Government—and I think everybody, irrespective of Party, takes the same view—attach particular importance to the inclusion of the trade union members. I know that in the Associations which I have visited there is a determination to give them a proper welcome. From my experience—and I am sure old trade unionists will bear me out in this—it will make all the difference if these trade union representatives, coming into a world that may be rather unfamiliar, are made to feel thoroughly at home from the beginning. I was very pleased to find that that was being done in the Associations which I visited. I should add—and really it would be proper to dwell longer on this than I am at the moment—that these Associations in the future will be joint associations and will be known as Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Associations. They will contain representatives of the Royal Air Force and their auxiliary units. That is another example of the ever closer association between the two Services.

I come a little closer to the practical issue of getting started on May 1. As the House knows, it was originally intended to open recruiting on April 1. For various reasons, among which the weather can legitimately be included—though I do not by any means want to suggest that: that was the only reason—it was found necessary to make a postponement of one month. Even May 1—and I am speaking rather carefully—is going to give us very little time, but we are confident that in a high proportion of cases it will be possible to start recruiting on that day. Where it is not judged possible to start recruiting on that day, owing to local circumstances, it will be within the discretion of the Association, in consultation with the Command, to begin later. We in the War Office realize that we are asking for an exceptional effort. I agree with what the noble Lord opposite has said, that the next few weeks are going to be crucial. I feel sure, however, that this effort will be forth—coming. I hope, speaking from this place, that really keen men who join up on May 1 will not be disappointed if at the beginning things are a little difficult, and if they have to wait a little while before they get the facilities worthy of them.

The two main troubles that have been most frequently reported to us, and which have been brought out in your Lordships' House to-day by a number of speakers, from the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, on— wards, are the appointing of Commanding Officers, and the eternal "headache" of accommodation. As regards Commanding Officers, the latest figures are these: 548 Commanding Officers of lieutenant—colonel rank were originally required, and 406 have been obtained, of whom twenty-two are Regulars. It must not be thought that, the response from Territorial Army officers has been disappointing. We have done considerably better than we expected, but nevertheless, as the House will see, there is a considerable gap. One very important aspect of the problem is whether we shall in fact be able to secure financial approval for a sufficient number of Regular officers to close most of that gap. We have not entirely exhausted the possibilities of getting more Territorial Army officers, but it does look as though we shall require a considerable number of Regular officers. I do not want to carry this particular discussion much further to-day, because it is one of those matters where the War Office are not the sole judge, and where other Departments are very properly entitled to exercise a watchful influence. But the House will see the kind -of problem with which we are faced. We have to close a gap of 142 out of 548 Commanding Officers, and at the moment we certainly have not got approval, and there is no reason to say that we are entitled to approval, for any number of Regular officers which would entirely close that gap.


Does the noble Lord think that they will have to be Regular officers, or are alternative Territorial officers being sought in some cases?


We are certainly looking for alternative Territorial officers. I am not suggesting that we would be entitled to 142, plus twenty-two Regular officers, which would mean 164 Regular officers altogether. I am saying, however, that the precise number is one on which opinions may reasonably differ, and the matter is being thrashed out in the proper way.

I now turn to the question of accommodation. The long-term problem is serious enough. We have taken various steps to make sure that the rehousing of the Territorial Army will go hand in hand with the rehousing of the Regular. Army, but it would be wrong to give any impression that either process will be a quick affair. Both will take many years. What we are all much more concerned with at the moment is the immediate problem, not of bringing the accommodation up to modern standards, but of getting any adequate accommodation at all. Here I would be the last to make light of the difficulties confronting Associations. They are undoubtedly in some cases very serious, and in very few cases are they negligible. But I think it right to indicate the scope of the problem, and one of its principle causes, which, incidentally, was touched on earlier in the debate. We have 'taken fairly drastic measures to recover our drill halls as quickly as possible, but there still remains a hard core of old drill halls which we have not been able to obtain, and with a larger Territorial Army we are bound to need more drill halls in the future than we' had in the past. In the meanwhile, we are using surplus huts in our possession, wherever possible, and in addition the Ministry of Works are helping us out with a reserve of huts. The whole problem, as I said earlier, is a considerable "headache" for all concerned.

