HL Deb 14 April 1948 vol 155 cc61-138

2.44 p.m.

LORD MANCROFT rose to call attention to the problems connected with the Army and especially with the Territorial Army; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. It is the best part of a year since we last debated the Army, and since then we have debated the Defence White Paper, and the Army Estimates have been debated in another place. My noble friends and I, therefore, thought your Lordships might like the opportunity to examine what progress has been made in the course of the last year, and to see what were the outstanding problems still facing the Army. Before I begin my speech, I should like, if I may, to express on your Lordships' behalf our regret that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, is unable to be present to-day to reply to this debate and to send him our best wishes for a complete recovery.

I should like to begin by discussing the general situation as revealed in the Army Estimates. During the current year we shall have an Army of something like 600,000 men and women. That does not include Colonial Forces, but it does include the Territorial Army. Those 600,000 men and women, who can ill be spared from the factories and from the fields, are maintained in the Army at a cost to the taxpayer of something in the neighbourhood of £300,000,000, which the tax-paper can ill afford. In plain figures that means that every soldier is costing the taxpayer £500 a year, and I think, therefore, that the taxpayer is entitled to ask whether he is getting value for his money. With regard to the Army, how can we best see what the standard of value is? I think there must be one outstanding question to be asked at once—namely, what would be the position if mobilisation were ordered to-morrow? That, in my opinion is the test. What can we produce in the way of battle-worthy formations? What shall we be able to produce in the way of battle-worthy formations in, let us say, five years' time?

There appeared in the New Statesman some weeks ago an authoritative article which suggested that our striking force at the moment was no bigger than the equivalent of about three divisions. That statement is probably right, but the picture that it suggests is not an entirely accurate one, for the same reason that the statement that the Home Fleet consisted of one cruiser and four destroyers, although factually correct, did not give the whole picture. But whether it is correct or not, one thing is certain: the main burden of finding this force, whatever size it may be, and whatever size the Government have decided upon, must fall upon the Regular Army. I think, therefore, that your Lordships might like to consider exactly what are the tasks facing the Regular Army to-day. They are very heavy.

The Regular Army has four main tasks at the moment—bigger tasks than it has ever before had in peace time. First, it has to train the Territorial Army. To do that it has to lend the Territorial Army a large number of instructors of high calibre. To do the Regular Army all credit, it is certainly producing these instructors, and is not fobbing the Territorial Army off with second-class men. Secondly, the Army has to carry out garrison duties in Germany and in Austria, and still has, where necessary, to garrison various outposts in the Empire. The commitment in India has now lapsed, but there remains a problematical commitment in Palestine. Thirdly, the Army has to train its own men. Lastly, it has to train the National Service man; and here, my Lords, we are coming up against one of the major difficulties caused by the reduction of the period of national service from eighteen months to twelve months.

The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force have both decided that they are unable to train their conscripts to the requisite technical standards in a year, and therefore, so far as possible, they are to rely on voluntary recruitment to obtain their men. Consequently, more and more men are going to be thrown off into the Army. Is the Army strong enough to train those extra men? Two reductions have already been made, and I think there have been two deferments of call-up. Nevertheless, we shall be faced with something like 140,000 men a year to be trained in the Army by 1949–50. How big, therefore, is the Regular Army and can it do that job? At the moment, the size of the Regular Army is about 170,000, and recruiting during the last year has been no more than what may be called "fair." The situation is given in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the Memorandum accompanying the Army Estimates, which reads as follows: In 1947, 28,000 volunteers were enlisted on normal engagements. This figure is slightly higher than that achieved in any year immediately prior to the war, except in 1938 when conditions were abnormal. In addition to men on normal engagements, some 13,000 men with previous service and experience have enlisted on a Short Service Engagement. That gives, I feel, an over-optimistic picture, for this reason: Before the war (let us say in 1937), the task of those recruiting for the Army was merely to maintain the Army at a certain specified size. But we are now trying to build up the Army to a target figure of 220,000, and therefore, in my opinion, this is not a fair parallel.

We have to find something like 50,000 recruits before the Regular Army is brought up to the, establishment which the Government have laid down. That is our first task. We have on several occasions in this House debated recruiting, and the problems attending upon it, and therefore I will not weary your Lordships again with details, which are well known. I would like, however, to reiterate what I consider to be the three principal stumbling blocks to Regular recruiting at the moment. The first is the fear in the minds of potential recruits that they will not be able to get a worth-while job, at a worthwhile wage, when they leave the Army. That is a very real fear and, at the moment, it has not been allayed. The next problem is the difficulty of accommodation, particularly in regard to married quarters. Thirdly, there is the question of pay. It is no use saying that wages must not go up, that pay must not be increased. That we know. But the fact remains that the pay of the Army is now about 15 per cent. lower, even after taking into consideration the increases introduced about two years ago, than pay in civilian life. The soldier knows that, and he feels that if the taxpayers are entitled to ask of the Army whether they are getting value for money, then he is equally entitled to say that he is not being given enough money for his value.

A further hazard has been introduced by the Budget—and this particularly applies to officers. It was brought to my notice by a brother officer who has recently been given the honour of commanding his regiment. That honour carried with it a welcome increase in pay. My brother officer's father, misguidedly as it now appears, managed to scrape and save in order to set his son up in life with a little capital. This sum, when added to his increase of pay, makes him liable to the capital levy, and therefore his promotion has cost him £400. With a cynicism which I am certain noble Lords opposite will deplore he says he feels that he has reason to suspect that that sum may be £400 a year. He considers that this is too high a price to pay for command, even by the old standards which prevailed before the Duke of Wellington's day. I have, however, taken the liberty of advising him against resigning his commission, on the ground that as an ex-Regular officer he will have extreme difficulty in finding employment in civilian life, and that if he does not he will most likely be susceptible to the Control of Engagement Order. The Ministry of Labour will probably adopt the age-old device, to which British authorities have so often had recourse when faced with a man who has disgraced himself, and send him into the Army.

The problems of the size of the task facing the Regular Army throw into relief the burdens of the Territorial Army, and its ability to help the Regular Army in its task. I think it most important that we should bear in mind in future that we have not now, as we had before the war, two Armies, a Regular Army and a Territorial Army. We have just one Army. I would like now, if I may, to refer to the statement in the Army Estimates on Page 31 concerning the role of the Territorial Army. The statement says: The Territorial Army is being organised to carry out two rôles in war:

  1. " (a) to provide from the outset a large proportion of the ground defence of the United Kingdom against air attack; and
  2. " (b) to provide a second line for the Active Army and a basis on which the Army can expand."

In my view that contains a contradiction in terms. For the Ack-Ack force a certain state of readiness, a very high state of readiness, must clearly obtain. We cannot have in the Territorial Army a second line for the active Army, a force that is in some state of readiness, and at the same time provide a force for expanding. The Territorial Army cannot throw off a cadre like the Regular Army. Therefore, either we must have a certain state of readiness or we must be prepared to throw off a cadre to produce further Reserves. We cannot have both. We have got to raise six infantry divisions, two armoured divisions, one airborne division, plus corps and other troops, plus sixty-two Ack-Ack regiments.

To do this we have first to raise a voluntary cadre upon which the conscripts can build and expand when they start to enter in 1950, so that by 1956, when the first full-term conscript's service of five years is up, the Territorial Army will be in the neighbourhood of 750,000 strong. I hope someone is beginning to think of the problems which face the country (and which never faced the country before)—problems of mobilising, moving and equipping a force of that size. How do we stand for volunteers at the present time? Very badly. The recruiting campaign for the Territorial Army began about a year ago. In the year which is past we have met with disappointing results. We have recruited only something like 45,000 men and women; and yet last Saturday 46,000 people turned out to watch Newcastle United draw one-all with Cardiff City. And I need not remind your Lordships that neither of those two teams is even in the First Division. Particularly is this figure reflected in the Ack-Ack situation, where only 13,000 recruits have so far been obtained towards an establishment of something like 192,000.

This is the question which I would like to ask His Majesty's Government: What Ack-Ack standard do they envisage? And what is to be the standard of this force to which they must give the task of defending this country to-day, to-morrow or in ten years' time? Do they think that under modern conditions the Territorial Army can, or ever will be able to, carry out that task to the standard which this country requires? The technicalities of Ack-Ack have increased greatly during the war. Apart from high technical qualifications, the regiments have to establish liaison with the R.A.F. and with the civilian populations. Are the Government giving sufficient priority to the Ack-Ack in the matter of training equipment and other facilities? That appears to me to be the primary rôle of the Territorial Army at the moment, and the position with regard to it is one which no one can view with equanimity. As with the Regular Army so with the Territorial Army the problem is to increase recruiting. We have debate I this matter in your Lordships' House before, and I will not worry your Lordships now with minor details, or weary you with all the silly little niggling pinpricks from the Treasury concerning pay allowances, petrol and other matters, small in themselves but which infuriate the Territorial Army.

I must, however, mention the confusion which exists over holidays with pay. I understand that the Government are about to launch a publicity campaign for the Territorial Army. It will be very welcome. I am also pleased to hear that the Lord Mayor's Show this year is to be given over to the Auxiliary Forces. It is all really a question of cash. Publicity costs money. I listened with interest to the question on publicity which was put earlier by my noble friend Lord Broughshane. I notice that all the tube stations of London Transport—an organisation which has ho competition and has to face no rival for prospective travellers' custom—have come out with another lavish rash of posters including a fatuous one encouraging your Lordships to "Get home safe and sound." What is the good of spending money in this way on London Transport, when we have no other alternative organisation for travel? Can we have a little less money spent on encouraging us to get into buses and tubes which are already overcrowded and more spent on encouraging people to get into the Territorial Army, which is almost empty? At the present moment too much work for recruiting is being thrown on the shoulders of commanding officers and not enough work is being done by the Government. They pay lip service only to the Territorial Army.

The trouble with the Territorial Army is that so few people know that it exists. Several armies during the war claimed the credit of being a "forgotten army." The Territorial Army, at any rate, can never be forgotten because one cannot forget something which one did not know ever existed. Therefore I call upon the Government to give a more vigorous lead. The War Office are doing their best. The War Office, however, are not able to do everything that is required. The Government must come out and give the country a lead. Can they also pass the word along to the Trades Union Congress? I am not for a moment saying anything against the Trades Union Congress; they have given great help to us in the last year. I do not believe there is an Association in the country which has not its trade union representatives—and most valuable work they have done. But we want still more from the trade unions; we want help not only from the leaders at the top, but we want it down in the workshops. I am given to understand that if every factory in the Birmingham area were to allow 5 per cent. of its workpeople to join the Territorial Army, the Territorial Army units for the Birmingham area would be filled to 100 per cent. of establishment. The reason why, in my view, this is so necessary is that I foresee a danger that when 1950 comes (and that is in only a year and a half's time) the Territorial Army—that is the voluntary cadre—may be collapsing from inertia. It is very difficult to train and maintain the enthusiasm of a regiment which has an establishment of 840 but actually numbers only 40 men. Therefore I feel that all possible efforts should be made to bring the voluntary cadre up to whatever the Government have decided should be its strength.

Now I would like to ask this question. Even granted the best circumstances, even if we do get all the volunteers, and the conscripts on top of them, do the Government really think we can attain the necessary standard of technical proficiency required nowadays by armoured formations and airborne formations? I do not know, because I did not serve in an armoured formation or airborne formation myself, but I very much doubt whether the required standard of technical skill can be obtained in anything under six months after mobilisation. What have we behind the Regular Army and the Territorial Army? I see from the Estimates this year that the Supplementary Reserve is again to be revived. That is good, but it is only a drop in the ocean. Since the end of the war something like 2,500,000 battle-trained men have been demobilised. What use are we making of them? None. Why cannot that body of potential reserve for the Army be got together and organised in some way, even if only on paper?

The potential Army Reservist is at a disadvantage compared with the sailors. They have the Navy League and the magazine Navy, which are fulfilling an admirable purpose. We have nothing like that in the Army. There is no single journal or paper to keep up to date the Reservist who wants to keep himself informed and in touch with modern developments. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, has mentioned that matter on more than one occasion and I would like to reinforce his argument. There is, of course, the Army Quarterly Review, but this is expensive and difficult to come by, and it is, frankly, a little on the highbrow side. There are also regimental journals but they are a little too parochial. There is an admirable paper Soldier which is published in Germany and which many of your Lordships may not have seen, but for some technical reason it cannot be sold in this country. I would suggest that that paper should be encouraged to develop in such a way as to fulfil not only the wants of the serving soldier but also those of the man who has left Army and wants to keep in touch. What has happened to the Home Guard? Are we keeping any skeleton organisation, even on paper, or has it been lost in the dungeons of the War Office, never to reveal itself again? I would suggest also much greater co-operation between the Territorial Army and the cadets, so that cadets when they are called up know some Territorial regiment well, and are happy to come back and rejoin the regiment once they are through with their conscript service.

I commend to the Government the miniature rifle clubs in which many of your Lordships, like myself, are interested. In Switzerland, every man under the age of forty is compelled to belong to some rifle club. In this country, too, these clubs are doing invaluable work, not only socially—and they are of great social importance—but also technically. They are going through difficult times now, particularly with regard to ammunition and accommodation. I feel we have a large untapped reserve from which we could get much more. It is depressing to have to talk about these things three years after the conclusion of a victorious war, but it is no good shutting one's eyes to the truth. It is no good being sentimental and letting one's heart rule one's head. The situation is not the same as it was three years after the First Great War. We are faced with greater risks than we were then. We shall certainly not be able to count on ten years' peace, nor shall we be able to count on a six months' respite to prepare ourselves if there should be a war. There is a further difficulty which we tend to forget. We no longer have the Indian Army by our side.

Critics may say that I am being unrealistic. "What is the good," they may say, "of talking about A.A. regiments, and 40 mm. guns when we are faced with atomic bombs and all the horrors of bacteriological warfare?" That is true, perhaps, but to sit down and do nothing, not knowing the answer to these problems, is much more dangerous. Somebody must think out the answer, but until he does we must do the best we can with what resources we have. Nor is it any good saying that Russia does not want war. Of course she does not. Russia is getting everything she wants without a war. We have to make certain that the Army has the power to hurt, if it should be required, and that that power is known. The Government should therefore be giving their attention to the problem of building up the minimum striking force we require. Of course the Government have difficulties. Any Government after a war would experience such difficulties. But it is largely a matter of priority. It is no good introducing vast social reforms if the benefits are all to be lost through our inability to protect our-selves. We are confusing quantity with quality in the Army We must have both. We must have the quality of the volunteer, and the quantity which conscription gives. Many of us regretted conscription at the time, because we felt it would kill the volunteer spirit, but it will not if we can do one thing—inject into the conscript element the volunteer spirit which means so much.

The chief requirements, as I see it, are as follows: An increased volunteer element for the Territorial and Regular Armies, backed up by an adequate number of trained and semi-trained Reserves. I have also suggested various other problems and ventured to put forward one or two solutions which occur to me. These problems are tangible, but there is one which I regard perhaps as intangible. The Army to-day is too drab. The Navy and the Air Force have always had what I may call for want of a better word the "glamour" of the three Services. Cannot we have a little bit of the panoply of soldiering back-again? Remember the intense pleasure felt throughout the country when the Household Cavalry went back to full dress for H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth's wedding. Why cannot the Brigade of Guards go back into full dress? It might cost a lot, but it would be worth it every time and would pay dividends to morale a hundred times over. It is so easy to mock at regimental tradition. It is so easy to laugh at esprit de corps. It is so easy to knock down something intangible that is so difficult to build up again.

