§ 2.54 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE rose to move to resolve. That this House congratulates the Territorial Army on the Jubilee of its foundation which falls within the present year; acknowledges the magnificent record of the Territorial Army in peace and war; appreciates the importance of the contribution of the Territorial Army to national defence; declares its warm and abiding interest in the welfare of the Territorial Army; and expresses the confidence of this House in the desire and ability of all ranks of the Territorial Army always to carry out to the full the arduous duties which may be imposed upon them. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the reason I have put this Resolution on the Order Paper to-day is that I thought it was desirable that there should be a debate, culminating, I hope, in an agreed Resolution, on the Territorial Army, to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. During the past week there have been a number of functions in celebration of this anniversary, culminating with a review last Sunday by Her Majesty the Queen of representatives of the Territorial Army in Hyde Park; and I should have thought it wrong if during this week in neither House of Parliament had there been any debate or mention of this fiftieth anniversary. I am very pleased indeed that so many noble Lords have intimated their intention of speaking in this debate, which I am quite sure will be of great gratification to the Territorial Army as a whole.
§ The genesis of the Territorial Army, as your Lordships know, was this. When Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman formed his Government towards the end of 1905 he offered Mr. Haldane (as he then was) 187 the post of Attorney-General. Mr. Haldane refused it, and, much to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's surprise, asked for the War Officeߞmuch to his surprise, because the Prime Minister said that at that time "no one would touch it with a pole". Mr. Haldane, being of Scottish race and having a considerable knowledge of German philosophy, went into first principles and consulted Clausewitz, Bronsart von Schellendorff, Von Der Goltz. Yorck von Wartenburg, and the Frenchman, Ardant du Picq, whose works were not at that time one imagines, common reading among British Army officers. As a result of his studies, combined with a consideration of the report of the Esher Committee and the advice of military advisers, Mr. Haldane concluded that among other necessities there was required an expeditionary force of six infantry divisions and at least one cavalry division, and a second line to meet the needs of expansion in war and for home defence. This last was the genesis of the Territorial Army.
§ A large Bill was prepared, and perhaps we as Parliamentarians might be interested to know that this was the first time that there had ever been an agreed timetable for the passage of a Bill. Mr. Haldane saw Mr. Balfour and the Marquess of Lansdowne, and agreed with them a timetable; and by so doing he was able to get the Bill agreed by the Liberal Cabinet, who were not all very much inclined to it, and it became law. It only remains to be said that a few years later, as a reward for this and other outstanding services to his country, Lord Haldane was hounded out of public life as a pro-German and a potential enemy to this country.
§ My Lords, in peace and in two world wars the Territorial Army has rendered invaluable service to its King and country. It has depended, particularly so far as officers and non-commissioned officers are concerned, on years of loyal, devoted and, in the main, in peace time at all events, unpaid service. This has called for a great deal of sacrificeߞsacrifice of time, money, leisure and holidays. But the Territorial Army has depended entirely upon esprit de corps, upon enthusiasm and upon colour. It has fostered comradeship; and it has depended to a large extent, or to some extent at all events, 188 upon the social opportunities offered to its members. The link between the Territorial Army and the Regular Army has always been of first importance, I think, to both the Regulars and the Territorials; and it is perhaps significant that, prior to the present Chief of the Imperial General Staff, both the former holders of that post (one of whom we are glad to note is to speak to-day) started their military careers in the Territorial Army; and, in fact, the present Chief of the Imperial General Staff spent some years as a staff officer in the 53rd Division.
§ There was one piece of history of the Territorial Army which is rather significant at the moment, in view of some of the proposals which are made for it, and that is that in 1938, at the time of Munich, part of the Territorial Army was embodied or mobilised when the Regular Army was not. This is a piece of history that I have never seen mentioned in any of the works on that event, and I should have thought it was a matter which might have received at least a footnote to history. At the end of the war the Territorial Army changed in its personnel; it had then a hard core of Regulars and volunteers, and over the years National Servicemen were drafted into it; and of course their outlook was bound to be very different from that of traditional volunteers. But the identity of the units was preserved, as well as a good deal of the spirit. Now, with the ending of National Service, at all events in the near future, the old status is being revived and the Territorial Army is again becoming a purely voluntary force, assisted by a certain number of officers, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers seconded from the Regular Army.
§ We are told that the rôole of the Territorial Army is to provide a reserve of trained manpower, and its tasks include home defence in total war (this is what the White Paper on Defence, paragraph 58, describes them to be); secondly, to bring Regular units up to strength (that is what the Memorandum on the Army Estimates, paragraph 48, describes them to be); thirdly, to provide support of the Regular Army overseas in limited wars, including two divisions earmarked for N.A.T.O.; and, fourthly, to undertake important Civil Defence commitments. As your Lordships will see, these tasks are 189 to some extent incompatible, as The Times pointed out this week in a leading article. It is difficult to organise the Territorial Army for a Civil Defence rôole if at the same time it has to be organised as a fighting formation ready to go overseas to support the Regular Army.
I was perturbed about the second task, that of bringing Regular units up to strength, because it may well have an adverse effect on the Territorial Army esprit de corps. People join certain regiments and battalions in peace time with the idea of serving together in peace time and, so far as practicable, serving together in war time, too; and to think of the Territorial Army, as the Memorandum on the Army Estimates seems to imply, being broken up to supply drafts for Regular units, would be unfortunate. To carry out these tasks, bearing in mind that we shall soon have only fifty battalions of Regular infantry and twenty regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps, and that there are now only four Regular brigades in the United Kingdom central strategic reserve, the Territorial Army has an authorised strength of ten infantry divisions, the Northern. Ireland Brigade Group, the 44th Parachute Brigade Group and two Armoured Groups. Its establishment is 300,000 men, which, I understand, it is hoped may be reached in two bounds-50 per cent. by 1962 and 100 per cent. by 1963.