What is an even greater difficulty—and this also was touched on—is that which has arisen over the quarters for the married permanent staff who are now being posted from the Regular Army. I suppose what one needs in the War Office at this juncture is a man with a very hard heart. I do not pretend to be, nor is my right honourable friend, a man of that type. The position is that in many cases we find decent, law-abiding citizens whose tenancies have expired, and to whom we have given notice, occupying the houses and the flats which we urgently require for our own married permanent staff. These irregular tenants, if one is entitled to call them that without any unkindness or a slur being cast upon them, are in many cases only too anxious to go, but they have nowhere else to go. That is perhaps the most acute of all our problems at the present time. I promise that we shall try to combine justice with mercy, although we shall try to obtain our own properties as soon as possible, because we must have them if the Territorial Army is to be reconstituted. We shall do our best to avoid indifference to the claims of these unfortunate people, but, taking the question of accommodation as a whole, I hope the House will realize that, if there are difficulties, it is not due to any military inertia at the War Office or anywhere else; it is due to the housing shortage, to the fact that we all recognize that civilian housing must have priority, and to our desire to make our own contribution to that side of social reconstruction.

I now come to the question of training. The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, who is so exceptionally well informed and helpful on all these matters, got right down to fundamentals when he raised the question of whether this Territorial Army of ours, in the first three years before the national service men arrive, can be a genuine Territorial Army. I think that was the thought running right through his speech. We are convinced that it can be, but we realize that exceptional efforts will have to be made to hold the interest of its members during the time when it is so short of personnel. I am advised that training will not present such difficulties as might at first appear, providing we can get the accommodation and the equipment. On the subject of equipment, I would inform the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, that at the moment it is not so much a question of not being able to get the equipment, as of sheltering the equipment and finding places in which to put it. That is the more acute side of the equipment problem. The point I was anxious to make was that it was found during the war, as many noble Lords, perhaps, found by first-hand experience, that it is perfectly possible—and indeed it is frequently a very good way of proceeding—first of all to form a cadre, and then afterwards to use the cadre to train the unit. We are not unduly depressed, therefore, at the thought that we shall, at the beginning, start only with the cadre. I agree that the analogy is not complete, because obviously there is going to be a long period before we get a complete force, but we are satisfied that, given the equipment and the accommodation, the purely training problem is not one that need unduly disturb us.

On the question of training, I would remind those who are not familiar with the problem that we have two types of training in mind for the Territorial Army—first, training periods (which have been renamed because the old word "drill" was misleading) and then annual camps or Regular Army courses. The volunteer must do thirty training periods if, as will usually be the case at the beginning, he is an officer or a trained soldier. Although I think the general implication of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, was correct, it is not quite literally true to say there will be no untrained people at all; but broadly speaking, at the beginning, the Territorial Army will consist of trained men or officers. The noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, touched on a most important point, and one which is being studied very carefully, when he drew a comparison between the sixty days in five and a half years and the equivalent of twenty-two and a half days each year which we are asking from the volunteers—fifteen days in camp plus thirty training periods.


They will get the same pay, will they not? They will be paid on the same basis?


Yes. As regards the immediate future, training periods can begin very soon after recruitment where suitable facilities and instructors are available, but where they are not, and where it is necessary to postpone the training for a month or so, it should still be perfectly possible to complete the thirty training periods in the course of the year. I anticipate, however, that where it is impossible to provide training at any time during the first six weeks, or some period of that kind, the date of recruitment should be postponed. It will be for the Associations to decide that in consultation with the Command, and if in fact they are not able to provide anything at all within those six weeks, they would probably be well advised in most cases to postpone the date of recruitment. Perhaps I should add that a great deal of emphasis is going to be laid on week-end camps, which will represent a considerable part of the training periods. As regards the annual camps, your Lordships will appreciate that the situation will vary widely from unit to unit this year, but it is our policy that wherever possible annual camps should be held. I entirely agree with noble Lords who have stressed that point. I am glad to be able to add that the Regular Army has been directed to give the maximum possible assistance during July and August. Territorial Army camps will take priority over normal training in Regular Army units in the United Kingdom during those months, which means that the whole of the training facilities of the Regular Army will be turned over to assist the Territorial Army during July and August.