I appeal to the Government not to be petty-minded over what may to them be small things but what I think are big things. I put forward these criticisms in a friendly spirit and, I hope, in no way biased by any political point of view. I have not levelled any serious criticism of the Government's policy; I have only offered some small points of criticism of that policy and have suggested one or two possible remedies. But I do level strong criticism at the Government for failing to give the Army the lead it deserves. They have stated their policy, and with that policy I am not differing in any major degree. Let them back that policy more vehemently. Let them come out more whole-heartedly for the Army. If they do that and give the Army the lead which it requires and to which it will respond, they will earn the gratitude not only of your Lordships' House but of the whole country. I beg to move for Papers.

3.9 p.m.


My Lords, the recent debate on the Defence White Paper gave those of us who had the privilege of taking part the opportunity of discussing the problem on broad lines and I think we kept to our task in so doing. But it is all the more important that we should have an occasion such as to-day's debate provides for discussing Army matters in greater detail. I venture at the outset to express the hope that the noble Earl who is to reply for the Government will do so with some measure of precision and expansiveness. In so many of the debates on Service questions which we have recently conducted we have have remarkably little information from the Government side. Those who have replied on those occasions seem to have adopted too closely the model of Old Man River: He must know somethin' But don't say nuthin'; He just keeps rollin' along. Although, of course, we are conscious that there are many questions which are protected from public discussion by considerations of security, we can at least hope that that label of "security" will not be used to cover matters which it may be inconvenient, from the departmental view, to discuss in public, but for which the plea of national interest cannot be properly advanced. It is so easy to put a rubber stamp on a file with "Secret" or "Top secret" upon it, and from that moment to say: "This is not a subject upon which any information is to be given outside the walls of the Department." But it is very important that a wise discretion should be used in the application of those rubber stamps. I mean no disrespect to the noble Earl who, because of the excessive juvenility of his colleague, Lord Pakenham (who was to have been the Government spokesman) is to reply, or to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, if I say that, in view of the immense weight of knowledge on military subjects (which I wholly disclaim for myself) that exists in this House, it is a matter of regret that there is no representative of the War Office amongst Ministers in your Lordships' House.

I propose to-day, particularly in the presence of so many Field-Marshals, to confine myself strictly to the Territorial Army. I would say in advance, before your Lordships discover it for yourselves, that I am going to be rather detailed and very dull. Much has happened since the pre-1914–18 war days. Many of your Lordships will remember that in those times the Territorial Force engagement was purely one for home defence. Not many weeks of that war had passed before practically the whole of the existing Force voluntarily released themselves from that restriction and accepted the obligation of general service. As that war went on, their reward came in seeing the Territorial Army steadily submerged by the growing numbers of Service battalions. In the intervals between the wars the Territorial obligation was an unlimited one for general service, and in the late war they had their recognition in seeing their identity almost completely lost. Now they have to adjust their minds and their activities to the reception of the National Service personnel in their capacity as Reservists, on their release from their year's training.

The predominant characteristic of the Territorial Army in the past has been its voluntary service. Now it is to be in the main supported by involuntary contributions and, whatever form it may adopt in the future—and no one can foresee that with any clarity—it is bound largely to have lost that stimulus of voluntary effort which has been throughout all its previous history alike its privilege and its pride. The Territorial Army under the new dispensation is to be, so to speak, the concrete bed upon which is to be erected the machinery for the expansion of an Army in time of emergency. With that, and with all the other duties that are laid upon it, there never was a time in its history when it more eminently merited to be cherished, and to have its still uphill and stony path so far as possible smoothed before it, for at the moment there are confronting it immense difficulties and immense discouragements.

I say "discouragements." Let me give one example of what I have in mind. I happen to know something of one London Territorial unit of ancient history and a gallant record of service, which offered—indeed, asked permission—to produce a small party of an officer and something like a dozen other ranks to assist in lining the route (which runs very close to their headquarters) on the forthcoming occasion of their Majesty's ceremonial drive to St. Paul's on the occasion of their Silver Wedding. That offer was refused. The unit was told that it had no right to take part in a ceremony of that kind. Who is talking of rights? Here are these men, ready and anxious to display their loyalty by taking their place in a great ceremony and, more than that, by doing honour to their own regiment and by displaying the presence of that regiment on that occasion, to make, possibly, some contribution to the sorely needed flow of recruits for the Territorial Army. This kind of senseless refusal is the only "encouragement" given to the Territorial unit: "Keep your place. Keep out of the way. As mere week-end evening soldiers, don't go butting into what is a high-grade ceremony." Not by that kind of "encouragement" will you fill the ranks of your Territorial Army.

I pass from discouragement to difficulty. Those of your Lordships who have had experience of the Territorial Army will, I think, agree that the two essentials to a Territorial unit are a good headquarters and a good headquarters' staff. By "a good headquarters" I mean a suitable and convenient building, not derelict, dilapidated or requisitioned by some Government Department, in which training can be properly carried on, and in which at the same time the social activities of the unit may be developed. It is of immense importance that the head-quarters of a Territorial unit shall be not only a drill hall but a club as well, and a club offering amenities not only to the men but to the men's wives and sweethearts, so that their women-folk will not think that if their men join the Territorial Army they will be disappearing into some closed and hostile element from which wives and sweethearts are cut off, but will feel that their own participation in the activities of the unit is both welcomed and encouraged. That kind of activity cannot be carried on in the restricted space or, indeed, the almost non-existent space which is available for many struggling Territorial units at the present moment.

The complexity of modern training, the number of weapons that have to be mastered, the number of subjects that have to be studied, in themselves aid enormously to the difficulties of training. Remember, too, that the Territorial soldier is at best only a part-time soldier, and that men training on one evening will all have reached different stages of training. The only way any order of progress can be achieved is by breaking the men up into small squads at a parallel standard of training, and introducing them to the subject in that way. But for that purpose you must have room, and I know of one headquarters, not ill-equipped by pre-war standards, which is now almost at bursting point from the training angle, although it is only at 10 per cent. of its established strength.

That problem occurs in headquarters all over the country. Many headquarters are derelict and dilapidated. Every aid and encouragement ought to be given to set those headquarters into a proper state of repair, so that they are attractive to those who use them. I gave the noble Earl, or his temporary predecessor, notice that I was going to ask one more question. It was the case not long ago that there were a number of headquarters still subject to requisition and not available for use at all by the units to which they rightly belonged. I would like to know whether that state of affairs still obtains; if so, in how many cases, and if in any cases, when it is proposed to put an end to such hampering conditions?

Another matter concerning headquarters is of great importance, especially to armoured units, and that is the question of garage and parking space for vehicles, particularly in towns and cities. I believe that in the modern drill book there is no official command to make much of your tanks, bren-carriers or armoured cars, but at the same time it is essential that if a man is to be a competent trained soldier, he should be on terms of familiarity with the vehicle which he is going to control. If that is to be achieved, then it must mean that the vehicles are not only readily available but equally readily accessible. It is no good depending upon the good will of some obliging Regular unit to lend vehicles for week-end exercises. The vehicles must be there, and the men must have opportunity for access to them. But that cannot be done unless there is some space available where those vehicles can be kept in reasonable proximity to the headquarters, and those arrangements, certainly in London, are almost entirely lacking.

As regards headquarters staff, the second essential, it is of the greatest importance that the Regular Army should be encouraged to maintain the standard which the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, rightly acknowledged they have hitherto set, of sending their best men. But there is an element of discontent amongst them, and it is based very largely, as one would expect, upon the great shortage of married quarters available for their use. I know that that is not a problem peculiar to the Territorial Army. We had some reflection of it recently in a debate initiated by the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Trenchard, in regard to the Police Force, and no doubt the same obtains in regard to the Regular Army. You will not get your best men from the Regular Army to volunteer to carry out the essential work of training the Territorials unless you provide them with suitable accommodation. When this point is raised we are always told of the immense difficulties. Let us for a moment put the difficulties aside and see whether something cannot be done, instead of talking about difficulties that exist. I do not think that it is the War Office who are obstructing; it is the perpetually limiting, cramping hand of the Treasury, descending upon not merely the administration but the policy of other Departments. This problem has to be surmounted, and efforts must be made to find and make habitable proper accommodation. It is no good just finding a man a place and putting in a few articles of what, on a broad interpretation, might be regarded as furniture. You have to give him somewhere where he will be content to live.

Another problem which arises is the greater expense that a man incurs in having to live in London, and the inadequacy of what is called the "London allowance" to cover the extra cost which he finds falls upon him owing to his transfer to London. The military personnel of a headquarters are not the end of the story. There is, owing to the shortage of military personnel, a considerable element of civilian employees as well. They are in an unsatisfactory situation as regards their pay. Take a man who is what is called a Grade 2 clerk at a Territorial headquarters, whose grade is equivalent to Warrant Officer Class II in the Service. A Warrant Officer Class II, taking into account his ration allowance and so forth, gets a wage of approximately £8 1s. 8d. a week, and when he goes back to his unit there is promotion open to him to Warrant Officer Class I, and so on. His civilian counterpart has no opportunity of promotion because there is no clerk Grade I in the Territorial Army, and even after four years' service he can never rise above £6 6s. od. a week, as compared with the military rate of pay of £8 1s. 8d. When men are doing comparable duties, perhaps in the same headquarters, one a soldier receiving £8 1s. 8d. and one a civilian receiving £6 6s. od., it cannot be expected that the civilian will do his best work on those terms.

Those are the points I desire to make on the Territorial aspect. They are in themselves perhaps minor points, but they build up with one another into something rather formidable in the way of obstructing a whole movement from proceeding along the path required. I wanted to raise one other point on that matter. The Territorial Army, since its re-formation a little while ago, has been fortunate in having the services of a number of experienced Regular officers, seconded to command Territorial units. On what terms, as regards length of command, are those officers transferred? My information is that they are only seconded for a year, which may be extended in certain circumstances to eighteen months. That is, I suggest, quite inadequate, particularly when this is the moment at which the Force is being re-formed. You must at that moment have continuity of command, so that the same person has the opportunity and the responsibility of making arrangements for the intake of the large numbers of National Service men at the beginning of 1950—and not only for making preliminary arrangements but for seeing that the arrangements work in practice when the time comes. I hope that even if it involves some sacrifice on the part of Regular units they will see the great advantage to the Territorial Army of extending those periods of command so as to give real continuity, and that the War Office will reconsider what I understand to be the limitation at present imposed.

I have asked one question before, but I cannot say that I received much more in reply than a synthetic dose of soothing syrup. It concerned the prospects of Territorial Army officers' receiving training for Staff employment in the event of general mobilisation. I should like to know from the noble Earl whether any arrangements have been made, or are contemplated, to give that Staff training to officers of a kind who, I think, in the late war and in the previous war showed themselves not ill-suited for the discharge of the duties of the Staff.

May I finally turn to one matter on which your Lordships will perhaps allow me to speak very briefly, having had it as my personal preoccupation during most of the last war? That is the provision of a military labour force. When the last war began, there was no provision at all for the supply of labour to the Army; and what was done was to collect the Reservists on their way to join their units, and thrust them into improvised units. Of course the time came when they were required back by their units; and after that, such was the shortage of the labour force, that Lord Gort was obliged to divert three whole divisions in France from their proper military training and employ them on labour duties. There were not so many divisions in being at that time that we could easily spare those three divisions for that type of duty. That was during the period of the war when what was known by the singularly inept and clumsy title of the "Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps" was coming into being. I do not propose to follow out the history of that Corps, but I would like to ask two questions upon it—pausing only to say that it is now the Royal Pioneer Corps. I do not know many corps which at the end of their first war have graduated to the position of receiving the prefix "Royal." It indicates, perhaps, that they did some not un-useful work; and they may be called upon to do more work of the same type in possible future contingencies.

The questions I want to ask are these. First, is it proposed to keep the Royal Pioneer Corps in being as part of the Regular Army? Secondly, is it proposed to extend it on a Territorial basis? I believe that it could most usefully be extended upon those lines. I think there are a number of men who are too old for the normal Territorial engagement, perhaps unfit for the normal Territorial engagement, perhaps even rejected on physical grounds for National Service, who at the same time would be ready and willing to volunteer for the Territorial engagement on the more limited basis of training and engagement which would be sufficient for service in the Pioneer Corps. In that way there would not, perhaps, be a large number of companies, but it might at least provide what was wholly non-existent before—the nucleus of a force which could rapidly be expanded in the event of hostilities breaking out again. The Territorial Army is capable of being a great force, but it must not be forgotten that it is now in its third childhood in the forty years of its existence. I beg the Government to bear that fact in mind, and neither to break its spirit nor overtax its strength by attempting to lay upon it, before it has the strength to bear them, burdens which it is not yet qualified to sustain.

3.35 p.m.


My Lords, I ask your indulgence on this the first occasion on which I have addressed your Lordships' House, when I speak on the important subject of the Territorial Army. In the course of my service I have had little to do with the organisation and administration of the Territorial Army at home, but I can speak of the manner in which they fought in battle; and I am sure that that is deserving of the highest recognition by the people of this country. During the last year, since I returned from service overseas, I have come to sense very strongly that the magnitude of the task which the Territorial Army is being asked to undertake in the pattern of National Defence is not fully realised by this country. As the noble Lord who spoke first said, it will have to provide in future the nucleus of armoured and other divisions for anti-aircraft and coast defence and for the training of the National Service Reservists. Your Lordships are fully aware of the changing tempo of war to-day, as compared with that of a few years ago. The necessity for training has to be stepped up to keep pace with this tempo. As late as the end of 1942 I myself encountered in the Territorial Army overseas units which had failed to appreciate either that change or the necessity for it. I am sure your Lordships will agree that the future must be faced with-a determination that there shall be no stepping back to out-of-date conceptions of what is required: otherwise the Territorial Army will beget the name that it is not a "live show"—and that is at all costs to be avoided.

War to-day calls for a very high standard of training and professional knowledge, combined with technical efficiency. For instance, an officer has to be proficient in using radio before he can command men in the field; and the infantry soldier now has to be instructed in subjects which in the past appertained to technical services. Equipment nowadays has to keep pace with scientific developments, and its users have to be trained to keep in step. I suggest that there are two requisites for the Territorial Army to build itself up to carry out its tasks: time and money. Time was the one thing that Napoleon requested his marshals not to ask of him. The time that I refer to is the time to train, all ranks sparing the maximum amount from civil employment. In an all-out drive for production the time that can be devoted to reaching a high standard of training in the Territorial Army calls for delicate adjustment and co-operation between all concerned—employers, workers and the Government. It is a matter of national urgency that the Territorial Army should be strong enough to fulfil its rôle efficiently, and it is impossible to train with empty cadres.

Referring to money, the financial situation of the country in relation to appropriations for defence has been explained in another place, but it is a pleasure to know that instructions are on the way for extra buildings to be made available for Territorial training and accommodation. One expresses the hope that what is to be allowed will be adequate for the purpose, and that the locations selected for training will save the time of the citizen-soldier travelling to and from his place of instruction. In the case of national emergency, it is the intention that the Territorial Army should be called upon to expand. To do so, Reserve officers and other ranks would have to be called upon in great numbers. Therefore, they must be kept up to date in weapons and tactical handling. This calls for the maintenance of schools of instruction of a high order. The success of the huge expansion of the United States Army during the Second World War was largely due to the excellent standards of its schools during peace.

May I now say a word about the Army Cadet Force? It is nearly a year since in another place the Minister of Defence pledged full Government support to the pre-Service cadets. This has been well reflected in the recent Army Estimates in the material benefits allocated to the Army Cadet Force. I am told that it is a new departure for anyone in this House not to register a complaint that the financial provisions are inadequate. To-day, I am not registering that complaint. I would, however, ask your Lordships to consider the importance of the cadet movement in our national life. The cadet of to-day is the Territorial soldier of the morrow, and by his training in that Force he is given a stepping-stone to leadership. What is required to-day is not more money but some assurance that the present scale of provision will be continued in future years and will be accepted as part of our national policy: in other words, a guarantee of continuity. Those who give their time and work to the raising and care of cadet units should be relieved of the fear that the results of their efforts may crash suddenly through lack of funds. The need this year is support generally throughout the nation, combined with the elimination of a pernicious but prevailing idea that the cadets are the private property of the Service Departments and are not sponsored by the Government as a whole.