§ Within the framework of the picture that I have tried to paint of the present position of the Territorial Army, I should like to ask the Minister who is to reply several questions, of which I have given him notice. Would he give the House the latest figures for recruiting and say what is the trend? Are the Government aware that the quality of the Territorial Army must never be sacrificed to quantity? Would the noble Lord inform the House of the significance of the announcement made in the OFFICIAL REPORT of another place yesterday with regard to the commissioning of Territorial Army Officers after the ending of National Service? It seems curious that just before a debate in this House an obviously inspired Written Question and Answer should be given in another place on an important topic such as this.
§ What are the plans of the Government in the field of annual training? Do the Government realise that, while annual 190 training must be interesting from a military point of view, in many cases it will be the only holiday that officers and men may have, and that, from time to time at all events, it is desirable that units do their training near holiday resorts? I believe that there need be no lapse in military efficiency. Just before the war, in 1938, in my own infantry brigade, when we were in camp outside a holiday resort, I asked the Chief Staff Officer how far our brigade, the South Wales Infantry Brigade, was behind a Regular brigade, and he said six weeks. So it is possible to camp near an attractive resort and to be militarily efficient as well.
§ I should also like to ask the Government whether they realise the importance of colour. I imagine they do not, after the review on Sunday. All who saw the review were impressed by the military bearing of those who took part. I am sorry that the torrential rain marred it to some extent, from the point of view of spectacle, though it certainly did not affect the enthusiasm of those who took part. Is it true that the uniforms of the men and women who were on parade, were, like Cinderella's clothes at twelve o'clock, "whipped off" them immediately afterwards and taken back into store for the Regular Army? I imagine that the fairy godmothers will have a job in cleaning up some of the uniforms after the soaking they received. But really it is rather ridiculous. The "Number ones," the band, colours and all the colour of the Territorial Army are vital. The country is getting the Territorial Army cheap enough, and it need not be mean as well as careful.
§ Will suitable jobs be available to Territorial Army senior officers? At the beginning of the scheme it was contemplated that Territorial Army officers should be eligible for senior posts, such as divisional and brigade commanders. It has not turned out like that. I realise full well that perhaps in most cases officers suitable from the military point of view may not be able to accept senior posts because of their civilian commitments; but where they are able to do so it would be as well to carry out the original intention of those who formed the Territorial Army. The famous case in point is that of Sir John Brown, who was recommended by his predecessor to be divisional commander at the end of 191 the '20s and was turned down on the ground that the post had to go to a Regular officer. Sir John Brown did not become a divisional commander, and in fact did not become a major-general for ten years, when he became a Staff Officer in the War Office.
§ Then we should like to know something about the Women's Service. We were all impressed with their turn-out on Sunday. Are arms, equipment, drill-halls and vehicles of the Territorial Army being brought up to modern standards? This is a pertinent question because we know that even Regular Army units of the Army of the Rhine have not modern equipment. Of course, there is a migration of population nowadays, with new towns going up, and it may be that new drill-halls should be built in them. I should also like to know whether it is the case that the armoured regiments have only worn-out Comet tanks.
On Saturday night last the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Templer, said:
The Territorial Army is the best and cheapest insurance policy that any country ever had.
I think that the Government and the country must be prepared to pay an adequate premium for that insurance policy. Are annual retainers going to be adequate in view of the cost of living and present-day expenses? According to the Daily Telegraph yesterday and to-day, the grant for out-of-camp training is to be reduced. Yesterday the Daily Telegraph said it was to be reduced by 25 per cent., but to-day the position seems to have altered a little and it is obscure. I think your Lordships would like to know from the noble Lord what the situation is. My own experience is that week-end training, particularly for artillery, is essential, and if this decision is confirmed it means that there is going to be a great cut in week-end training, which will give cause for disquiet. In any case it is an odd epilogue to all the tributes deservedly paid this last week to the Territorial Army by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for War, and other members of the Government, that this cut in training grant should be made at this particular moment ߞor at any moment.
§ These are all the questions I have. There is a large number of speakers and 192 I do not propose to detain your Lordships any longer. I would say that any criticisms I have made are not criticisms of the Territorial Army or its members, but of the Government, who are responsible for them, and of the War Office, which is the agent of the Government. My views on the Territorial Army are adequately expressed in my Resolution, the terms of which have been carefully drawn. They represent not only my feelings and those of my noble friends on this side of the House, but also, I am sure, the feelings of noble Lords in all parts of the House. I beg to move the Resolution standing in my name on the Order Paper.
§ Moved to resolve, That this House congratulates the Territorial Army on the Jubilee of its foundation which falls within the present year; acknowledges the magnificent record of the Territorial Army in peace and war; appreciates the importance of the contribution of the Territorial Army to national defence; declares its warm and abiding interest in the welfare of the Territorial Army; and expresses the confidence of this House in in the desire and ability of all ranks of the Territorial Army always to carry out to the full the arduous duties which may be imposed upon them.ߞ(Lord Ogmore.)
§ 3.10 p.m.
My Lords, I do not propose to follow the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, in the line he has taken in this debate, because I, and I imagine many of your Lordships, interpreted the Motion as being one of rather formal but nevertheless very sincere congratulation to and admiration of the Territorial Army. Therefore I am not proposing to go into technical questions as if this were a White Paper debate on the Territorial Forces, though I am sure we shall all be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, if he answers the questions put to him by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and particularly whether he can confirm the rumour, which I had not heard before, that Cinderella's clothes were stripped off and given to the Regular Army.