A number of noble Lords have raised an issue on which I am not able to throw as much light as I would wish to-day. It is a matter which will certainly require to be discussed very often in this House before it is finally cleared up. It is the question of obtaining leave from employers in order to attend camp. I can assure the House that so far as possible the dates of the camps will be arranged in consultation with local industry, and here the local knowledge of industrialists and trade union leaders in the Territorial Army Associations will be used to the full. I agree, however, with everyone who has urged that this is a big national matter which cannot be settled by local agreements. It can be tackled only on the highest level, involving, as it does, the whole relationship of the defence services to industry in the years ahead. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for War has taken up the matter actively, and I hope that on the next occasion on which we discuss these matters I shall have something more concrete to report.

I now draw towards a close, but I have something to say on the question of publicity. Everybody has criticized our publicity—in a friendly way, of course—and I suppose we ought to be very worried about that, because publicity is now an important feature of modern life. I am afraid I am old-fashioned enough to think that when a man knows too much about publicity it is rather like what one used to say about the man who played billiards too well—a sign of a misspent youth. But I know I am wrong, and as I did once undertake the publicity for the Beveridge Report—which is considered to have had rather satisfactory publicity—I recognize that we live in a modern world and that we must publicize our activities in every way possible. I am not quite sure whether the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, is aware of all the facts. They are not particularly exciting, but since he has raised the matter, perhaps lie will allow me to inform him of some of the things which we are actually doing. The essential point to grasp is that the main burden of the direct handling of Territorial Army publicity will fall upon the Associations. It is a local responsibility, and if we are going to have these Associations (and I think we all agree that we need them badly in view of their splendid work in the past and what we hope they will accomplish in the future), then clearly this is something they can suitably undertake.

The co-ordination of Territorial Army publicity will be effected on the advice of a special committee of the Council of Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Association, which has been operating effectively, and on which the War Office is represented by the Director of Public Relations. Without going into too great detail, I would inform the House that my right honour- able friend the Secretary of State for War (whose special interest in the Territorial Army is, I think, widely known) will open a recruiting campaign at a meeting to be presided over by the Lord Mayor of London at the Mansion House on May 1. The C.I.G.S., Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery, will appeal for support, and if any man alive is likely to obtain support for such a cause it is Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery. The C.I.G.S. will appeal for support for the Territorial Army in a film trailer to be shown throughout the United Kingdom in the first week of May. A large poster will be displayed throughout the United Kingdom by the Central Office of Information, probably in June. Two smaller posters will be distributed through the Associations in time for display before May 1. I have specimens of these smaller posters here, but I am not quite sure whether it would be in order to reveal them to the House. Here, at the risk of impropriety, is one of them.

During the latter half of April the advertising space allotted to Regular Army recruitment in the leading national and provincial newspapers will be devoted to recruitment for the Territorial Army. The official War Office pamphlet giving conditions of service was issued on February 13, and the salient points have been published in the national and provincial press. A further War Office pamphlet, the first edition of which will run to 250,000 copies, will be available for free distribution to the general public by May 1. I need hardly remind noble Lords who are well in touch with their Associations that the Associations themselves are making the fullest use of Old Comrades' Associations and other similar bodies, in order to propogate the recruiting of the Territorial Army. A number of other issues of great importance have been raised, but I must not detain your Lordships too long to-day. The question of discipline is one to which your Lordships' House will certainly desire to return. I thought that everything said on that subject was extremely well said, but no suggestion for a solution was propounded. I quite agree that the responsibility for finding a solution rests upon our shoulders. We hope that on the next occasion we shall be able to offer one.