It is not easy to find men of the right type, who have a real gift for leading boys and who can find time to devote to that task, and induce them to come forward. It would be a great help if they could be made to feel that their work would be Government-sponsored and that the granting of facilities for military duty would be looked upon favourably by their superiors, whether they be in Government or in civil employment. It would be wrong for me not to record that there has recently been an improvement in this respect, but it would be equally wrong for me not to state that there are still parts of this country, and certain local education authorities, which are not merely indifferent in their attitude towards pre-Service organisations but are actually discouraging them. Thus one finds a situation in which certain bodies, notwithstanding that they are deriving large subsidies from the Exchequer, are running counter to the Government's declared policy when one would have thought that they ought to be encouraging it. I am sure your Lordships will agree that this matter needs attention. I hope that the noble Earl who is to reply will make a point of taking up the matter with his colleagues.

3.46 p.m.


My Lords, I am quite certain that I shall be voicing the views of every member of your Lordship's House when I congratulate the noble Lord who has just sat down on his excellent maiden speech. One of the advantages that we have in this House is that from time to time there are added to our numbers those who have had most distinguished careers in one of the three fighting Services. They are always welcome here; and they are particularly welcome when they talk on the subject which they have made their life's work. I think we can assure the noble Lord who has just sat down that he is certainly no exception to that rule. We hope we shall often hear him again.

I do not want to occupy the time of the House for long this afternoon, but I do wish to say a few words about the Territorial Army. My justification for doing so, if I need any, is that I served for twenty-four years in that Army myself, and have ever since been and still am a member of the Territorial Association. For those of us who helped to re-form the Territorial Army just after the First World War, the slowness with which it is being re-formed now, as compared with what happened in those days, is rather distressing. For example, take the battery that I had the honour of forming afresh in 1919. Within three years from the end of the First World War, our establishment of both officers and other ranks was complete. That battery to-day has a meagre 4 or 5 per cent. of its establishment, with-out taking any account, of course, of the National Service men who are to be added in due course. It is no good conceding from ourselves the fact that, at the present rate of progress, the Territorial Army will not be in a fit condition to train the National Service men when they come to join its ranks in January, 1950.

I quite agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who said that you cannot properly train with insufficient personnel. At present, we cannot get proper gun-teams for anti-aircraft work, for coast defence work or for any other work that will be wanted immediately on the outbreak of war. Nor at the present time do we look like being able to form an airborne division or a tank and armoured division in the Territorial Army. Why is this so? It seems to me it is because, first of all, there is a prevalent view in the country that "If the Government want us to do something, they will tell us to do it. They told us when they wanted us to join up for military service. Indeed, they have the Control of Engagement Order, which is not much used, but there it is, and if they want a man to do something they will just order him to do it. So why should we do anything until we are told?" That view is prevalent amongst a large number of people in this country. There is also the view of the men who are chiefly wanted back—those who became efficient non-commissioned officers. This remark of course applies to officers as well, but I have mainly in mind the non-commissioned officers of the war years. Those men often ask, "Why should not the young men do their bit. Why should we come back to do ours again?"

Before the last war we relied largely on the spirit of voluntary service, and we are still trying to recruit the Territorial Army on that basis. I would like to draw attention to an extraordinary thing. The other day the Local Government Bill passed through your Lordships' House, and we were very concerned with one clause which allowed the payment of out-of-pocket expenses to councillors attending meetings. We certainly had some considerable discussion about it, but both Houses of Parliament passed that provision, so that a man serving as a local councillor should not be out of pocket by reason of his service. But in every case when a Territorial soldier goes to camp he is out of pocket unless his employer makes up the difference. We must face that situation.

Unfortunately the times are not what they once were, when everybody appreciated a voluntary service. I have often been horrified by Professor Joad's views, and I was rather horrified again when speaking in "Friday Forum" in a discussion on giving voluntary service, he said: "In this age we have surely done with all that snobbery." If that is the kind of spirit or sentiment that is going forth on the radio and in other ways, we shall not get people to give voluntary service and we shall certainly have to pay them more, because we cannot expect employers, especially those in small businesses, to allow a fortnight a year to their men and make up their pay during the time they are in camp, in addition to paying full wages for a fortnight's holiday. There are few businesses that can stand paying a man what is practically full wages for a month of the year—payment both for the holidays and for the period of the camp. A third factor that is militating against the Territorial Army at the moment is undoubtedly the National Service Act. That Act takes the men at 18 years of age. If one looks at the records of almost every Territorial unit in the days before this last war, one finds that 50 per cent. of the men in the unit were of the ages of 17, 18 and 19. Now Territorial units are not allowed to take them at 17; they must wait until the men are re-drafted (when that provision becomes operative) after their military training with the Regular Forces.

Those are obviously the reasons which underlie the poor recruiting at the present time. What is to be done about it? I listened with immense delight as always, to the noble Lord who opened this debate, but I must say I do not agree with him that posters are going to do much good—certainly not the posters that we have at the moment for the Territorial Army. The only poster that I have seen asking people to join the Territorial Army is of a man doing up his boots. Everyone has to do up his boots, if he wears boots, and it is a completely ludicrous way of attracting a person to join an Army—to depict the soldier's rôle as one of doing up boots. I hope the artist who draws these posters for the War Office will think of some more glamorous occupation in which to depict the Territorial Army soldier than the one I have just described. But posters will not really bring in the recruits. Recruiting for the Territorial Army can be done only by those who are already in it and who are satisfied with their conditions. It is the man who is serving who will go out and bring in his pals, because he is among a good company of men and is serving with them, because they have a good drill hall in which to assemble, and because they have a good club run in conjunction with it and have the opportunity of a thoroughly good camp—I do not mean merely a holiday camp (that is not the way to attract men) but a camp in which all their time, apart from the periods they must have free, is occupied with interesting instruction.

Quite a lot is being done for the Territorial Army and it would not be right to let it pass unacknowledged. The clothing that they are receiving, in my Association at any rate, is excellent. The equipment for most units is now coming in quite well, although there is the limitation that we have not enough sheds and such places in which to store the vast amount of equipment required for a fully trained unit possessing some knowledge of its full equipment. I hope that the War Office will try and butt through those restrictions which are quite unnecessarily imposed on this country by the Ministry of Health. There are plenty of bricks in this country, and there are plenty of bricklayers. It is no good thinking that by saying that only so many may be employed in a particular trade you can change a man from being a bricklayer into a worker in some export trade. I hope we shall be allowed to build more of these places in which to keep the armoured vehicles and guns, and that we shall soon be allowed to build more married quarters, not only for the permanent staff instructors but also for men like the adjutant of a unit—the Regular officer who is posted to a neighbourhood and, unless some house is there for his occupation, nowadays has very little chance of getting a house at all.

There is one matter that I would like to mention in regard to equipment. It may have been put right now, but it is one of the petty little restrictions that ought never to occur. The War Office sent us down for training purposes some models of a useful new gun. It was a coast defence gun. In order that the site and the gun may work in conjunction with one another, a piece of steel called a cam, which is shaped according to the height at which the gun is to be situated, is required. These were new guns, and they came without any cams. Application was made for a drill cam to be made, the cost of which would have been, perhaps, two or three pounds—not more. The gun itself costs £9,000 or £10,000. This I am told, is what happened. The financial people at the War Office said: "We will allow you to make these cams when you tell us that you can make them for the site where the gun is eventually to go." The military people at the War Office said: "We do not know where we shall put this particular defence gun, and we shall not know for a long time." The result (though the matter may have been remedied now) was that there was this beautiful gun standing in the hall, deficient by reason of the absence of the cam, and all due to a stupid little bit of red tape in the War Office. The gun without the cam, of course, is useless for drill purposes and will remain so until someone gets over the difficulty which has arisen.

I come back once again to the position which the Government will have to face. It is a prime necessity, I believe, in order to secure recruits for the Territorial Army, that they should be given more pay than they are getting at the present moment. You cannot expect a man to do his training in camp and be five or six pounds out of pocket, so that he is left with very little money to send home to keep his wife and family. The Territorial Army, after all, is an extremely cheap Army. The position is not as it would be if these men were being paid for fifty-two weeks in the year. An immense amount of work is obtained from them by reason of their attendance at the evening drills, which is never paid for, so the one time when it is imperative to see that they are adequately paid is the time when they are in camp. I am not one who would advocate having different rates of pay for the Territorial Army and for the Regular Army. I think corresponding ranks ought to be paid the same in both. On the other hand, there is a handy method of helping the Territorial soldier, and that is to increase the bonus given him each year if he attends camp and is returned as an efficient soldier. So far as I know, the bonus remains as it was between the two wars, although everyone knows that the value of money is not at all the same as it was ten or more years ago. I urge upon the War Office—and I hope that the noble Earl who is to reply will draw their attention to this fact—that if it is really wished in these days to obtain a full-strength Territorial Army we shall be wasting money and putting confidence into an ill-fitted machine if it is not brought up nearby, at any rate, to full strength. I suggest that the bonus should be altered; that it should be substantially increased so that a man is not materially out of pocket as the result of serving his country in the Territorial Army.

The only other thing I wish to say is to urge upon the Government most strongly that when they start the new recruiting campaign for the Territorial Army the Government themselves should go all out to try to make the campaign a success, and should not leave it to be dealt with as just a departmental matter. Efforts should be made to get all sorts of people to assist. Everyone who can help, from the Prime Minister downwards, should be asked to lend weight and voice to the appeal which is to be made. It seems to me absolutely essential that we should have a Territorial Army fully prepared to take its place in the line—certainly for anti-aircraft work and coast defence—from the word "go," when war is declared. We can none of us maintain that that is the case at the present time. Yet it ought to be. It should be the aim and ambition of all of us to see that the deficiency which now exists is made up as soon as possible. I am certain that the Government may rely on the aid of a great number of people who do not happen to belong to their Party. Trey may rely upon these people to give them all the support possible in the new campaign to be initiated in the Autumn. There is no controversy whatever between us with regard to this. We all think the Territorial Army is a great Army, a great conception, and we want it to be brought to the peak of efficiency so that it may be adequate and ready for the very important job which the Government have entrusted to its care.

4.5 p.m.


My Lords, first of all I would ask permission to join the noble Lord who has just sat down in offering my respectful felicitations to my late Chief, and also to say, as one interested in the Cadet Movement, how delighted I am to know that they have so strong a champion. This debate has covered a fairly wide field, not excluding the rather pessimistic views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, concerning the operation of the Capital Levy. Judging from the indication of dissent shown by the noble and learned Viscount who was sitting on the Woolsack, I hope that when the Finance Bill becames law, the noble Lord's brother officer will find that his Army pay and private income will not be assessed together.

I propose to occupy a few minutes to deal with certain matters connected with the Territorial Army. If I am only half so dull as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, said he was going to be, I shall be well content. When in 1946 it became known what would be the rôle of the Territorial Army in the plan for the Army of the future, my colleagues on the East Riding of Yorkshire Association—all men of long and valuable experience in the Territorial Army—had no illusions about the magnitude of the task that confronted them. But they set to work with good will, fortified by the assurance of the Under-Secretary of State for War that "this time the Territorials would have the Government solidly behind them." Moreover, they felt strongly that the units for which they would be responsible must have an opportunity of living up to the great reputation of those units which formed a not unimportant part of the wonderful 50th Division, and that they would also be able to live up to the fine reputation so deservedly won by the Artillery and Royal Engineer units and the East Riding Yeomanry. We knew that it would be no easy task, and not made any easier by the reduction to twelve months of the period of Colour Service.

I would venture now to draw attention to the statement made by the Quarter-Master General in November, 1947, to members of the Council of the Territorial Army and Auxiliary Forces Associations. In so doing I make no personal attack on the officer who made the statement. I have not the slightest doubt that he and other members of the Army Council have done their best to secure for us the means of producing efficient units. But it is clear that in encounters with other Ministries concerned the War Office were defeated. That statement dealt largely with matters of work, services, accommodation, finance and problems of training. I must not take up the time of your Lordships by going into details, but I will say that that completely negative statement was staggering; and it showed a most deplorable infirmity of purpose. One of the audience described it to me afterwards as: "The wettest thing the War Office have ever produced, and most discouraging." If the Government spokesman has not a copy of that statement I have here one which I shall be pleased to let him have.

Then, again, we have found that the town planning authorities have never taken the Territorial Army into their consideration. Provision has been made, and rightly made, for libraries and recreation facilities, but the Territorial has been left out altogether. When we referred the matter locally, we were asked where we would like to have the sites. That was not difficult to answer, but when it comes to a matter of acquiring sites we are immediately up against the machinery at the War Office, which is of such a character that it is difficult, if not impossible, to bring any negotiation to a successful issue. In contrast, when local authorities have, for instance, the sacred cause of education in the field they have powers and use them; and they seem to encounter no particular difficulty. If the local authorities have these powers, why not the Army? Or have they these powers and are they reluctant to use them; or what is the difficulty? It is a platitude to remark that the world is in an uneasy state at present but there certainly seems to be very little recognition of the supreme importance of our Armed Forces. I am by no means the only member of your Lordships' House who has had personal experience, in the early days of a campaign, of leading troops partly trained and inadequately equipped. Our country has survived twice, but at awful expense in money and lives. Surely two great world wars and their vicissitudes should have taught us something.

So far as the Association of which I have the honour of being President is concerned, we may be better off than some, but we still have four units without any accommodation at all and two with unsatisfactory accommodation. And of those which have accommodation, two are from seven to nine miles too far away to be of real use. We lack twenty-four quarters for married members of the permanent staff, and we have no garage accommodation whatsoever; and, as noble Lords have said, that must inevitably lead to waste. I hope the noble Lord who will reply will say something about the employers of men who are Territorials. I should like to reinforce what the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, said. I am sure that a clear and satisfactory statement would do a tremendous amount to stimulate recruiting, which so far has been disappointing. Appeals have been made to employers to make concessions to their men. There are a considerable number of employers who always have played up well, and who will no doubt continue to do so in the future. But unless some concessions are given, it will be supremely difficult, especially for employers with a small number of men and for those engaged in the summer holiday trades. I recognise that there is little or no unemployment to-day, but should the situation change for the worse, it would be a bad business if the chances of a man's employment were prejudiced by his military obligations. In this connection I would point out the hardship suffered by men attending a week-end camp. As it is at present, they come home with exactly 1s. 9d. in their pockets, and surely their services are worth a little more than that.

In conclusion, I would ask the Government to state quite definitely what are their real intentions as to the future of the Territorial Army. Do they mean to carry out the scheme propounded in 1946, or is it to be scrapped? While I may not share the doubts of some, I feel bound to express the views of those who see in the apparently spineless efforts of the Government a weakening in the plan, or at least a failure to carry out points of important detail.

4.15 p.m.


My Lords, like the noble Marquess and the noble Lord who has just sat down, I venture to address your Lordships' House on the sole topic of the Territorial Army. My noble friend Lord Llewellin, in the course of his speech, said that the reason why we were so successful in recruiting for the Territorial Army at the end of the First World War was that we were able to recruit young boys at the age of 17. Lord Llewellin went on to say that by law we are not allowed to do that now. I put a question to the Government through Lord Pakenham as to whether the question of age was being seriously considered. It seems to me that we surely want to repeat the unqualified success we had at the end of the First World War. I know it would be only a short term of one year, but it would have the advantage that recruits would volunteer into their parent Territorial regiments, go from those to do their National Service training, and return from National Service back to their Territorial unit. What is happening to-day? I believe there are already over 250,000 boys who have come out of National Service and who are not in a Territorial unit at all. We have lost them, and it is hard work to persuade them to come into the Territorial Army at present.