In the general arrangement of your Lordships' House, it is surprising how, when names come out of the hat, there seems to be a speaker from each of the three political Parties in the first three places. This, it seems to me, is not in any sense a political debate, yet the same 193 thing has happened; and I must confess that I sometimes find it a little frustrating always to bat second wicket down, when my most telling points have been put to the House much more efficiently and cleverly by batsman No. 1 from the Benches opposite and batsman No. 2 from the Benches on my left. But no political issue arises here. There is nothing political about the Territorial Army, because it exists far above any national or even world politics as a fine example of what can be achieved by companionship, patriotism, self-sacrifice and working together. It does not matter whether the Party in power is the Liberal Party, as in 1914, or the Conservative Party, as in 1939, or possibly the Labour Party at some future date when, Heaven forbid! some further threat comes to our shores ߞand when I say, "Heaven forbid!" I refer to the threat of war and not to the advent of a Labour Government.
Since I am on the matter of politics, and as they are divorced from the Territorial Army, I must say that the Party I have the honour to represent here is admittedly the Party which has advocated a reduction of arms and armaments and destructive weapons to a near-minimum rather than to an over-maximum. We were, indeed, unpopular with those people known as "Jingoes" in the Boer war for our criticism of some of the Government policies; but we had no criticism of the gallant Volunteers (as they were then) who went out to fight for our country. Later we were called "Little Englanders" and "Little Navymen". Looking back to the size of the "little Navy" which the Liberal Party advocated fifty years ago, and comparing it with the size of the Navy which was debated a few minutes ago in your Lordships' House, it was not perhaps so little as it may have seemed at the time.
I am not going to keep your Lordships longer. I merely want to pay tribute from these Benches to the magnificent and. heroic record of the Territorial Force and Territorial Army, both men and women, for what they have done in the past and for their reliability in the future, which means so much and is impossible to overrate. Nuclear developments have changed the general military pattern, but this spirit of the Territorial Army of willingness and comradeship, of friend working alongside friend, remains, and will always, I am sure, have 194 a valued place. It is patriotism in the best classical sense, as opposed to narrow nationalism in its bad modern connotation. With a full heart I support this Motion, couched in such warm terms as it is, and I have every confidence that it will be supported in every quarter of your Lordships' House.
§ 3.14 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD MANCROFT)
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government welcome this debate. We hope that the House will see fit to pass with enthusiasm this Resolution, which is couched in such resounding terms and which was moved in such an acceptable way by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and seconded in his usual charming and quizzical way by the noble Lord, Lord Rea. Your Lordships' House in general, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. in particular, have always shown a keen interest in the Territorial Army. I therefore agree with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that it is most fitting that a debate such as this should form part of the Jubilee celebrations of the Territorial Army which culminated in the splendid parade in Hyde Park on Sunday. A Force that can survive that last ten minutes of flaming June weather can tackle anything! I am, however, credibly informed that the sight of practically the whole of the Army Council standing drenched to the skin had a most salutary effect on the morale of the entire parade.
This debate has attracted a remarkable list of speakers. We welcome four new recruits, including, I am happy to say, one of the few Territorials ever to reach the rank of Field Marshal. It is particularly pleasing to me that the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, should, by serving in the Finsbury Rifles which he first joined, have been a member of the same division which I joined, the 1st London Division. After that, the similarity between our military careers ends abruptly. I am intervening in the debate now to deal with one or two of the more important points which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has raised. My noble friend, Lord Bathurst, will wind up at the end of the debate to deal with the many other points which no doubt your Lordships will raise. Here we shall have the advantage of being able to listen at the conclusion of the 195 debate to one, in the person of my noble friend, Lord Bathurst, who is still a serving T.A. officer; indeed, he took part in last Sunday's parade and, some of us thought, did not march too badly for a cavalry officer.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has raised the important question of the real status and importance of the Territorial Army. May I remind your Lordships of some of the observations of Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer, the C.I.G.S., on this subject recently? He said this:The Territorial Army is the Army's trained fighting reserve. A reserve is for use against the unexpected and the unexpected usually happens. That is why it would be folly to say exactly how or where the T.A. will be used in the event of war, but I can say that the T.A. is a vital part of our fighting organisation, ready for any eventuality probable or improbable.There is no need in your Lordships' House to emphasise the impossibility of foretelling the nature of any future war. Prophecies on the nature and the course of previous wars have invariably proved wrong and now to-day there are more unknown factors than ever. For this reason it is more difficult than ever to predict the nature and course of any future war. This causes me to emphasise the difficulty and the unwisdom of trying to forecast the precise role of any reserve force.
I think I can sum up the Territorial Army's role in this way. It involves two main tasks. The first is to form the nation's reserve of armed and disciplined manpower trained to fight in any emergency, foreseen or unforeseen. As the Army shrinks to an all-Regular strength of about 165,000, so the importance of this role for the Territorial Army is obviously enhanced. The second of these two roles is to keep the country going in the event of nuclear attack. This rôole is being taken equally seriously. I cannot and do not wish to be more precise. I can only reiterate the need for and the consequences of flexibility which such a reserve force as the Territorial Army must have. This does not mean more violent changes in the Territorial Army's order of battle. As we all know, the Territorial Army since the war has had a rough time with such a large number of reorganisations and conversions.