I was much impressed by the appeal of the right reverend Prelate for the introduction of a moral note on the lines suggested by my right honourable friend in the Army Estimates. We will certainly do everything possible, but I am sure that the right reverend Prelate will not think I am sectarian if I say that it seems to me perfectly possible to go to Church early, and then to attend a parade on Sunday morning. I did that myself for a period during the war although I am not by inclination an early riser, and I do not see why it is impossible for anybody else. But in all seriousness I did appreciate the appeal of the right reverend Prelate, and we shall assuredly do everything in our power to live up to what he has in mind.

As regards the social life of the Territorial Army, I am throwing out a personal opinion when I wonder whether we cannot bring the women into it more than in the past. I am not thinking only of the A.T.S. although, as your Lordships know, we are most anxious to find a proper place for the A.T.S. in the Territorial Army. The A.T.S. Order of Battle has not yet been drawn up in detail, except for those units in A.A. Command. Your Lordships remember what splendid work they did in that Command during the war. For the other units the date has not been fixed, but for the A.A. A.T.S. units the date will be May 1. I was not thinking only of the A.T.S., but was wondering whether we could not bring the wives and sweethearts of the Territorial Army more actively into contact with the social side of the work. I know I shall be told that sometimes in the past men joined the Territorial Army to get away from their wives, but I think that was an exceptional motive. I think we shall strengthen the hold of the Territorial Army over th4e nation if the wives know what their husbands are about, and can join them on any social occasions.

I cannot reach my last words without saying that while all speakers have scrupulously kept to the agenda, it seems to me that we must find time on another occasion for a full discussion on the Cadet Force. I need not tell the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman—and I am sure other noble Lords are in agreement—that we attach the first importance to the value of the Cadet Force for training these young men for citizenship and for life. May I sum up rather rapidly what I have been trying to say? The Government attach top priority to the reconstituted Terriorial Army. We are determined that it shall be a big thing not only quantitatively, but qualitatively. We are anxious to preserve continuity with the past, and with all that was best in the old traditions. We are resolved that the Territorial Army of the future shall at once be more professional—that is, closer in every sense to the Regular Army—and, at the same time, more truly a national Army, more broadly based in its membership and administration on the civilian life of the country.

We are well aware that many problems await all of us who are trying to play our parts in this great venture of re-starting the Territorial Army: in particular, the long-term problem, which has been touched on so often to-day, of harmonizing the voluntary and compulsory elements, and the short-term problem of obtaining adequate accommodation. We believe that these difficulties can be, and will be, overcome, although many inconveniences will be suffered in the early stages. They will be overcome mainly because of the great fund of good will which exists towards the Territorial Army and of which we have evidence every day. I hope I have at least managed to convey my gratitude, and the gratitude of the Government, to the noble Lord who initiated this debate and to noble Lords who participated, and to give some assurance to those who are thinking of joining the Territorial Army, or helping it in any way whatsoever, that we regard what they are doing as work of the highest national value and that we shall give them the warmest possible welcome.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down might I say how very much I welcome his suggestion about a debate on the Army Cadet Force. Perhaps consultations might take place between us in the usual way.

6.38 p.m.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lord for his full and sympathetic reply, and I am also grateful to the noble Lords who supported me in this debate. I am not trying to flatter the noble Lord when I say that not even he could answer all the questions flung at him, although I am aware there is no better way of flattery than to say a person is not susceptible to flattery.

There are three points I wish to make. One is the question of Commanding Officers. I regard the gap still to be filled as a little unsatisfactory, and I hope that it will be filled as soon as possible. I would like to say that whilst we do not want to interfere in any row which may be brewing between the War Office and the Treasury, if, in the course of a mêlee, a head comes up and. it is not the head of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, he must not mind if we hit it. Whilst I realize that he agrees with every noble Lord who has spoken on the subject of camp, I would remind him that while agreeing that the decision is one requiring a high-level answer it requires an answer now, because it is the one overriding factor which would influence so many men who have to make up their minds whether they are going to rejoin the Territorial Army as volunteers. That is a most important factor, and we want that decision by May 1.

May I say how mach we agree with the noble Lord that we should get the women interested in the Territorial Army? I suggested that they should be interested in the social and sporting side. I agree with him because, as he knows even better than I do, nearly all born leaders of men are women. In conclusion, I should like to thank noble Lords who assisted me, and I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.