May I now turn to the brilliant maiden speech of the noble and gallant Field-Marshal? Has it occurred to His Majesty's Government that it is possible to say, as I have heard it said, that we shall lose our cadets? I do not think that is true. In the County of Middlesex there are 100,000 youths of 17 years of age doing nothing, and in that county there are only 4,000 cadets. Where a cadet has an exemplary character and is a good type of lad, cannot the Government consider whether he should be allowed to join the Territorial Army at the age of 17, and, after he has come out and done twelve months' service, be allowed one year off the period he has to do? I appeal to the Government to consider this suggestion, because I do not believe we shall get men for the Territorial Army unless some step is taken in that direction. I believe that unless the Government come out with some scheme like that, we shall not have the cadres to train our National Service men. We hear a great deal about these cadres, but how large are they to be? Are they to be 20, 25 or 30 per cent. of the strength? I know that some Territorial Associations have laid down their own percentages, but not one word have we heard as to how large those cadres should be. It is not very encouraging.

I am not altogether in agreement with the statement that poor quality buildings are the cause of the failure to get recruits. I know of many units where buildings are first-rate, with all the facilities that the men require. In one case I know of a regiment with excellent buildings but with fewer men than the regiment of which I have the honour of being honorary colonel. I do not think it is altogether a question of buildings, but without buildings we cannot store our equipment or get on with our training. That is the real point. Some of your Lordships may have noticed that I have had some dealings with the matter of Imber. It is most astounding that the Secretary of State for War has got rid of all the agriculturists and civilians in that area, but when it comes to getting rid of a fellow Minister who is occupying a War Office building, he cannot do it. For over a year now everybody in the town I have in mind, from the Mayor down, has been pressing for the release of the drill hall. But the Minister responsible says: "No. You keep away. You are, after all, only the Secretary of State for War. I am not interested in the Territorial Army." Those are the plain facts. That can hardly be regarded as an encouragement to the Territorial Army.

Let me turn to the question of why we are really short of buildings. Prior to the war, when the Territorial regiments were doubled, they had just begun to get into the swing, and were putting up new buildings, but the war came and put an end to it. What else happened? Many hutment camps were put up all over the country, and especially around cities like London. The first thing the Government did after the war was to have those hutment camps removed. We are told that there is no material, no money and no men to build; in fact, there is nothing. I asked—and I hope the noble Earl when he replies will be able to tell us—whether the Secretary of State has the power to grant money to the Associations for immediate repairs; that is to say, for drill halls to be altered, and for repairs to be carried out at once. We have been asking for this for months. Now I am informed by the Association that a letter has been received saying: "Will you please put down, for the umpteenth time, the estimates for your building, and so on?" So we shall go through the whole process of delay and delay, and eventually when next winter comes I suppose we shall be allowed some money to get on with our building. Unless those buildings are provided I am absolutely convinced that by the time 1950 comes we shall be quite unable to carry out the task that has been given to us. Fifteen months ago I warned the Government that if they did not help us in every way they could (I thought they were starting too soon, and I warned them then) they could not blame the Territorial Army for any fiasco that might take place afterwards. I say the same thing now. You must not blame the Territorial Army at this moment.

The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, spoke earlier of an astounding thing that has happened to one of the oldest Territorial regiments in the City of London. I would go so far as to ask: Why has not every Territorial unit in the City of London been asked to go on guard that day? What a wonderful thing if that could have been done. In 1944 I asked for a Territorial medal for the Territorial Army. That was refused. Since then I have been asking for a rosette, to be worn either on the war medal or the defence medal. It will cost the country nothing, but it will do an infinite amount of good—far more good than all the speeches than can be made. But, no; we are wanted only in times of emergency; and we are blamed because we sit back and ask for a little straw with which to make a few bricks.

There is one other point to which I must refer, and it is in regard to the forthcoming camps. It is far better for a unit not to go to camp unless it can be guaranteed on all grounds that the camp is to be successful. Otherwise, when the Government proceed with their national campaign in October these fellows and girls will say in large numbers: "Thank you very much. We have had it"; and they will not stay on. I will mention only one case. I have heard of one camp on the east coast of Suffolk where the A.T.S. were to sleep, six in a bell tent, on palliasses. That is all right after they have been campaigning for three or four months. Nobody did better than they did in the last awful winter of the war. But this is a peace-time camp; these girls are new to the A.T.S. I sincerely hope the noble Earl will be able to tell us that every step will be taken to see that these little details—which when put together amount to so much—will be looked into, in order that the camps have every chance of being successful. One other point on camps. Many of them are in isolated areas. Already commanding officers preparing their plans have been told: "No, you cannot carry out that plan, as there are no lorries and no petrol." Every sacrifice should be made to see that commanding officers have all the petrol and the lorries that they want in the various camps to which they go.

I want to say now one thing about the Regular Army. I have really no right to speak about the Regular Army, inasmuch as I have always been a Territorial soldier. But I am not satisfied that the men in the Regular Army, especially those in Germany, are receiving sufficient food. I think it is well cooked, but I have heard many criticisms as to the amount. I hope His Majesty's Government will keep a careful check on that, because these lads are all growing lads—they are not like the toughened "old sweats" of the First World War—and, in consequence, they must have gigantic appetites. But once again the old nigger is raising his ugly head on the fence. N.A.A.F.I. prices, I am told, are out of all proportion; they are so high that these fellows do not know how to carry on. Can His Majesty's Government see to it that these N.A.A.F.I. prices are kept down? What is happening now is exactly the same as happened after the First World War.

I have all my life been in favour of National Service, under Lord Roberts' scheme of 1908. In those days very large numbers were wanted. I do not know whether to-day it is so much a question of numbers, but I believe that if you pay the Army well, feed them well, and appeal to the spirit of adventure in the youth of the country, you will be able to do away with National Service and get every man you want from volunteers.

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, I rise to speak from a comparatively narrow angle—that of a colonel of an infantry regiment—and on a single but, to my mind, vitally important matter—the value of the maintenance of the regimental spirit of tradition, which I feel is in some danger of being destroyed or weakened by recent developments. I am going to speak from the point of view of the Regular Army, and my remarks, therefore, might possibly have been better addressed to your Lordships next week on the occasion of the Army and Air Force Annual Bill. As I shall not be able to be present then, I ask your Lordships' indulgence while I say a few words on the subject of the regimental spirit.

I would preface my remarks by saying that I most fully realise and sympathise with the War Office in their present difficulties. In a peace-loving and unmilitaristic country like this, the period succeeding a great war is bound to be one of discouragement and disillusionment for the fighting Forces and all connected with them. The obvious form of retrenchment to repair the wastefulness of war is a reduction in the numbers of the so-called unproductive sailor, soldier and airman, and of his costly weapons. This perfectly natural and proper process begins and continues, and those who are responsible for post-war plans never know quite how much money is going to be at their disposal, or how many men. Very often, when they have made their plans, that which they seem to have, or have had promised to them, is taken away again. There is also the difficulty that the lessons of the last war have not yet been absorbed, and there has not been time to work out their effects on organisation and training. Of course, they have always been told that to prepare for the last war is complete folly. What the next war is likely to be is a tiling at which the imagination boggles, and so some people, including, I fear, some of those in responsible positions, just sit and boggle. Now in such difficult circumstances surely it is right to hold fast to one factor which is constant, which is proved and which has never failed us in all our long history—the regimental spirit and regimental tradition. There does seem to me to be a real danger of this not being given full consideration. Let me say at once that I fully support the decision to group infantry regiments. I have been in favour of that proposal ever since the end of the First World War. In, I think, 1926, the War Office put forward a tentative suggestion of grouping, but when it met with opposition from some of the colonels of regiments to whom it was referred, they unfortunately, unwisely and, I think, weakly, abandoned it. I know that the then colonel of my regiment, The Black Watch, the late General Sir Archibald Cameron, was strongly in favour of the group scheme, as was his successor, the late General Sir Arthur Wauchope. So the group idea is no new thing to us.

I believe that, without suffering the loss of any of the old regimental loyalties, we can make the group a real and living thing with a group spirit. I think we have already gone a long way towards that in the Highland Brigade group. It is the development and application of this group system which is causing great alarm. The original purpose of grouping was to get over the difficulty of reinforcement in the field because of the unequal incidence of casualties in units and, in peacetime, to equalise promotion in the higher ranks, both commissioned and non-commissioned. That was the original purpose, and the transfer of the officer or man from his own regiment to another regiment in the group was, as we understood the system originally, to be very exceptional in peacetime. But already there is a tendency to treat the regiments in a group as a single regiment, and to transfer both officers and men within it, often without apparently sufficient cause and with little regard to their original regiment.

Now it is quite realised that in the present period such transfers are unavoidable, but they must be made with due consideration and with proper cause. There is undoubtedly arising a fear that it will not stop there; that men will be transferred to regiments outside their own group. The debate last Friday in another place, in which it was decided that men could be compulsorily transferred from one corps to another, has naturally caused great uneasiness. It must be realised by all the authorities at the War Office that the group system can only work if all ranks have confidence that they can never be posted outside their own corps, and that they will be posted away from their own regiment within that group only where it is absolutely necessary. To depart from that principle will destroy the whole purpose of the group system and will defeat the endeavours of those of us who are doing our best to have the group system accepted and worked, in the course of which we may have to sink some of our old cherished regimental traditions and idiosyncrasies in dress and other matters in favour of uniformity within the group.

Another matter which is causing deep concern in some regiments is that good recruiting figures seem to carry no reward—in fact, rather the reverse. My own regiment, The Black Watch, has recruited sufficient Regulars since the war ended to man three Regular battalions at the present establishment. There are a large number of other regiments which, in the same period, did not attract sufficient recruits to man more than one company. And yet all of us are reduced to one battalion. The single Regular battalion of my own regiment has, apparently by the accident of its geographical station, been selected for a rôle having a very low Regular establishment, with the result that a regiment for whom nearly 1,600 men volunteered between 1945 and 1947 has now a Regular establishment of under 250. Last year I inspected the two Regular battalions of my regiment, one last March, in Karachi, and one in August, in Germany. They were then both well over 1,000 strong, more than half of whom were Regulars. Now the battalion in Germany has a Regular establishment of a little over 200, while the other battalion has been reduced to a cadre at the depôt of about 20 men; so that of those 1,100 Regulars whom I saw last year fewer than 250 now remain in their own regiment. I fully realise the difficulties, but I cannot believe that a system that produces results like that can be sound.

To show that the regimental spirit is not dead, and how strong are the feelings of the men, I may say that in the Regular battalion which remains the commanding officer had to give forty-six warrant officers and non-commissioned officers the choice of either remaining in their own regiment and being reduced in rank or going to other regiments if they wished to retain their rank. Of the forty-six, all but four elected to remain in the regiment. There is another matter in which I think the regimental spirit and the old tradition might have been better observed. There have been a number of new units formed since the war and added to our present organisation, as, for example, parachute battalions. Surely, instead of creating new units, it would have been better to take some of the magnificent Regular battalions that have been disbanded and turn them into the units required, with all their old traditions. Instead of that, new units have been created and old units have been asked to supply them with plate and furniture. I am all for progress but I think their old traditions are worth preserving.

There is one small tradition which appears in recent correspondence that I have had with the Adjutant-General's branch. I find that there are at least three departments of that branch which have abandoned the traditional military spelling of "Field Marshal" and always spell it with two "1's" at the end. As I have said, I realise the difficulties of the War Office and I fully sympathise with them; but I also know the feeling in regiments. I ask the Government to strengthen the hands of those of us who are doing our best to foster the group spirit, and thus to assist War Office plans, by giving full assurance that transfers within a group shall be as few as possible, that no man will be transferred against his will outside his own group, and that regiments with a good recruiting record will be given the advantage of higher and not lower Regular establishments. The regimental spirit is a very precious and very valuable thing. I think it is the greatest possession of our Army. It will stand up to a good deal of rough usage from the enemy in the field, and sometimes from the authorities in peace; but, as a French general remarked in the first world war, "Il ne faut pas brutaliser la machine." It must be treated wth some respect. I make a strong plea for more consideration of the regimental spirit and of the human factor.

4.45 p.m.


My Lords, in the period that has elapsed since we, in your Lordships' House, last debated the Territorial Army, it is depressing, but nevertheless true, to say that so far as the Territorial Army is concerned there has been no improvement whatsoever. In fact, I think it almost true to say that it has taken a turn for the worse—if worse it could be. There is a suggestion now that of the very small number which we have, one or two are beginning to go off, and the men are making excuses to leave. Before I deal with the Territorial Army I should like to say a few words about the Regulars, because under the National Service scheme they will have a great deal to do with supplying the future Territorial Army conscripts. We can now look at both the Territorial and the Regular Forces from the same point of view. They now have, or they will have in 1950, both volunteers and conscripts; and it is the volunteers on whose shoulders rests the great responsibility for the success or failure of the Army as a whole. I do not want this afternoon to go again into the question of conscription. I have stated before to your Lordships what I feel about that, and while I am allowed a voice in your Lordships' House I shall most probably do so again.

To fulfil all our commitments, both here and abroad, we must have a minimum number in the Army. We know perfectly well that we cannot compete with other great Powers in numbers, and therefore it is essential that the Army that we have is highly trained and technically expert. That is our task in the Army. Therefore it is necessary, in the short time that the conscript is in the. Army, to make sure he is capable of taking his place as a useful member of an active regiment should war break out. We have to ensure that, or we fail; and at the moment it looks very much as though we are beginning to fail. We now have conscripts in for a period of from eighteen months to two years; and wherever I have been and seen these people at work I have found the standard of training deplorably low. These boys start with a ten weeks' period, ten weeks of really good work—their original basic training. At the end of that ton weeks they come out physically very much better, and mentally much more active, than when they went into the Army. And then practically all the good that has been done is undone. The boys are sent to heir units, where usually they stay for the remainder of their time. The good is undone, first because there is inadequate instruction and, secondly, because there is a general atmosphere in these units of a lack of interest. This lack of interest seems gradually to produce in the mind of the conscript a feeling that there is no motive for doing anything except the bare minimum.

May I quote what was said only yesterday in a meeting of the British Council of Churches, when one of the speakers said (I quote from the Daily Graphic of to-day) that the conscript's time was not being used properly. The report goes on: Two fathers had told him that their boys were lying on their beds reading magazines most of the time. No attempt was made to organise any kind of community activity. In six months they had not seen a chaplain. I have been accused before now of quoting exceptions. This time I would like to ask the noble Earl who is to reply whether the Government are really satisfied with the training of these conscripts at the present time. Is the training what it should be? We must remember another thing: that if we do not have the right training, and if there is this lack of interest, which I suggest there is, then it is obvious that the soldier is not merely inefficient but comes out of the Army thoroughly dissatisfied, and is a very bad propagandist for the Army as a whole when he comes back into civil life.

In peace time the soldier is just as entitled to his five-day week as is the civilian. And he has his five-day week. But in the five days on which he works the soldier works nothing like so hard as the man who works in civil life. He starts about nine o'clock in the morning and finishes somewhere between four o'clock and four-thirty. He is given a half-hour break in the morning; he has a break for lunch of one hour or one and a half hours; and in those five days, also, he has a half holiday. The maximum amount of work that he does in a week is twenty-nine hours—and I think that that is actually far more than he really puts in; often, it is even much less than twenty-nine hours a week. If there could be a full five days' work, and if that man could be sent to bed mentally and physically tired out, then I think he would be, first of all, very much happier and, secondly, his time would not be wasted during his year or one and a half years in the Regular Army.