196 It is most difficult to maintain morale in a unit which is changing its nature and even its name every two or three years. I think that in my seventeen years' in the Territorial Army I served in practically everything except possibly a mobile field bakery and the A.T.S. These changes are inevitable; they are understood and I think accepted, but I think we should be grateful to the Territorial Army for its toleration. I hope that the order of battle is now tolerably firm, although there will be a few minor changes still to come. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, told us quite accurately what it was but I think he made a slip of the tongue when he talked of the two N.A.T.O. divisions. These two divisions are no longer earmarked for N.A.T.O. They were removed in the White Paper of 1957.
§ LORD OGMORE
In the White Paper it says that this question is being discussed with N.A.T.O. The conclusion is not mentioned in the White Paper, which I have here.
§ LORD MANCROFT
The noble Lord has the advantage of me, but I thought that, at about paragraph 56, the White Paper of 1957 gave the definite impression that these divisions had been stood down.
§ LORD OGMORE
§ LORD MANCROFT
Suffice it to say that they have now; that is the fact. The Territorial Army, as the noble Lord suggested in his remarks, will of course retain its divisional organisation. It will not adopt the Regular Army brigade group organisation, but it will be capable of rapid reorganisation into the brigade group system if it is necessary. Study is therefore being given in the Territorial Army to the brigade group organisation and system.
Training is all-important and I should like to say a few words on that subject. The very flexibility to which I have just referred emphasises the importance of good sound training. It emphasises the need for active, realistic and tough training; that the Government fully appreciate. A four-year cycle for training is now being planned. During a given four years it is planned that a unit will do one camp on its own, either at a weekend training centre or under arrangements 197 made by itself, or certainly, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, suggests, at a seaside camp or somewhere near a seaside camp. It will do one brigade group camp—that is, brigade group of all arms —in one of the six large camps which will be hutted and well-found. It will do one year in a brigade camp of its own arm and one year civil defence training at either Millom, in Northern Command, or Pendells, in Eastern Corn-m and. Our intention is to get out a programme in the near future which will show units when and where they are going between 1959 and 1963. I hope that we shall be able to keep that programme amended to about four years ahead.
Armoured regiments will carry out firing practice at Castle Martin. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, asked about equipment. He will be interested to know that the armoured regiments are getting Centurion tanks. The gunners will also get as much opportunity for firing as possible. No. 44 Parachute Brigade will be holding several small airborne exercises during its camp at Castle Martin in August. Three squadrons of 21 S.A.S. regiment are due to take part in a N.A.T.O. exercise in Norway in September. Ten infantry battalions and one gunner regiment will undergo civil defence training during their annual camps this year. I give your Lordships this catalogue merely to show the realism and energy with which the training programme is being pursued.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, referred to an article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph which, coming as it did from the pen of General Martin, universally regarded as a well-informed defence correspondent, caused some apprehension. I hope that that has been dispelled by his further article to-day. There is no need for the alarm originally inspired. I wish to make it perfectly clear that we are providing enough money for all the training necessary for the Territorial Army. Money is being provided this financial year for the same number of days training per head as in 1956. The allotment provides money for an average of 13 days for each officer and 16 days for each other rank throughout the Territorial Army. This average may vary from command to command. This is additional to the normal annual camp, and 198 additional to evening training. It is true that the money per head we are providing this year is somewhat less than it was in 1957. I think it is here the misunderstanding has occurred. We must ensure, however, that everyone gets the right amount of training within a reasonable limit and that there is still enough money to train the recruits we hope are going to flock in. without prejudice to the training of those who are already in the Territorial Army. I can, incidentally, assure your Lordships that the Jubilee parades and the local Jubilee celebrations will not count against the allotment for out of camp training. Training at weekends and in the evenings will continue, mainly devoted to the improvement of individual skills.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that arms, vehicles and equipment must be kept up to the standard which their rôle requires. I think, however, that it would also be prudent that we should not take into the Territorial Army arms, equipment and vehicles until they have been given full user trials with the Regular Army. No great encouragement to recruits will come from presenting the Territorial Army with out-of-date or inadequate equipment. I have emphasised, and I wish to re-emphasise, the need for bringing a sense of realism and vigour to all training. That, as much as anything, brings in the recruits, which was a point the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, emphasised in his broadcast last Sunday night. Good club life and escape from dish-washing are no longer the principal reasons for joining the Territorial Army. It is a programme of strong and vigorous training which will bring the men in; it is bringing them in.
My Lords, I have taken the liberty of setting out the current recruiting figures on a piece of paper, which I thought would be more helpful to your Lordships than reading out a catalogue of figures in the course of my speech. I will try to interpret the trend. Your Lordships will remember that the interim recruiting target for the Territorial Army set in November last is 50 per cent. of establishment within five yearsߞthat is, by the end of 1962. That, of course, corresponds with the end of National Service and the completion of the rundown of the Regular Army. You will see from the paper that the average monthly net increase over the previous 199 month needed for this over the whole period is 1,366 all ranks. If we are to maintain our Territorial Army we must increase all ranks each month by 1,366. I am happy to tell the House that we are getting comfortably more than that. The April increase was nearly 2,500, and I believe, though the figures are not yet final, that the May figures will be nearly as good. The general recruiting position of the Territorial Army is very satisfactory. I hope that the figures will improve each month.
We listened earlier to a Question from the noble Earl, Lord Howe, about juvenile delinquency and crime. I remember myself making a rather pessimistic speech in the debate on prisons some time ago, when I had to give the depressing figures of the increase in juvenile delinquency. There is another side to the coin, and this is the other side—the increase in the number of young men who are prepared to join the Territorial Army. Clearly, new ideas will have to be produced or more attention given to the old and good ideas to maintain the present momentum of Jubilee festivities and attendant publicity. The good figures I am able to announce to your Lordships must not make us smug. The improvement in male other rank volunteers is almost spectacular; it is particularly so because they are true volunteers. We are now seeing the effect of the departure of the National Service man. This is particularly encouraging because large numbers are coming into the Territorial Army from civil life, and that is going to be our main source from now on. I hope that some employers who have not yet been prepared to play their full part in allowing men to go to camp will take a lesson from some of their more public-spirited colleagues.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that on no account must quality be sacrificed to quantity. Quality varies, of course, in the Territorial Army, as elsewhere. Different types of units require different types of men. The sort of man who makes an excellent member of a Guards unit is not necessarily the sort of man who makes a good member of a port ammunition detachment. I would put in one word on behalf of the very small and rather obscure units. It is very often these little units of the supporting arms which achieve the best 200 recruiting figures and attain a high standard of morale. I hope those of your Lordships who have an interest in these matters will not forget the little units when you remember the more spectacular and publicity-minded big units. The shift of population to the new towns, of course, gives us a great opportunity which is engaging our attention. I suspect that the new towns may prove a fruitful source of recruiting. The sort of man who goes or whose parents have gone there to seek a livelihood is the sort of man wanted. Without being unduly cynical, I would say that there is perhaps a lack of a counter-attraction in some new towns which may prove of advantage. New drill halls w ill be necessary for the new towns. In some—Crawley and Corby, for instance—provision has already been made. I agree with the noble Lord that this is an aspect which we must investigate further.
The officer situation is not quite so good. Outgoings at the top have not been matched by the younger entries. The noble Lord rightly drew attention to the new arrangements which were announced by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for War on Monday and which we hope will encourage the entry of young officers. Still, the percentage of volunteer officers to the establishment is 72. That is not unsatisfactory, but we need to stop a further decrease and to bring in more young officers. The policy is for Territorial Army officers to fill appointments in the Territorial Army so far as possible. Only 60 out of the 286 lieutenant-colonel commands are held by Regulars. The rest are all held by Territorial officers. In the senior appointments from lieutenant-colonel upwards, our policy depends on there being available Territorial officers who are both militarily competent and able to devote the necessary time. Unfortunately, this is not always easy. But in the Territorial Army to-day one brigadier's appointment and just over 100 full colonel's appointments are filled by Territorial officers.
Despite the post-war convulsions through which it has gone the Territorial Army is now in a pretty healthy state. We all hope that it will settle down to an even firmer lease of life on an all-volunteer basis. Some of us remember the uneasy start in 1947, but the Territorial Army is now on a much firmer 201 footing. The country is obviously taking a renewed interest in it, and long may that interest continue! It is up to the Government to see that this interest and the Territorial Army's own renewed enthusiasm do not play themselves out. I am happy to give a pledge on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that they will do their best to see that that does not happen.
I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that tradition, esprit de corps and the enthusiasm of the Territorial Army, are powerfully appreciated, both by the War Office and by Her Majesty's Government. The buffets to which the Territorial Army has been subjected have been regrettable but unavoidable. To-day it is a rejuvenated body. The Chief of the imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Sir Gerald Temples, referred to an insurance policy. He said that the Territorial Armyis the country's insurance against the unknown and no other country in history has been able to take out such a comprehensive policy for such a low premium.I am happy, and the Government are happy, that your Lordships' House has to-day reaffirmed its confidence in this old-established and most reliable insurance company, the Territorial Army, a company in which I am proud to be a policy-holder and in which, for seventeen years, I was a happy and very satisfied employee.
§ 3.33 p.m.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I am most grateful, and I think that the whole of the House will be tnankful, that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has provided us with this opportunity to debate this Motion to-day. What is going on in building up the greatness of our country from the exercise of the voluntary spirit is a great thing. It has varied from time to time. To-day, in the Royal Navy it has hardly ever been necessary to get into the Fleet any extensive numbers of National Service people. There was a day when we got seamen by press gangs. They still made a very fine Navy and they did great things at sea. But we are proud of the later stages of the development of the voluntary spirit. I am now one of the old veterans, but I can see in my mind's eye at the moment the red-coated volunteer Regiment of Engineers 202 at Bristol in 1895, and the Gloucester-shire Volunteer Rifles in their dark green type of Rifle Brigade uniform in 1895, before seeing them march off to the South African War in 1899. Without their volunteer existence and their enthusiasm and loyalty, I am quite sure that we should never have gone on as we have done as an Empire and Commonwealth.
However, nothing could be better than to foster the voluntary principle at all times. I have never been against keeping that voluntary principle in any of the Services; but I am bound to sayߞI should be unfair to myself if I did not—that, though it may not be the view of the majority even of my own Party in the country, and may not now for the time being be the view of many noble Lords opposite, in the state in which the world is to-day, with almost untold dangers that bring fear into so many hearts, I regret that we should be so ready to concentrate largely upon a unilateral disarmament and to do away with the existing insurance of National Service. Nevertheless, I am bound to say that in the decisions to which Her Majesty's Government have come, it remains vital that we should not only pay tribute to the great examples and the voluntary spirit of the Territorial force in the past, but look forward with a great deal of confidence and hope to what they are going to be able to accomplish for us in the difficult years that we, as a nation and as a Commonwealth, are bound to face. I only hope that in promoting what the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has referred to as an insurance, we shall not sacrifice too quickly the much more widespread, even though compulsory, form of insurance.