May I suggest one thing that we could do to see that he is helped? Before the Second World War, we had educational certificates. They were then part of the general training, part of the trade proficiency tests which had to be passed. Those tests had to be passed in order to obtain trade pay. Why cannot that system be introduced again? Why cannot those tests be given, within three or four months of a man joining, and if there is an emergency again why cannot we let men come into the Army with that extra pay straight away? It should be the ambition of the Regular Army that at the end of the year's training most of these conscripts will desire to stay in the Army, and not be only too thankful to get out of it. May I say just a word about the Regular volunteers? There are amongst them far too few instructors and far too few technicians. The reason is always the same—insufficient pay and insufficient allowances. You must pay the man in the Army an equal rate with the man in civil life, and that means equal pay for the same type of work, for the technical civilian gets a great deal more pay than the technician in the Army. I think this has been mentioned before this afternoon, but cannot we once more have guaranteed employment available to those men when they leave the Army? Surely, with so many nationalised services, we can arrange some kind of guarantee that when men come out of the Army they will be eligible for good jobs.

So far as the Territorial Army is concerned, as 1950 draws nearer, and as nothing in the meantime seems to be done, one becomes more and more depressed. Unless drastic action is taken, 1950 will arrive without anything like the number of volunteers that we require to form the cadres to train those conscripts. If we go on as we are going on at present, the National Service man will come into the Territorial Army unwillingly, thankful to be rid of the Regular Army and not in the spirit that has made the Territorial Army so great in the past. They need not even attend the drills. The sixty days can be served by going to camp for fifteen days a year for those four years. The Territorial volunteer is going to spend his time just looking after people for a fortnight in camp. We have heard time and time again of all the things that should be provided—better drill halls, better amenities and more equipment. I am afraid that I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, although I am sure that he knows much more about these things than I do. I do not think that we are getting any equipment. All the anti-aircraft regiments of which I know (I have one of my own) have not their equipment. It is promised, but it never comes. When it does come it is not in action; it cannot be put into action because there are not the technicians to come and put it into action.

May I give two examples of what is happening, and what I think could be done? Ever since I have taken over my regiment, I have wanted paint. I have wanted paint for my equipment, although it is not working. I have wanted paint for my transport. I have wanted paint for my drill hall. And all the time I am told that paint is in very short supply. Within two months of the railways being nationalised, one may see engines shining with new paint, and "British Railways" painted across them. The Government are proud of their British Railways, but why will not they let us be proud of our regiments? Why will they not give us some encouragement? Take transport. Officials in nationalised industries go about in fine new cars. Some of them go in them to their large country mansions from their offices. What do we do? The Territorial C.O. goes about in a grocer's van; the Territorial brigadier goes about in a broken-down car; and sometimes we have no offices at all to go to. We want more encouragement so that we may be proud of being members of the present Territorial Army.

Take another small matter. Gunners are to be given blue berets. We have recently seen an example of that in the Tower of London. I agree that they look grand; they are very smart. Why cannot we have them now, and not promised in two or three years' time? When I was a second lieutenant in France in 1939–40 and we had those ridiculous "fore and aft" caps that fell off every time we manned a gun, I bought my own men blue berets. I was nearly court-martialled for doing it. However, they looked smart, and they were good. It is no use promising that we shall have them in three or four years' time. And they would not cost much money. We have been promised this great recruiting drive in the autumn, but I do not believe that that is what is needed. If we could take the money that we are to spend on the recruiting drive and spend it on the things I have mentioned, and if we could have really good help from the leaders of the Government in broadcasts and speeches all over the country, then I think that the Territorial Army could advertise itself.

I refer again to the question of bounties. A Territorial receives £8 a year as a bounty for working well throughout the whole year. Before the Chancellor of the Exchequer put a tax on totalisators at the greyhound race meetings, I believe that the average takings per night per person at those meetings were £5. I am not suggesting that the bounty should be given for this purpose, but if one person can put £5 per night on a dog then surely £8 is not much to get for a whole year's hard work. May I suggest what I think would be a fit sum? Let us start with £12 for the one-star private, and let us put it up by degrees until a man receives £1 a week (£52 a year) as a fully trained regimental instructor, be he N.C.O. or officer. There is not room for many men of that kind in the regiments, so there should not be an enormous number of them. That would be an incentive which would encourage them to go on. I know that patriotism is the first and most important incentive, but we also want something more practical to offer the men.

Finally, I would like to mention two things that I think would help more than anything else. The first is something that I mentioned last time I spoke, and I am glad to say that it was mentioned in another place a few weeks ago. It is this: Let us have four years in the Territorial Army as an alternative to National Service. If we can get these people into the Territorial Army, and say, "We let you off your year," then we shall attract the kind of soldiers who are fit to fight when the war comas along, if it ever does. I want to go one stage further than the noble Viscount, Lord Long, in regard to cadets. Why cannot we do the same with cadets? I have twenty cadets attached to my unit. They are very keen on the 3.7 anti-aircraft gun. They chose that as their special work in regard to their Certificate "A" which they took last week. They come every week to lectures, and they will come to our weekend camps and to cur fifteen-day camp. We shall get those lads thoroughly interested for two years in the Territorial Army, then off they will go to serve as conscripts, and they will come back as quite different people. If we could keep them, and tell them they need not go into the Army if they come to the Territorial Army for four years, and if we teach them, then they will provide the leaders of the Territorial Army and the officers of the future Do not kill all their great keenness and their spirit by sending them unnecessarily for a year as a conscript.

We all want a good Territorial Army; we all want a highly trained and efficient Regular Army. But if we go on as we are at the moment we shall not have either. I know there are difficulties. I appreciate the enormous difficulties that this Government have, or any other Government would have had in the same circumstances; but, at whatever cost, something must be done, and must be done quickly, or it will be too late.

5.3 p.m.


My Lords, the hour is late, and my only excuse for abandoning my usual contribution, the golden contribution of silence, and substituting a very debased silver coinage, or speech, is that, like many of your Lordships, I too have spent all my adult life in the service of the Auxiliary Forces and in the capacity of Chairman of one of the large Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Associations. I am still occupied in that work and in one or two other ways. Noble Lords have covered very thoroughly the large amount of ground which lay open for review to-night, and have gone into great detail. It would not be fitting that I should either traverse the same ground or should attempt to deal with any of those matters pertaining to the rôle of the Regular Forces in conjunction with the Auxiliary Forces, because that has not been my life. I have had the opportunity of admiring their work and I have done my best to co-operate with them, but that is as far as my experience goes with the Regular Forces, if we except those obvious periods of warfare into which we were all drawn.

It is not my wish to-night to suggest a line of attack on His Majesty's Government—far from it. I have had certain opportunities of appreciating the deep thought given by Service Departments to the problems of which we are all aware in general terms. I know that a great deal has been done fairly recently and I trust that when the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, replies, he will be able to give us some encouragement arising from the recent conversations—since, let us say, last autumn. As I said, I do not want to suggest any line of attack on His Majesty's Government, but I do want briefly to suggest a line of attack for His Majesty's Government; that is, for the implementation of their own policy as announced by the Prime Minister in another place about a year ago. There is the scheme of reconstitution of the Auxiliary Forces—and in parentheses I say "Auxiliary Forces," because we know that although this debate deals specially with the Territorial Army, by intention it can be held to cover all three Services, as one of the instruments of the Territorial Army are the County Associations which serve all three Services. I believe there is to be a debate on the Auxiliary Air Force. The sense of urgency has been stressed in regard to the Territorial Army, and we may think of it in terms of months; when we come to the Auxiliary Air Force, however, the stress may occur not in months but in minutes.

Now as to the line of attack for His Majesty's Government in the implementation of their own declared policy. I have no doubt that the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, who is speaking before the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, will pick up all the points which remain, and it is not in my province to take on this task. There are, however, one or two broad points which suggest themselves to me for the implementation of the stated policy. We know that the Defence Services are in the doldrums, as the noble Earl, Lord Wavell, remarked. What can we do to get out of those doldrums? Many of us think that we need a new start from the top. That point has already been made by more than one noble Lord this afternoon. Many of us think that striving, as recently we have, to reconstitute the Auxiliary Forces, we have been fighting with one hand behind our backs. The policy has been announced, but the spirit wherewith to carry it out has been totally lacking. There has been no drive, there has been no coherence of organised endeavour.

The continual revision of priorities—a matter which I am sure preoccupies the Cabinet—has not tended to bring into modern perspective the part to be played by the Auxiliary Forces. I would urge, therefore, that at the proper place and at the proper time, but before very long, His Majesty's Government should re-issue their policy as an article of faith, and that having regard to the present external situation the members of His Majesty's Government should lose no opportunity in re-assessing the importance of the building up of our Auxiliary Forces. We are aware of the claims of other Departments of State, we are aware of the shortages, and we realise the great difficulties of such re-assessment from time to time; but we understand that the policy of 1947 stands good. Until that policy is modified we should give our services to the Auxiliary Forces in the capacities in which we can do our best to carry it out. But in order to be effective we must have some power behind our elbows. We put forward a request for that power, not selfishly but because we believe that the declared policy of His Majesty's Government is right, and so long as we serve His Majesty's Forces we wish to implement that policy.

I referred for a moment to the County Territorial Auxiliary Forces Associations. Roughly speaking, there are about one hundred of them. Again roughly speaking, I would guess that there is a general average of about fifty members per Association; that is to say, 5,000 men in all, drawn on a basis which has been reconstituted recently on the advice of the Services. And it is a very wide basis representing the activities of all those parts of the nation which are judged to be conducive to the efficient service of the Auxiliary Forces. They are men of experience, and men who are accustomed to take quite large decisions in their own private lives. They are men of enthusiasm, of local standing, of local knowledge and prestige. These Associations are still as they have been ever since the late Lord Haldane codified them under the Territorial Reserve Forces Act, 1907, the chosen instrument for carrying out all administrative aspects of policy with regard to the Auxiliary Forces.

But these Associations do not get much encouragement. Their powers are very limited. We accept the over-all control of the Treasury and the temporary control of other Departments in times of shortage. But I do say, with a certain experience behind me, that the good will of these public spirited men is somewhat damped, their ardour is somewhat curbed, by the continued and, as I think, largely avoidable pin-pricks and restrictions which now hamper them. I would therefore urge that, as a matter of broad policy, greater over-all authority and responsibility be given to these County Associations. If they are not as efficient as they should be, powers exist to make them so, and I trust that they will be reorganised and so modified as to be in every way efficient. It would not be logical, nor would I wish to seek, that large powers should be given to any bodies in charge of public funds unless an essential rider were added that they should be required to put themselves in most efficient shape.

I have noticed this afternoon that there has been some disposition to deal with the many points which arise with a recruited Army. Many noble Lords have stressed the difficulties of recruiting and the fact that recruiting at the moment is bad—very bad, I would say. But may I take first things first? May we consider the hatching of our chicks before we count them? And why have not more chicks been hatched? We know of the war-weariness which has existed and still exists in this country. We know that when passing through the doldrums an appeal for military activity is always very difficult to put across. We also know that there are a good many practical points which could be tackled. We realise that rousing and sincere speeches from men at the head of the Government, and from others throughout the Government, would help greatly, particularly with the great trade unions, to bring home a sense of reality in this matter. Can we afford to do without our Auxiliary Forces? Of course we cannot. I am not convinced, however, that that is fully understood. Now what other factors could be envisaged to help to put this appeal over? I regard the problem at this stage—I repeat, at this stage—as essentially a civilian problem, because until the civilians have given the lead and have induced the young men and maidens to come forward and give their services there is no material on which our admirable Regular Forces can work.

I do not think that just now these young men and maidens turn a very ready ear to exhortations from military sources. The time is not a good one for that. I believe, however, that they will always listen to those who work with them. With what are these young men and maidens chiefly preoccupied? With their daily life, the success of their own enterprises, their Friday pay packets. Those are the things that go to make up their background. But give them the facts, put them before them logically. Let us have no false quantities in our exhortations. Present the case logically and add to the case—as I always believe in doing—a nice taste of idealism. We hear a good deal about the money element in regard to this matter, and a very important element it is. Let us always be fair in regard to money matters, pay and allowances and so forth. But let us not lose sight of the other side—a side which we have not heard stressed very much in this debate. I refer, of course, to idealism. Idealism is something to which all respond. Young people, I am sure, respond now just as well as ever they did. I have lived my life in factory and in office, and I have also met many countrymen, but I have never found that an appeal to some extent on the ground of idealism fails.

May we, therefore, invite the Government to take steps to create the spirit which is now lacking? I believe that they can do it. I am sure that they will have the wholehearted support of the employers, difficult though their position is now because they have to balance the needs of production and distribution with the needs of the Auxiliary Forces, and they have had no lead from the Government over the question of holidays with pay. I am sure that if the Government do this they will get a response from the ordinary men and women of this country. I am confident that a national appeal can be organised with the good will of the great unions. I would further suggest to His Majesty's Government that a clearer definition of the categories of men and women likely to be available for retention in the Auxiliary Forces should be attempted. I know the difficulties. I know what has been said hitherto. It is decidedly vague, and any further definition would be very helpful. I would suggest that at the proper time some more substantial mention be made of co-ordination between the military and civil defence services, production and essential civilian occupations. Pronouncements under those headings are woolly. They are not inspiring. I hope that the Government will in due course be able to deal with that point. As to accommodation, your Lordships have heard varying opinions expressed. To deal with the matter over-all, having being able to collate opinions from all over the United Kingdom, I have no doubt that the lack of accommodation for the greatly expanded Territorial Army, with its greater complexity and greater needs, is a factor which now throws into jeopardy the whole of this attempt to reorganise our Auxiliary Forces.

Finally, let us get rid of the serious anomalies, and they are many, on such questions as holidays with pay, obligations of National Service men to do Reserve training, volunteering and repercussions on possible employment. Let us sweep away all these anomalies. If the Government will now implement their own policy with a staunch statement covering these issues, if they will vest sufficient authority in those civilian bodies charged with the administration of the Territorial Army in all matters except command and training—I refer to the County Associations—we will succeed yet. But it is the eleventh hour.

5.23 p.m.


My Lords, many of your Lordships who have spoken have drawn attention to the low level at which the strength of the Territorial Army stands to-day. It is on that matter that I wish to address a few words to your Lordships this afternoon. The Defence White Paper, published in February of this year, referred to it as being disappointing. It certainly is disappointing, and I would say that it is so disappointing as to be very serious. We have recently had a number of official statements—three, to be exact—as to our strength to-day. I am not going to dwell on the reasons why these three statements are different. Let us take the number as substantially 40,000. In a reply in another place on March 2, as regards the strength in relation to establishment, the answer was given that the provisional establishment was 581,510, which means that the percentage of strength to establishment to-day is approximately 7 to 8 per cent. Like my noble friend Lord Mancroft, I have not seen any recent announcement as to what percentage is to be allowed in 1950, when the National Service men come in, but looking back as far as December 5, 1946, I see that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham in your Lordships' House, made the specific statement that it was hoped then that the volunteer strength would be approximately 25 to 30 per cent.; and in the case of anti-aircraft units he went so far as to say 50 per cent.

Since December, 1946, we have had a great deal of experience, and I am quite sure that no one would anticipate that we could possibly get anywhere near that figure. But we should have some figure in our minds in order to measure the problem we are facing. Time after time, quite unofficially, I have heard the figure of 20 per cent. mentioned, but in order to make the problem as easy as possible I am going to suggest a figure of 15 per cent. I personally do not think it can be less than that, because we have to remember that the composition of these cadres is voluntary, and we obviously can never rely on volunteers always to come for instruction on the particular evenings or week-ends we desire. Therefore 15 per cent. is an absolute minimum. On the other hand, I think it is possibly enough, bearing in mind that it will take five to six years to bring units up to full strength when National Service men start to come in. Let us take 15 per cent. and the last nine months of 1949 as the absolute minimum period which those cadres will require to train themselves into proper teams to be ready to accept the National Service men. There we have before us the extent of our problem. It is to double our existing strength in the next twelve months. If anyone thinks that going along as we are there is the slightest chance of approaching that target, I suggest, with all respect, that he is entirely wrong.

It seems to me that those who think we can reach that target fail to appreciate the reasons why the average man and officer joins the Territorial Army to-day. In the case of a man seeking a career in the Army, surely what he asks himself is whether it is congenial to him and, if it is congenial to him, what are the pay and pension rights and other conditions. Whether or not he goes into the Regular Forces depends on the answers to those questions. But in the case of a man going into the Territorial Army, the position is entirety different. Before he goes in, questions of money and conditions of service are of small account. They become of account once he has gone in, however, because, without first-class equipment and satisfactory pay and allowances, he will not he a satisfied member of his unit, and the efficiency of the unit will obviously go down. But those are not the factors which influence him before he goes in. I think that is borne out by the experience we had before the war. Though before the war we may not have thought we had a high level of recruiting, I think, looking back, that it was not too bad, and conditions of service, we must all admit, were deplorable.

I would divide the members of the Territorial Army before the war into two main classes. There was the small nucleus of enthusiasts who had seen service in the 1914–18 war, who had no illusions as to what war meant, but yet were sufficiently enthusiastic to wish to continue their service; they joined the Territorial Army at the end of the war. Then we had all he remainder, who joined for a variety of reasons. But overriding all those reasons there was another powerful factor. These men mostly joined as young men. They had had no previous war experience, and they thought that by joining the Territorial Army they would get a measure of excitement and adventure which their civil occupations were quite unable to provide. To-day we rind exactly the same influences, but the circumstances are entirely different. To-day, nearly all potential volunteers have lad war experience. They probably have had all the excitement they want; they have no illusions as to what war means, and it is only the real enthusiasts who are coming forward as volunteers to join. They would come in whatever the conditions were. I think it is probably safe to say, following on that, that all those ex-Service men who will come in are already in.

I am inclined to think that if it had been possible (I do not think it would) for there to be a. Territorial Army in existence during the latter part of 1945, and the early part of 1946, when the release rate was at its peak, we might then have attracted a few extra men. It may be that a big recruiting campaign, such as we are told is to be undertaken in the Autumn, may bring in some of these men. I am quite certain that we shall get a number—again the real enthusiasts—from the men who are released during the next twelve months. We are told that there are 189,000 of them. But I maintain that, going along as we are now, short of a crisis equivalent to the 1938–1939 crisis, we shall never succeed in doubling our existing strength. Those are the implications. What are we going to do about it? The Secretary of State for War, speaking in another place on March 2, referred to the Army as a British National Army of three constituents: there was the Regular content, the National Service element, and the voluntary element. If we concede that concept, I think we must admit that, as in other walks of life, the strength of the whole will be limited by the strength of the weakest link. In these circumstances, we must admit that should war break out in the course of the next few years the weakest link would be the size—not the quality—of the volunteer element of the Territorial Army which is to provide the senior officers and the senior N.C.Os.

In passing, I would say that the position is not improved by the fact that in a crisis we should, presumably, lose men who are at present on our strength and who are in reserved occupations. If the position to-day were such as it was in, shall I say, 1920 or 1921, when the time factor was favourable, I believe we might have had a fairly easy solution to this problem. I would then have suggested that, leaving the National Service obligation as it is at twelve months, and retaining the right to make it obligatory on men subsequently to join the Reserve, they should be allowed to volunteer for the Territorial Army, perhaps with some inducement. Obviously we should not have got in so many men in the first year or so of the scheme; probably we should not have drawn in any more than the cadres could satisfactorily handle. But I believe that in the long run we should not have been so much longer in coming up to full strength as it is now planned that we shall be. And, of course, that scheme would have other advantages, in that it would overcome many of the problems—of which I know your Lordships are fully aware—of fitting all these National Service men into the appropriate units. But that scheme presupposes that the time factor is favourable, and no one can reasonably accept the fact that it is. We have to find some other solution if the twelve months' full-time service of these National Service men, which is very costly, in both money and man-power, is not to be wasted. We cannot afford to waste anything these days.

It might be suggested that one could strengthen the cadres shortly before the end of next year with a larger element of the Regular Forces. But judging from the position of the Regular Forces to-day, I hardly think that would be practicable. It might be that during the next twelve months or so one could slow down the release from full-time service of the 1946–47 classes, so as to compensate for any additional demand on the Regular Forces such as I mentioned a moment ago. There, again, I suggest that it is probably impracticable, bearing in mind that it would put an additional strain on the manpower situation in the country generally. I believe, however, that there is another possible solution, and this is the one which I want to address to His Majesty's Government. Taking the case of men of the 1946–47 classes who are to be released during the next twelve months, would it be possible to offer to selected individuals from those classes some tangible inducement to join the Territorial Army at the end of their release leave? The sort of tangible inducement I have in mind is, perhaps, some measure of accelerated release, leaving their gratuity the same as it would have been if they had not been released earlier. We are told that in the next twelve months there are 189,000 men coming out. I should have thought it would be possible to get a reasonable proportion of those—specially selected men—who would be prepared to join the Territorial Army, given as a quid pro quo some tangible inducement such as I have mentioned.

It is quite clear that something has to be done. Many noble Lords speaking to-day have drawn attention to the onerous rôles that the Territorial Army have been given. There is the A.A., coast defence, the provision of units to bring the Regular Force up to a balanced Force, the provision of a Territorial Field Force of their own, and so on. Unless we get these cadres up to reasonable size, in order to accept the National Service men, if a crisis occurred during the next few years those rôles would not be filled. That would be serious enough, but I foresee something much more serious than that. I foresee, in a last-minute attempt to make good some of the gaps in those rôles that I have just mentioned—one might call it a panic measure—the taking of men from the Regular Field Force, already much too small, thereby weakening it so much as to make it a quite ineffective instrument of war. That, to my mind, is a natural consequence of the position, and it is a very serious one. I have put forward this suggestion. I realise that it has many practical problems if it is to be put into effect, but I believe that, given time, those problems are not insoluble. Therefore, I ask that if anything is to be done, it shall be done at the earliest possible moment.

5.40 p.m.


My Lords, in rising to address your Lordships I do not propose to say very much on a matter which has been fully explored by all those who have spoken before me. Perhaps I should also say that, unlike most of the noble Lords who have spoken previously in this debate, I have no immediate connection with the Territorial Army now. It is true, however—and it is only on this account that I venture to make a few remarks to your Lordships—that ever since the Territorial Army was started I had the privilege of belonging to it for many years up to the end of the First Great War, and a great deal longer than that as a member of the Essex Territorial Association. Consequently, I have not been out of touch with what is going on, nor am I without experience of what happened in the position that had to be dealt with at the close of the First Great War. I should have liked to enlarge upon that matter, but I will certainly not do so after what has been said, nor will I deal with many of the points which have been made by previous speakers—for instance, with the value of the cadet movement, the introduction of the bonus, and various other ways in which much could be done to remedy the deficiency in the recruiting of the Territorial Army.

But there is one point that has been brought home to me particularly forcefully, and it is the only one with which I propose to deal. It concerns the unfortunate delays in providing the necessary drill halls and buildings that are most urgently required at the present time if any of the suggestions for increasing the recruiting are brought into effect and larger numbers are provided for the ranks of the Territorial Army. I think that that delay is the common experience of Territorial Army Associations all over the country. Perhaps the shortest way in which I can put that to your Lordships—and I hope to the advantage of your Lordships' discussion—is by quoting the terms of a resolution passed by the West Riding Association and sent to the Secretary of State. That resolution says: That this Association feels it to be its duty to warn the Secretary of State for War that, unless effective steps are taken to enable it to obtain sites and erect accommodation with less procedural delays than at present, headquarters will not be provided for all units of the Territorial Army in this county in sufficient time for the training cadres to have the period of nine months' preparation as a team, which is deemed necessary by the General Staff, before the arrival of the first National Service men in January, 1950. I think that is one of the elements which has created an atmosphere of discouragement on the part of both the Territorial Associations themselves—who, as the noble Earl, Lord Limerick said, have been doing all they can to implement the policy of His Majesty's Government in every part of the country—and also (because of the want of these facilities and buildings) the men themselves and the recruits generally all over the country.

There are one or two matters in this respect which I hope His Majesty's Government will take into serious consideration. For instance, as has been represented already, the Associations have no delegated authority to purchase land or property either by negotiation or compulsion; whereas it is believed that the regional agents of other Government Departments have such powers and have, therefore, a considerable advantage in acquiring land or property. That point has already been alluded to by a previous speaker, and it is one which I think requires greater attention on the part of those who wish to fill up the ranks of the Territorial Army and all that that implies. Also, in view of the time taken to obtain decisions from the War Office, and having regard to current building costs, the delegated powers of the Associations in the matter of construction of temporary accommodation are entirely inadequate. The Ministry of Works, by its control of starting dates, further delays the construction of accommodation already approved by the War Office.

I hold in my hand a list of actual cases showing the almost incredible delays which have occurred, in particular in the County of Essex. I will not weary the House by going through all of them, but I should like to mention one or two. There is one site at Woodford. This land site was purchased for the Territorial Army prior to 1939, but has never been built on. A hutting scheme to house a local Royal Engineers Territorial Army Squadron was submitted to the War Office in June, 1947. No approval has yet been received. This letter is dated April 9 of this year. The reply is awaited from the War Office through Eastern Command. Again, there is another case in the county town of Chelmsford, where there was a site purchased prior to 1939 but not built on. A hutting scheme to house local Chelmsford Territorial units was submitted to the War Office on August 12, 1947, and approval is still awaited from the War Office through Eastern Command. I will not go further into the cases that are before me, but what emerges from them is this. I cannot help feeling that a good deal could undoubtedly be done if the War Office removed a certain amount of red tape from around their system, and in that way gave more encouragement to the Associations to deal with these questions in a more rapid manner. I will not develop another point which has already been mentioned, with regard to the way in which other Departments of State are apparently in a better position to secure what is required for their purpose than are the Territorial Associations, because it might be invidious to do so.

There is, however, another point of detail which I should like to mention before I sit down, and that is that the amount of money which is now allowed to be used immediately at the discretion of Commands and of the Associations is very small. In the case of Commands it is something like £5,000, and in the case of Territorial Associations £1,000. I think your Lordships will agree that, in these days, to have those limitations for urgent and necessary repairs is really ridiculous. I would therefore appeal to the noble Earl who is to reply to give us some reassurance that that matter, among others, will be carefully and thoroughly considered.

I do not propose to delay the House with further remarks from myself, but I should like in conclusion, as an old member of a County Territorial Association, to urge upon His Majesty's Government what the noble Earl, Lord Limerick, said—that they should go all out to encourage the County Territorial Associations to do the job for which I believe they are thoroughly well fitted. As I am not any longer a member myself, I can speak with an open heart, but I know the sort of elements that go to make up the committees responsible for the County Territorial Associations, both up and down the country and in London. If only those gentlemen felt they had more of the backing of the Government as a whole, and not merely of the War Office, they would respond even better than they do under the discouraging conditions in which they conduct their work. I can remember the beginning of the Territorial Army. I can remember the steps then taken by the members of His Majesty's Government in power at the time, and I know the difference it made when the Secretary of State for War went to various parts of these islands and took a direct and ardent part in enthusing other people over the creation of the Territorial Army.

I believe something of the same sort could be done to-day. I do not pretend that there is not a great deal for His Majesty's Government to attend to which must distract them from the subject of the Territorial Army—matters of great and grave national importance. But if the Territorial Army is really to discharge the function which it has been called upon to discharge, the two things hang together—the success of the national policy abroad and the control and development of adequate Forces at home. Therefore I trust His Majesty's Government will do far more than they have done up to the present to give the necessary encouragement and information up and down the country, so that the Territorial Army can be fitted to discharge the functions with which it has been entrusted.

5.51 p.m.


My Lords, my first task must be very respectfully to congratulate the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Wilson, on his maiden speech in your Lordships' House. I do so the more readily because I have soldiered under him for many years in the Rifle Brigade, and it was largely from his teaching and example that I learned most of the soldiering that I know. I should also like to say, on my own behalf and on behalf of my noble friends on these Benches, how sorry we all were to hear of the accident which has befallen the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham. I know that he had taken a considerable amount of trouble in preparing for this debate and we are very sorry that he is not able to be here. At the same time, we much appreciate the action of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in stepping into the breach—though whether we shall appreciate what he is going to say to us it is perhaps a little early to say.

During this afternoon's debate, our object has been to try to further the policy of His Majesty's Government in respect of the Army; and as we were told just now, that policy has been stated by the Secretary of State for War as including first an efficient Regular Army. I think that includes an efficient striking force as well as a workable National Service scheme—a matter on which the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, spoke at some length. I am sorry to say that I, cannot entirely agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Long, that we can obtain all the men we need by voluntary means. Unfortunately, the numbers required are too great; and the National Service scheme must be made, and can be made, to work. Last but not least we need a Territorial Army which, as the poet says, is "fit for the deed" it has to do. It must be a Territorial Army which will bear due relation to the requirements of operations—and that applies particularly, as the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, and the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Wilson said, to anti-aircraft units. Nothing will be more dispiriting to people in the Territorial Army, or in the Regular Army for that matter, than to feel that they are not able to fulfil their true function. And that is what is likely to happen unless measures are adopted which have not hitherto been adopted. There must be preparation for a state of readiness, a realistic state of readiness. There must be time to train. There must be space for expansion, so that there shall not be a shambles on the outbreak of war. There must be facilities to train leaders.

There are two or three main requisites for all this. The first requisite is stability of conditions of service in both Regular and Territorial Armies. At present there is no stability at all. I recollect asking in the debate in your Lordships' House on the Defence White Paper, whether the order of battle had been settled. I did not ask what the order of battle was, because I felt certain that the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, would say that considerations of security would prevent his answering. I did not receive an answer to my question; but it is quite plain to me that until the order of battle is settled, stability of conditions in the Regular Army cannot be achieved. The noble Earl, Lord Wavell, spoke with great force on the question of inter-posting, and I am sure he will agree with me that it is unlikely Regular soldiers will enlist in large numbers unless they know for certain that the corps or regiment in which they mean to enlist is to be there. I should like also to reinforce what the noble and gallant Earl said about the regimental spirit. I have seen a certain amount of this spirit from another angle; and I think the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Wilson, will rejoice with me that the Highland Brigade Group is going well. He will also rejoice, I believe, when I add that the Green Jacket Group is also going along quite nicely.

To revert to the question of stability, I must say that until the order of battle is settled, until people know that the corps for which they want to enlist will be there, and that they will not be transferred and pushed about, we cannot expect Regular recruiting to proceed as it should. Nor can we expect Regular or Territorial recruiting to proceed as it should unless we are certain that we are offering the right incentives to join. A number of these have been mentioned and I will not go over them again. There is the question of uniform. We were told about two years ago that Number I dress was to be produced. Number I dress was paraded before the Army Council and, I think, before the Government and before His Majesty. No sooner had that been clone than it appeared that the whole thing was an illusion, and that there was not the slightest intention of producing Number I dress. If we proceed on those lines we cannot expect that recruiting will go well.