The explanation that the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has given with regard to the reported cuts in the training grant will be studied with interest to see exactly what it means. At first sight it seems a little curious that at a time when he, thank goodness! is able to report to the House a steep increase this year in voluntary enlistment in the Territorial Army, there should be a cut in the amount of the training grant, in spite of the rate and standard of current costs. I hope that we may take it that his general assurance is that, whatever announcement has been made about a smaller expenditure on training grant, with recruits 203 coming in at this rate he or the War Office will see to it that the money is forthcoming so that their training is properly covered.
§ LORD MANCROFT
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
That seems to be fundamental, especially when you are now getting a fortunate development in voluntary recruiting. You have to attract volunteers at a proper rate of enlistment if you are going to reach your full divisional strength in this new form of insurance by 1963. That seems to be fundamental. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, gave us a short survey of the build-up of the first great idea of a voluntary Territorial Army. I had occasion to think a great deal about it in 1946 and 1947. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, thinks that the manifold changes which have taken place in organisation and the like have been entirely due to the introduction of National Servicemen into a four years' service in the Territorial Army. He shakes his head. I am glad that that is not the case. I am bound to say that in the visits that I made, in the few years during which I was Minister of Defence and afterwards, I was glad to find how successfully it had worked, and how keen some at any rate of the National Servicemen were in serving in the Territorial Army after they had completed their service with the Regular forces.
The other matter which is in my mind to a great extent, and which I think has not been touched upon at the present time, is this. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, said that here was a new side of the coin as opposed to his necessary comments the other day on juvenile delinquency. In the Royal Navy I always found a great advantage, not only for the Royal Navy but for the Merchant Service, in the existence of the sea cadets, who have been always greatly encouraged by the Admiralty, and whom I have often visited and inspected. They have been of great value.
While I was Minister of Defence I was invited by the War Office on three or four separate occasions to go and inspect the summer camps of the army cadets. It was amazing what difference there was at the end of a fortnight in a camp 204 of army cadets, in turn-out, condition and general deportment. What a great factor might be made of that now in building up the voluntary spirit for the Territorial Army!
I do not want to turn this into a general debate on the War Office Estimates, but in view of the policy of Her Majesty's Government for a volunteer Territorial Army, would it be possible for the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, when he comes to reply, to tell us of any special efforts which are being made in that direction and also for promoting the development and improving the training of the army cadets? Because I believe that in that kind of thorough organisation we can have great success.
May I say once more how grateful I am to my noble friend Lord Ogmore for his Motion? When he spoke of the services of the past, I was reminded that I was a private, a lance-corporal and a corporal in the 28th Artists Rifles in the First Great War, and I have never forgotten my companionship and the wonderful spirit of those days, before I went away to take a commission. I hope that however nostalgic may be my feeling for the principle of National Service as being fair, equal, just and the only really adequate way for us, with our great responsibilities, I may wish all success to the Territorial Forces.
§ 3.42 p.m.
§ LORD HARDING OF PETHERTON
My Lords, as this is the first occasion on which I have ventured to address your Lordships in a full debate I crave your Lordships' indulgence for any errors 1 may make or for any lack of skill in the choice of the words I use. As one who began his military career in the Territorial Army I should like to say that this a very happy and proud occasion for me; and I wish to support wholeheartedly the Resolution that has been introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and to identify myself with his remarks about the splendid contribution to the defence of this country that has been made by the Territorial Army in the past.
I was delighted when the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, brought into greater prominence than I believe is in the public mind that part of the rôole of the Territorial Army which implies that it must be ready to reinforce the Regular Army 205 overseas, whenever and wherever necessary. I realise that this is a very important rôole, and that probably it is one which enhances the status of the Territorial Army more than its other various tasks. I fully agree that if this country is attacked by land forces, whether they arrive by air or by some other means, the main responsibility for home defence w ill fall on the shoulders of the Territorial Army. I also agree that in certain tragic circumstances, which I hope will never come about, the Territorial Army will have a vital rôle to play in Civil Defence. But it is our reserve Army, and with the Regular Army running down in strength, and with the overseas commitments of the Regular Army increasing, and likely, with the world in its present highly unsettled and inflammable state, to increase even more, it is not difficult to foresee circumstances in which the Territorial Army would have to be used to reinforce the Regular Army overseas in conditions short of all-out war.
In this connection it may interest your Lordships to know that on one occasion in Cyprus it was necessary to call on members of a certain specialist Territorial Army unit to fill a gap while the necessary suitable Regular Army personnel were being found and trained. Fortunately, in that case the numbers involved were small and were readily forthcoming on a volunteer basis. They did an excellent job of work, but on that occasion numbers and time were limited; and that may not always he the case in future. I understand, for example, that that part of our strategic reserve which is called, I believe, the second echelon, is not fully provided with all the ancillary units and administrative services that it would need in the event of its being required for an operational rôle.
I am aware of the fact that some of these needs could be met from the Army Emergency Reserve, but I doubt whether all of them could; and if that part of the strategic reserve were required for an operational role at comparatively short notice, under cold war or limited war conditions, I believe that those deficiencies would have to be made good by drawing on the resources of the Territorial Army. So I would suggest that this rôle should be given more prominence, both in the minds of the Territorials themselves and in the public mind, and that the idea that the Territorial Army is nowadays nothing 206 more or less than an adjunctߞa useful adjunct, it is trueߞof Civil Defence, and might possibly be required for home defence, should be dispelled.
As I know from experience, there are certain very important practical problems that arise in connection with this particular role of the Territorial Army. The partial embodiment of the Territorial Army in advance of declaration of a national emergency presents very special constitutional and organisational problems, and also has implications for industry because of the discrimination that would be caused, both to individuals and in areas, if, for example, one division of the Territorial Army, drawn simply and solely from a particular area, were called up. So there are very important practical problems in connection with the proper application of this rôle of the Territorial Army. I should like to ask the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, who is to answer this debate whether he can give some assurance that these practical problems are being faced, and that they will be tackled fearlessly and urgently, with a view to seeing how they can best be overcome.