Let me turn for a moment to housing. I noticed on looking at the Army Estimates that although housing for the Territorial Army permanent staff is provided in this year's Estimate, no houses are to be built for the Regulars in Regular Army stations. In the Defence White Paper of 1947 we were told that we were not to expect a better standard of housing than the nation at large was to get. That, of course, we accept; but I have a strong suspicion that the standard of the provisional housing for the Forces is not equal to that which the civilian is getting. Nearly a year ago we asked the question whether any prefabricated houses lad been allotted to the Services; we never received an answer. I am trying to be constructive and not destructive because I realise the difficulties.

Let me turn to another point. It should be realised that the Territorial Army and, in fact, the whole of the Army is no mere departmental matter for which Mr. Shinwell is responsible, not merely something which belongs to one province of the Government, but something which belongs to the country at large. The noble Earl, Lord Limerick, and the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, both stressed that point. The trade unions were mentioned. The trade unions have a great part to play in this matter, and I am certain that they are playing it in support of the Army. I am sure they are also playing their part in support of the Territorial Army. They have an important rôle in regard to the question of employment of ex-Regular soldiers—a matter which has several times been ventilated in your Lordships' House, but on which we still have not had a definite answer. Has a proper scheme been worked out by which every ex-Regular soldier, sailor or airman of good character and long service can be guaranteed employment at the end of his service?

Those are some of the needs which I think exist. There has been much time wasted, but it is no good crying over spilt milk. Equally, however, if there are troubles, it is no good shirking investigation of them as best we may. I am afraid we are all agreed that neither the Regular Army nor the Territorial Army are really in the healthy condition in which they should be. The noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, made that point strongly about the Territorial Army. There are not the men, there are not the facilities for training and there are not the administrative facilities. Therefore we must hark back for a moment to 1945, not because it was the time when the present Government came into power, but because it was the time when the Second World War ended and the transition of the Forces from war to peace had to take place. At that time a plan was ready. The order of battle might have been settled. It might have been possible to do as the noble Lord, Lord Rochdale, said—namely, to reconstitute the Territorial Army so quickly that people could go straight into it. It might have been done or it might have been too difficult, but I think it is certain that something could have been done on the lines which the noble Lord also suggested, to make it possible and attractive for the National Service man who had come straight out of the Army to go into the Territorial Army, instead of letting the present state of affairs continue, in which, so far as I know, nothing is done to adopt that more useful source of recruitment.

Definite plans could have been started in 1945 for the construction of houses and employment, and also in regard to pay, a matter about which several of my noble friends have already spoken. Pay arrangements could have been so framed as not to be stultified immediately afterwards when a rise in civil wages took place. What happened was this. The pay code was settled, the Army pay was paid on the basis of comparative civilian wages and the cost of living at that time; but no sooner was the ink dry on the paper than civilian wages rose again and the Army pay was out of gear, and out of gear it has stayed from then till now.

Several noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, have spoken about premises. I honestly believe that this question of premises for the Territorial Army is now the most vital question. As some noble Lords have said, you may have the most lovely premises and yet not have any people in them; it is certainly true, however, that you will not get anybody at all into the Territorial Army unless you have premises. This is a point which I should like to make strongly to the noble Earl opposite. I would ask him to put this point to his colleagues with all the force at his command, because I believe that it is absolutely fundamental to the question of whether or not in 1950, when the National Service men begin to come out of the Army and join the Territorial Army, we are to have any place for the Territorial Army to occupy. Otherwise we shall have the National Service men coming along in 1950, all dressed up but with no place for them to go.

I am told that there are now 252 Territorial Army units which have not yet any premises available for them. I do not want to use over strong language in your Lordships' House, but such a position makes absolute nonsense. We are getting nowhere. If nothing happens in the meantime, we shall find ourselves in 1950 in the position to which I have just referred. There will be a major shambles. Here again, I am trying not to be purely destructive, because I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Limerick, that the constructive remedy is to give the Associations their head. They know what is wanted locally, for they consist of people of experience and ability, local knowledge and connections. Although I am myself a member of the Territorial Association, I put it to your Lordships that most of the members of the Territorial Association are people sufficiently responsible and of sufficient means not to go and do foolish things merely because they think the money belongs to the War Office. It will not be possible by any central administration to remedy this problem.

I apologise to your Lordships for having said so much about premises, but I emphasise that I think it is important. From 1945 until now very little has happened. One plan after another has been discarded and still no one knows where he is. There is a quotation from Pilgrim's Progress which I might make: Simple said, ' I see no danger; there will not be a war just yet.' Sloth said, 'Yet a little more sleep.' Field-Marshal Earl Wavell put it a little differently, in that he said that all that has happened has been that they just sat and boggled. All these things key in one to another. Because the Regular conditions of service are not good right through, there are not enough Regulars to train National Service men. The difficulties that they are going to encounter in dealing with this large number of National Service men are causing a good deal of discontent and heart-burning in the Regular Army. Were the Regular Army up to establishment, they would have no difficulty in dealing with that problem, but, as they are below establishment, they will have a good deal of difficulty. I sympathise with them.

Again, because of the shortage of Regulars and because of the messing about with the National Service scheme, which never made complete sense since it was cut down to twelve months, difficulties have arisen over that scheme. We do not know whether the period of twelve months is enough or too much or too little, or whether it will answer its purpose. As I see it, that is all because political considerations have taken priority over technical considerations. Again, because of the failure to grip the administration of the Territorial Army—I will not go into all this again—and to deal with the premises, we cannot be certain that the Territorial Army will be there to play their part in 1950. And, because of all this, the Army (whether the Regular Army or the Territorial Army) are not going to be the support of the foreign policy of the Government which they ought to be and which they can be made to be. Here, I come to another point. I am not going to speak about Civil Defence, because I believe that we may be having a debate on that subject in your Lordships' House before very long. However, I notice that the Territorial Army were described the other day as being a reinforcement to Home Defence, with mobile columns. Here I must ask if the Government have made quite certain that they are not counting the Territorial Army twice over, first, as a Home Defence Force and, secondly, as an Expeditionary Force, because that might happen quite easily.

I have painted rather a gloomy picture, but I do not think it is really too bad. Nor do I think that, however gloomily I have painted the picture, the remedies are not perfectly possible, and possible fairly quickly. But they are not possible unless those who are in authority are prepared to pay for what is necessary. I know it is very odd from these Benches to advocate increased expenditure. I would not be doing that. What I am saying is that I am not at all sure that we are making the best use of our expenditure. Many of my friends have said that, too, in different places. I do not think that we are making the best use of the expenditure on the Forces, nor do I think that the present expenditure on the Forces is having anything like the proper priority that it should have as compared with other things that are not so necessary or vital to national defence. I do not think you will ever get the Regular soldier you want if you leave Army pay fixed after, shall we say, agricultural wages have risen twice by ten shillings a time. It does not make sense. I do not think you will ever get the Territorial problem right until the Government accept and implement the principle that no one must be out of pocket as a result of Territorial Army service.

It is not an easy question. We talk a great deal about patriotism—and so we should, because, of course, patriotism, the spirit of public service, is the real thing, and people will join up as volunteers in the Territorial Army if they are right-minded. But I put it to the noble Earl opposite that that is not the primary concern of His Majesty's Government. The primary concern of His Majesty's Government is to see that patriotism is not taxed. At the present time patriotism is a luxury, in the sense that when everybody is taxed more than he was before the war, when people have a harder time at home than before the war, when perhaps they have to work harder in their businesses, it is not so easy as it was to spend the time away from one's family or away from one's business to do Territorial work. Nor can one afford to pay the money which before the war people paid quite gladly out of their taxed incomes.

Let me give you an example. Supposing that before the war a Territorial officer, shivering in a Territorial building, decided to buy an electric fire (which many people did), he bought it out of his taxed income, taxation on which might have averaged out at 3s. or 4s. in the £. Now he has to buy it out of income on which taxes average about 7s. in the£ and, in addition, pay purchase tax on the article. That is only one example. Let us take petrol. I may be like the White Queen, crying before I am hurt, but are noble Lords quite certain that when the rules for standard petrol come out, and when everybody understands them (which I think will be a long time to come), the Territorial officer will not find that the petrol he claims for Territorial purposes is set off against his standard ration, so that his wife cannot take a motoring holiday, while the wife of the next-door neighbour who does not belong to the T.A. can? I may be entirely wrong, and I only hope that I may be reassured about that. Until then I am not convinced.

Meanwhile, as I say, that policy or that principle, that Territorial service must cost the volunteer nothing, must be implemented quickly. If this is a Government matter, and not a private matter for the War Office, then it will not be difficult. Before the war, when the Territorial Army had a period of high importance, when Mr. Hore-Belisha was Secretary of State for War, everybody knew that the Territorial Army must be well treated; and it was well treated. Is the present time less important than that? Is the Territorial Army less deserving than it was of what was done for it then, or is it a War Office rule to do as I believe they have done—namely, to describe the Belisha barrack schedules as luxury standards? I do not know. But I suggest that what was right then is right now, and I suggest that the sooner we get to work on those lines, the sooner the Army will come right; and the longer we leave it, the worse will be the mess from which the Government will have to disentangle themselves.

6.15 p.m.


My Lords, I must first apologise to the House because I am deputising for my noble friend Lord Pakenham, the recognised authority on this Front Bench on the Army. As the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, remarked, he is possessed of excessive youthfulness—a state of life that certainly has its disadvantages—and he snapped his Achilles tendon towards the end of last week. I am sure that my noble friend will be extremely grateful for the expressions of sympathy that have come from different quarters of the House, and I will see that they are conveyed to him. I understand he will resume some of his duties, although still on crutches, towards the end of this week. I must ask your Lordships' indulgence for myself, because I lack my noble friend's experience of the War Office and because I am stepping into the gap at rather short notice.

I am sure your Lordships would wish me, on behalf of the Government, to associate myself with what the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, and other noble Lords have said by way of welcome to the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Wilson, on his first contribution to a debate in this House. Your Lordships will remember that the noble Lord has a most distinguished record in two world wars. In the last war he was successively Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East, Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean, and our representative as head of the Joint Staff Mission in Washington. We are all most grateful to the noble Lord, speaking as he does from his remarkable background of public service, for his willingness to share in the work of this House, and I hope that this will be the first of a number of occasions on which we shall have the benefit of his assistance and advice. Of course, we agree with what the noble Lord said about the essential requirements of the Territorial Army, if it is to reach the high standard of efficiency that we desire—namely, that it must have sufficient time for training and the necessary financial backing. We also agree with the noble Lord on the vital importance of the cadet movement and all forms of pre-Service training. We are giving, and shall continue to give, all the help we can for the support and encouragement of this work. I will certainly direct the attention of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for War to what the noble Lord said on this subject.

We in this country are a peace-loving people. The noble Earl, Lord Wavell, in his welcome contribution to this debate, described us as "a peace-loving and un-militaristic country." Indeed, we ask for nothing so much as to be allowed to pursue our peaceful avocations, without being disturbed or distracted or interfered with by anyone. We want to enjoy our democratic way of life, undisturbed by war or the fear of war. But if we look round quite dispassionately at the state of the world to-day, I think few of us would be optimistic enough to maintain that the outlook is reassuring. Indeed, it must be obvious to any impartial person that the need for insuring ourselves against the risk of war is no less urgent now than it has been in any previous period in our history. Moreover, we know from all our past experience that preparedness is itself one of the most effective safeguards against aggression. We are living in dangerous times, and the Army has an indispensable part to play in our national defence.

Some critics lead people to think that Armies are an old fashioned weapon which has been superseded by Air Forces. I believe this to be a most unfortunate and misleading error. The rôle of the Army to-day is vastly more important than it has ever been in the past. Up till now it has been sufficient for the Army to carry out police and garrison duties overseas in peace time and to provide a relatively small striking force on the outbreak of war. That has been the rôle of the Army in our system of national defence in the past. In any future war, however, the Army will have to take from the outset a leading part in the defence of our island.

I wish that it were generally realised—because I do not think that everyone by any means recognises the change—that the British Army in any future war will, in the main, be the Territorial Army; that is to say, a citizen army with a volunteer nucleus to teach and lead those who have had only their period of National Service training. The military strength of this country, therefore, will consist in the main of its trained Reserves, while the Regular Army will be a considerably smaller part of our total land forces. I agree entirely with what the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, said to the effect that we shall have one Army instead of two, the Territorial Army and the Regular Army forming together a carefully integrated whole. And, of course, one of the main functions of the Regular Army in future will be to provide for the training of men in the Territorial Army. It will be seen from this that the parts played by the Regular Army and the Territorial Army, as compared with their rôles before the last war and earlier, have altered out of all recognition. Another and new feature is that the Territorial Army of to-morrow will have to be in a state of readiness for early action on the outbreak of war. At the start of another war, there will be no delay of months, or even of weeks, during which the Regulars will hold off the enemy while the Territorials are finishing their training. The Army as a whole must be prepared and ready for instant action.

This conception, as I realise, is familiar to many of your Lordships, but I make no apology for repeating and emphasising it this afternoon, because it is of the utmost importance that it should become a matter of common knowledge, widely understood, outside the walls of this House, among all these who have any part to play in making a success of the new Territorial Army—and, indeed, among the general public as a whole. It is in the light of this appreciation of the vital rôle of the Territorial Army in our system of national defence that the question of voluntary recruitment must be viewed, and I should like to give your Lordships, as it were, a progress report. During last May, the first month of recruiting for the Territorial Army, over 3,300 officers and 10,800 other ranks came forward to join. Since then, the rate of recruiting has fallen, until during January and February of this year a total of only some 460 officers and 3,300 other ranks joined. At the end of February, the total strength of the Territorial Army was approximately 42,000 male officers and other ranks and 6,250 women officers and other ranks.

Now I should like to say, taking advantage of this opportunity, how greatly the Government appreciate the spirit and example of the volunteers who have already come forward for service. But it must be admitted quite frankly, and I hope that it will be generally realised, that the present rate of recruitment is not nearly good enough. To allow the cadre to be properly trained by the time the National Service men start to arrive in the Territorial Army on January 1, 1950, it is essential that the voluntary element of the Territorial Army which is to form this cadre must be recruited up to the required strength by the beginning of April, 1949—just about a year hence. The volunteer strength which will ultimately be required when the Territorial Army reaches its full size is estimated to be approximately 150,000. Now—and this is a serious deduction to be drawn from the present flow of recruitment—at the present rate of recruitment a further 22,000 men may be expected to join the Territorial Army between now and April, 1949, making a total volunteer strength at that date of some 60,000, or less than half the total which the military experts and advisers consider ultimately necessary. I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Rochdale, said to the effect that if we continue to recruit men at this pace and in these numbers we cannot possibly reach our target. I should like, if I may, to congratulate him on the realistic grasp of the deplorable state of recruitment which was shown in his speech, and also on his intelligent anticipation of its effect, unless the drift is arrested, on the efficiency of the Army. It is vitally important to obtain the bulk of these volunteers within the next twelve months, in order that the training which they have received during the war, during their military service, may not have been forgotten before they join the Territorial Army. I believe that no one who realises the facts will have any illusions about the present situation or its seriousness. That is the first step, I think, towards finding the proper remedy.