It would be presumptuous of me to suggest what should be done in this respect, and I am in no position to do so. But it occurs to me that there are certain units and formations in the Territorial Army to-day which, by their distribution in the country and their readiness and standard of efficiency, would be particularly fitted to be the first reinforcement of the Regular Armyߞfor example, the units of the Territorial Parachute Brigade Group; and there are other specialist unitsߞthere is one Engineer unit that I know well personally—which I am quite certain could be ready for immediate action within a few days, at any rate so far as numbers and efficiency are concerned.
I would therefore suggest that investigation might be directed towards the possibility of inviting such units, as units (not as individuals, so that they would be broken up and distributed to the Regular Army), to accept some additional liability, in return for appropriate compensation, which would enable them, if embodied, to be made available for this rôle as a ready reserve for the Regular Army, and enable them to do that without the embodiment of the Territorial 207 Army as a whole. That is a practical plan which could be put into effect. It will, I submit, be all the more important when National Service comes to an end.
My Lords, as regards the needs of the Territorial Army, I realise that there is very little, if any, difference of opinion among your Lordships as to the continuing need for a strong and efficient Territorial Army; but I am not sure that that same view is taken by the general public. I believe that the greatest need of the Territorial Army to-day is that the general public in this country should be convinced that the Territorial Army still forms a vital part of our whole system of national defence. If that could be ensured, then I have no doubt that the people of this country would rise to the occasion, as they have done in the past, and the Territorial Army would, in a reasonable space of time, be brought up to a strength at which it could carry out not only its rôle in home defence and civil defence but its more urgent rôle, to my mindߞthat of being ready at any time to reinforce the Regular Army overseas. At present, I submit, it is neither strong enough nor well enough trained or equipped to carry out that particular part of its task.
In that connection, there is one practical point that I should like to mention. The Territorial Army, as your Lordships are well aware, had many needs; up-to-date equipment; good drill halls; well-found camps, with proper training areas close at hand; realistic and imaginative training; and expert assistance and advice from the Regular army. I know that a great deal has been done under all these heads in recent years to improve matters, but there is one field in which I think a retrograde step is about to be taken. I refer to the permanent staff officers of an infantry battalion, who I understand are shortly to be reduced in number from three to two. That reduction may be acceptable in the case of a battalion which is closely concentrated in an urban area, but in the case of a battalion such as the one in which I personally am particularly interested, spread over the whole county of Somerset, the loss of one of three of the permanent Regular staff officers will be a very serious blow and will greatly hamper the efforts that are being made to attract recruits into it and to bring the standard of efficiency up to what is required. So 208 I should like to ask the Minister who is to reply to this debate whether he can give us an assurance that that decision will at any rate be reconsidered in the case of units such as the one I have just mentioned.
My Lords, I apologise for speaking at such length, but I should like to return to the point I made just now and to say that, in my belief, the most important thing to enable the Territorial Army to carry out its important function in the defence of this country is to convince the general public of this country that it still forms a vital part of our system of national defence.
§ 3.55 p.m.
THE DUKE OF NORFOLK
My Lords, the privilege falls to me this afternoon of congratulating the noble Lord, Field Marshal Lord Harding of Petherton, on his maiden speech in your Lordships' House, and also to welcome him and the contribution which he has made to this debate. I think we should all agree that there could be no one more fitted than he is to speak with authority in such a debate as this. I hope that he will find more time to come here and give his views to this House, in particular on the matters with which his great career has always been concerned.
I intervene in this debate for only a very few minutes in my capacity as Chairman of the Territorial Association, and of the Council of that Association, and I do so because I thought it was a matter in which I should like to express my thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for the happy thought which prompted him to put down this Motion this week when we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee. I know that all the members of my Council are indebted to him, in that we shall have some publicity in this House. During the last few months, when the preparations for the Golden Jubilee were being considered I have been fairly close to them, and I should like to record my thanks to the War Office for the very friendly way they always met us and always consulted us in all the various activities which came to mind. We have happy relations both with the Council and with the Advisory Committee; they send representatives to our discussions and they always meet us on any terms we like. We put forward from each county, in England.
209 Scotland, Wales and Ireland, any problem which may be worrying us from the civil administration of this great part-time Army.
At this moment we are possibly on the threshold of further activities. In my humble opinionߞand I do not wish to make any form of controversial statement here, because it is not my purpose to do soߞall Governments and all Departments of Governments that I have ever seen have always had one safety valve behind them, however much they try to help, in that in the last resort they are always able to say that, alas! the Treasury were not able to meet you. I believe it to be true that there is a great needߞand the noble Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, and other noble Lords have said this afternoon that there is a great needߞconcerning the vital rôle to be played at this moment by the Territorial Army. I know the difficulties of defence, and I would say that my Council fully appreciate the responsibility of not asking for more than is absolutely necessary; but I would say that at this moment we do not want any further disappointments if we are to go along the road which this Government want us to follow.