Now let me tell your Lordships what the Government propose to do. As some of your Lordships are already aware, we propose that a full-scale recruiting campaign shall be opened in the autumn. We must make a success of this campaign. Its planning has been nearly completed by the Army Council. Unless the campaign meets with a very great measure of success the Territorial Army will not have a sufficiently large volunteer element to form the basis on which the National Service Reserve Army can be built. Volunteers will be essential, both at the beginning, when the first National Service men join the Territorial Army, and later when they will make up the bulk of it. Volunteers are needed to assist in training, to act as leaders, and to help to provide the spirit that is required for the high morale of the new Territorial Army. We hope that the recognition of this tremendous responsibility will reconcile all those who propose to offer their services, or who have done so, to serving, as they have not done in the past, with National Service recruits. Our Territorial Army must be the equal of any other citizen army anywhere else in the world. We want to make it second to none. The Government are determined that in so far as lies within their power it shall achieve this pitch of efficiency. It is all the more necessary that we should face the possibility that it can be a failure if volunteers do not come forward in sufficient numbers.

It is only natural that after six years of war, during which a large proportion of the male population and a considerable number of women served for long periods in the Armed Forces, there should be an overwhelming desire on the part of many to settle down in their homes, and to have no more to do with military service. This feeling is widespread, and one can certainly understand it. Volunteers, both men and women, are urgently needed, in order to maintain the efficiency of our national defence, and everything must be done to encourage them to come forward. I am afraid that I am not in a position this afternoon to announce the details of the autumn recruiting campaign. I have already said that the plan of campaign is nearing the stage of completion. Your Lordships may be assured, however, that we shall announce our decision on this matter at the earliest possible moment. We intend to build up the effort devoted to recruiting throughout the year until the full-scale campaign can start in force in the autumn. I can tell your Lordships that it is our intention to appoint a central committee to direct the campaign and local committees to run it in each Command. The constitution of these committees has not yet been finally settled, but it is our intention to take every opportunity to associate both employers and trade unions with the running of the campaign. The active co-operation of both partners is essential if the campaign is to be a success. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft and other noble Lords raised this point, and I hope that I have said enough to satisfy them that the Government fully appreciate its importance. I should also like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Llewellin, for the support he promised for this recruiting campaign. It ought to be a national and non-Party effort, and it will require for its success the active help of men and women of good will in all Parties in all parts of the country.

One of the most difficult and vital problems to be met in reconstituting the Territorial Army is that of accommodation. That has been reiterated again and again this afternoon. The noble Lord, Lord Middleton, has laid special emphasis on the problem of providing suitable accommodation. The Territorial Army will be greatly increased in size, as compared with the pre-war Territorial Army, and for various reasons not all the accommodation which was used before the war is now available. Moreover, whereas before the war Territorial Army units could be located where the necessary facilities could be provided, it will now be necessary to have Territorial Army units all over the country. Adequate accommodation is essential, not only for successful recruiting, but also for effective training. This is a matter to which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for War has been giving close attention. As the result of measures which he is proposing to take, he is hopeful that the situation will be materially improved, and that commands and Territorial and Auxiliary Forces associations will be enabled to purchase or lease suitable existing property and to acquire sites for the erection of temporary hutted accommodation. This is a matter of great urgency, for without satisfactory accommodation, as the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, clearly indicated, the Territorial Army will not be ready to receive the National Service men when they are due to join in 1950.


I apologise for interrupting the noble Earl, but I would like to stress the point that the matter is of great urgency. I would remind the noble Earl of what Lord Middleton said, that the matter was urgently pressed at a conference in 1947. If the matter is as urgent as all that, I should have thought the noble Earl's colleague would be able to make an announcement.


I would like to reinforce what the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, has said. I also hope he noble Earl will be able to say something with regard to the particular point that I raised as to the amount of money associations and commands are themselves allowed to spend without direct authorisation from the War Office.


Without questioning the undoubted right of noble Lords to pull me up, I think, if they had allowed me to finish what I had to say on this subject, they would have found some of their doubts removed. I was saying that there is no time to lose in this matter of seeing that suitable and necessary accommodation is available. We intend that measures for speeding up the acquisition of land and property shall be put into effect very shortly. I can say now that proposals to hasten the acquisition procedure will be published in the near future. I hope this announcement, which I think indicates that the necessary decisions have already been taken, will satisfy both noble Lords that the Government for some time past have been giving this matter anxious consideration. We intend to give these associations the powers they must have in order to discharge their function. The need for powers to enable the authorities to provide accommodation for permanent staff by building or lease or purchase is rot being forgotten. This is all the more important because a contented and enthusiastic permanent staff can make a great contribution to the success and efficiency of the Territorial Army.

As regards equipment, the position in the infantry, R.A.C. and R.A. units is generally satisfactory, except for certain anti-aircraft equipment. Units have all the equipment they require for training and are in a position to store and maintain their equipment. In some specialist units the situation is not so good. There is a shortage of some items because materials to produce them would have to come from civilian supplies. Contrary to what I think is a popular belief, large war stocks on which it is possible to draw are no longer held. A great deal of equipment used during the war was American, obtained by Lend-Lease, and much of it is no longer available. Moreover, there is a large amount of technical equipment in workshops awaiting renovation. The shortage of experienced R.E.M.E. personnel to undertake the renovation of this equipment is holding up the supply to units. Everything possible is being done to remove these difficulties, but I mention them to show that there are good reasons why it is not yet possible to meet in full the requirements of all units.

Your Lordships are fully aware of the importance of the annual camp in Territorial Army training. Our intention this year is to hold camps of eight days' duration for all units, except anti-aircraft units which, in view of their specialist nature, require camps of fifteen days' duration. It is essential that the administration of these camps, and the training carried out in them, should be of an extremely high standard, and every effort is now being made to ensure that they will be efficiently and well run. I should like to say a few words about the question of time off for attendance at camp. It is, I think, generally agreed that the Government's policy in this matter as regards their own employees is calculated to set a good example to private employers. All civil servants who volunteer for the Territorial Army will be granted extra leave to attend camp and will receive their ordinary civil pay for the whole or part of this extra leave, depending on the amount of ordinary paid annual leave to which they are entitled. The Bank of England and the Civil Aviation Corporations are making broadly similar arrangements. The Government are extremely anxious that employers generally shall encourage employees to join the Territorial Army and that no obstacle shall be put in the way of annual attendance at camp, in addition to the paid annual holiday. It is hoped that as many employers as possible will grant extra paid leave for this purpose, although we are bound to appreciate that this is not practicable in every case, and must depend, as it often does, on financial circumstances.

We are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, for initiating this debate to-day. I have already mentioned some of the points which he emphasised in the course of his speech. I should like now to reply briefly to another suggestion he made. This was to the effect that it should be possible to make use as a Reserve of the larger number of trained men released from the Army since the end of the war. This is the position. All men released since the beginning of the release scheme are released to Class Z or Class W of the Army Reserve and remain in the Reserve until the statutory end of the emergency. A proportion of these men would certainly have to be recalled if any situation were to arise of sufficient gravity to justify such a course. There might, however, be considerable practical difficulties involved in the recall of such men to the Colours. Almost all men released have by now become absorbed in industry, and many of them are in occupations which would no doubt be reserved in the event of war.

The total number of men released from the Army, therefore, although constituting a valuable reservoir of men who have been trained, is in no sense on the immediately available Reserve as a whole, and recall to the Colours would probably have to be selective if serious disruption of industry were to be avoided. On any large scale call-up re-registration through Ministry of Labour channels would probably be necessary. In the event of any early emergency, we should naturally, in any rapid expansion of our Forces, be forced to rely largely on men who served in the recent war. But on the longer term—and we are taking the longer-term view—we can rely progressively less and less on this source, although it is indeed desirable and essential that adequate numbers of these men should join the Territorial Army. Therefore, as time passes, we shall have to look more and more to the National Service men who join the Territorial Army on completion of their year's full-time service.

The noble Viscount, Lord Long—whose enthusiasm for the Territorial Army is well known to your Lordships—made a number of points of which he gave me notice. I will try to deal with some of them, although I cannot deal with more than a few without exceeding the time which I think your Lordships would consider I should occupy in the course of my speech. He suggested that the age of entry to the Territorial Army should be reduced from 18 to 17. We have gone into that question very carefully, and the conclusion at which we have arrived is that a youth of 17 should join the Cadet Force rather than the Territorial Army. I think the view of the noble Lord, Lord Wilson, bore out the importance which ought to be attached to the rôle of the Cadet Force in training young people of that age.

The noble Viscount also asked whether guidance could be given about the proportion of the ultimate strengths of units which it is considered desirable to fill, if possible, by voluntary recruitment. I am afraid that this is a matter on which it is impossible to lay down any general principles. The explanation of that is simple. The most desirable proportion is bound to vary according to the methods of the commanding officer and the location and rôle of the unit. For example, a widely dispersed unit will require a bigger cadre than a concentrated unit. A highly technical unit will require a higher percentage of instructors than a comparatively non-technical unit. It is considered that the ultimate strengths of volunteers in units should be as large as possible, and voluntary recruiting is, therefore, unrestricted. If any unit has so many volunteers that in the course of time the total strength of the unit is likely to be unacceptable from the point of taking in its quota of National Service men, such a unit will be informed by the officer in charge of records, and voluntary recruiting to that unit will be restricted or suspended, according to the circumstances. That seems to be the obvious procedure. With all the available information about recruitment, I certainly do not think that we need be too concerned about that eventuality at the moment. What we must do now is to increase the number of volunteers by every means in our power.

I should like to reply to some of the points that have been raised by other noble Lords in the course of the debate. I cannot reply to more than a few, both because without notice I am really in a great difficulty, and because so many points have been raised that I must be careful not to exceed a reasonable amount of time. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, suggested that the application of a London Territorial regiment to line the route for the Silver Wedding Procession on April 26 should be accepted. The noble Marquess went so far as to say that the refusal to accept this application was a senseless refusal, and that no reasonable argument had been used when it was turned down. The lining of this route is going to be done by units of the Regular Army. That is because it is taking place on an ordinary week-day (Monday, April 26) and we do not want to disturb industry more than we can possibly avoid. We therefore consider that, from the point of view of the broadest national interests, it is desirable that this work should be carried out by units of the Regular Army.


Does that mean that no Territorials are to be allowed to take part?


There is one exception, the H.A.C., who are to form a guard of honour. But I understand this is a traditional right and, therefore, there is a particular ground for excepting that unit from the general rule. The noble Marquess also asked me about the requisitioning of drill halls by Government Departments. I understand the position is this. Out of a total of some 1,400 drill halls in the country, only five are row occupied by other Departments, and of these it is hoped that two will be released within the next few months. I think these figures indicate that the Government are not the villain of the piece in preventing drill halls from being used for the training of the Army. Another question raised by the noble Marquess was on the subject of the Pioneer Corps. I understand that the Royal Pioneer Corps is to be allowed to run down, and from the beginning of next year no fresh men will be posted to it. Only a small cadre will be kept in being as a basis for expansion as and when the need arises. There will, therefore, be no requirement for Pioneers in the Territorial Army.

Both the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, and the noble Lord, Lord Middleton, raised what I think is an extremely important point in relation to the Territorial Army, arising from the state of completion of the order of battle by the Army as a whole. They maintain that it is impossible to take any firm decisions about the disposition or function of units of the Territorial Army while the order of battle of the Army remains unsettled. I am authorised to say that the order of battle of the Army has reached a stage at which it is possible to take decisions about the function and disposition of units of the Territorial Army. I will read the words in my brief, because on a matter of this kind one wants to be accurate. I am entitled to say that plans for the size and establishment of the post-war Army have now reached a stage at which the necessary decisions regarding the part to be played by the Territorial Army can be taken.


But not the decisions for the Regular Army yet?


No. AS I understand the information that has been made available to me, the order of battle has not yet reached finality. The noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, raised a number of points and I should like to say, I am afraid, rather firmly, that I cannot agree with him that no improvement in the recruiting and organisation of the Territorial Army has been made since the last debate upon this subject took place in this House. I hope that what I have said has shown that progress has been made, although it has certainly not been nearly so rapid as we, or any of your Lordships, would have desired.

The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, towards the end of his speech raised another point about the petrol ration which has been allowed—I imagine it is a supplementary ration—to officers in the Territorial Army in the discharge of their duties. He fears that they may be deprived of this ration when the standard ration is restored. I can assure him that I will ask my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for War to take up this point most urgently with the Ministry of Fuel and Power, and I hope that his fears may have no foundation. I appreciate, of course, the difficulties that would ensue if these officers were no longer to enjoy the ration which they have at the moment for official purposes.


May I interrupt the noble Earl one moment? I am afraid that I did not make my point quite clear when I originally spoke. I feared that the additional allowance which a Territorial officer might have for discharging his duties would be set against the standard allowance, so that, in the result, officers and their families would have less petrol for private motoring than they would have done if the men had not joined the Territorial Army. If the noble Earl would bring that to the notice of his colleagues I would be most grateful.


Of course, if the supplementary allowance were reduced by the amount of the standard ration they would cancel out. If the amount of the supplementary allowance were reduced by a lesser amount, then the man would still be in an unfavourable position in relation to the standard ration. Clearly, neither position is desirable, and I will see that the matter is taken up in the proper quarter.


I am much obliged to the noble Earl.


Whatever else I may have left unsaid in the course of my remarks, I hope that I have made this one point quite clear. The Territorial Army of the future, to which the Government attach the greatest importance, will constitute the bulk of our national Army, upon which the task of land fighting in another war will devolve. It cannot rely on any breathing space after the outbreak of war in which to make itself efficient. If it is to be in a position to reach in peace time the high standard of efficiency which is essential for it in its key position in our system of national defence, a greatly increased number of volunteers are urgently needed. The Government are most anxious that this should be fully appreciated by those upon whom the success of the forthcoming recruiting campaign will depend.

We are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, for initiating this debate. It is particularly well timed; it has come just a year after the last debate in this House upon this subject. It has enabled us to survey a progress report on what has been achieved since the last debate, and it has also enabled us to re-examine and reconsider policy in the light of our urgent national needs. We have had a large number of extremely instructive and informative contributions, and I can assure all noble Lords who have spoken that what they have said will be most carefully weighed and considered by the responsible authorities. I must apologise for not having replied to a number of questions that were addressed to me, but I can tell those noble Lords who have not received an answer that any question of which they have given me notice, and to which I have not replied, will receive a written answer at the earliest possible moment.

6.57 p.m.


My Lords, I am sure I shall be speaking on behalf of all your Lordships if I extend our warm thanks to the noble Earl for the stout-hearted way in which he tackled a difficult job. I think he acquitted himself nobly, with his usual painstaking care and skill, begotten by his career in the Intelligence Corps, coupled, if I may say so, with a most praiseworthy lack of complacency about some of the problems with which we are faced. He could not have attempted to answer the large number of questions which were tossed at him across the floor of the House this afternoon, and I do not think any noble Lord speaking for the Government could have done so. But he could not possibly have complained that he did not have notice. Indeed, he and his colleagues have been given notice for about two years now. They are well aware of the difficulties, and it is not from lack of representation in this House.

I would like, in the short time that I wish to take up, to refer to only two points. The first is the one point in the noble Earl's speech which I thought was unsatisfactory. It is only a small point, but I am not at all happy about the remarks he made about the lining of the streets. I think the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, said that it involved ten men and one officer. Of course, we appreciate that men must not be taken away from factories and from important work, but I understand that these men volunteered and were prepared to go. I know that it will take trouble to organise, but refusal to allow that is the sort of thing which infuriates the Territorial Army. I beg the noble Earl to ask his right honourable friend to reconsider the position. If there are men who can do it without interfering with more important tasks, their request should be granted.

I welcomed the noble Earl's remarks about the recruiting campaign. It will achieve even more success if certain of the grievances which have been ventilated this afternoon are put right before the campaign is initiated. We assure the noble Earl and the Government that we will do everything in our power to make it a success. A success it must be, for one cannot have two recruiting campaigns. If one is a failure, one cannot hold another. I think it has been made clear by all my noble friends who have supported me, and certainly by the noble Earl who replied, that it must succeed. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion for Papers.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.