I believe it was only three nights ago that the Prime Minister, in a speech at a dinner in London, spoke about the spirit of the volunteer. It is inherent in the Englishman and in all freedom-loving people that they should be able to offer their spare time to their country, both in peace and in war. That is why I believe that as National Service becomes run down, the recruiting of the volunteer, the complete civilian, is beginning to rise. Lord Haldane would indeed be a proud man to-day if he were able to see the position of his inspiration of fifty years ago. The history of the Territorial Army, both in war and in peace, has been borne upon that spirit. I believe that that spirit is about to be re-born. I hope that as a result of the celebrations of the Jubilee and of the part played by this debate in your Lordships' House, we may look forward to an added interest, not only in Parliament and in Government, but also throughout the villages and fields of rural England and the streets of our cities, which will bring it home to every man and woman that they have a part to play in the defence of our country. I have no doubt that they will play it.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT LAMBERT
My Lords, on this, the first occasion on which I have had the privilege of addressing your Lordships' House, I am grateful for the indulgence that it is your Lordships' custom to allow to a speaker making his maiden speech. I must confess that this is the second time that I have made a maiden speech in this Chamber. I was elected a Member of another place in 1945, and as your Lordships, in your kindness of heart, had allowed the other place to use this Chamber for their debates, I then made my first maiden speech here.
We are all indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for making it possible for us to pay a tribute to the Territorial Army in the year of its Golden Jubilee and I should like to associate myself with the eloquent tributes that have been paid to it. I should also like to discuss for a short while the difficulties that may confront the Territorial Army in the future. It has been given the task of recruiting up to half its establishment by 1962, arid I was delighted to hear my noble friend Lord Mancroft say how well recruiting is going at the moment, but there is the possibility that as time goes on recruiting may slow up. I feel that it is more important to-day that the Territorial Army should accomplish its task and get the full number of recruits than it was in the years before the war. Not only is it essential for the Territorial Army to play its full part in the defence of this country, but, unhappily, every year there is a large increase in juvenile delinquency, and I feel that once a man has been persuaded to join the Territorial Army he will be on the road to becoming a good citizen and will be one less person to become the potential juvenile delinquent or "Teddy-boy".
Why will there be more difficulty in getting recruits? Take the present international situation. I am sorry to admit that it is grave, but it is much less dramatic than it was during the 'thirties For the last ten or twelve years the cold war has dragged on. Every now and then, unhappily, there is some bestial incident, as there was last week when the gallant Hungarian leaders were murdered in cold blood. But during the 1930's, when Hitler planned to occupy the whole of Europe, his plans seemed to unfold with almost clockwork precision. In March, 1935, he announced that.
211 his air force was the equal of ours and that he was going to introduce conscription. In March, 1936, he occupied the Rhineland. He was quiet in 1937. In March, 1938, he occupied Austria, and then, in growing tension during the summer months, we had Munich, to be followed in the spring of 1939 with the grabbing of Czechoslovakia, and finally the declaration of war on Poland in September, 1939. During all this period people were tending to search their consciences and see that they were doing what they could to help their country.
I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Mancroft for making clear the rôle of the Territorial Army. It was rather disturbing that, as he mentioned, The Times said two days ago that there was a good deal of confusion about this. I would suggest to Her Majesty's Government that it would be advisable to issue a White Paper on the Territorial Army, giving its duties precisely, because at the moment its duties and rôle are discussed sometimes in the White Paper on Defence and sometimes in the Memorandum on the Army Estimates.
Another reason why I feel it may be more difficult to obtain recruits as time goes on is that there has been a complete social revolution in this country since 1939. As I see it, one of the biggest obstacles to recruiting is that holidays with pay are the rule to-day, rather than the exception. In the old days, a young man, particularly if he was a bachelor, was delighted to go to camp. He had a good holiday and it cost him nothing. But to-day, and I am thankful that it is so, the large majority of firms give their employees holidays with pay. Again, high taxation is making it difficult for the professional classes, the potential officer classes, to give up sufficient time to take their wives and families on holiday and also go to annual camp. It means that they must stay away from work for up to a month every year. Finally, during the years since the war the Government have interfered more and more with the running of our business lives—quite rightly. But the fact remains that the interference causes difficulty to the various businesses to carry out whatever they may be doing: they have to pay more attention to hygiene 212 and to the health and safety of their workers.
Again, the State, in its wisdom, forces businesses to act as tax collectors. All this makes it more difficult for businesses, and particularly small businesses, to remain solvent. I understand that today many firms, and small ones in particular, would like to encourage their employees to join the Territorial Army, but they simply cannot afford to do so: they cannot afford to lose the services of what no doubt would be their best men for a period of holiday and for a period at camp in addition.
As I see it, the problem before the Territorial Army to get recruits is two-fold. First, it is essential, as the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, pointed out, to make people realise the vital importance of the Territorial Army to-day. Secondly, it is essential for the Government to take steps to make it possible for small firms to encourage their employees to join the Territorial Army. In my view, the only way to do it is for the Government to give some sort of tax relief to firms who have members of their staff in the Territorial Army. It is not for me to say how it should be done, but of this I am convinced: that if there were the will to do it, the Treasury would quickly find a way. It may be argued that if this scheme were adopted only the firms would benefit. In that case, I suggest that a man who joins the Territorial Army and completes a year of proficient service might have his code number for P.A.Y.E. increased, thereby lessening his obligation for tax; and if it were put up sufficiently, he might have to pay no tax at all, in which case the firm would benefit, as they would no longer have to keep a P.A.Y.E. card for him.
Then I should like to suggest to the Government that it might be possible to stagger the annual camps of the Territorial Army more than is done to-day. Most of the camps, I understand, take place in August, which is a time when many people go on holiday. Again, supposing that a firm of medium size has three or four people in the same unit of the Territorial Army and they all go to camp at the same time, it may make things difficult for that firm. I wonder whether it would not be possible for two units to combine and go to camp at two separate periods, one half of one unit 213 and one half of the other going at one time, and the other two halves later on. I know it would make the training less effective, but I am sure it would make the recruiting problem easier. I should like to conclude by expressing the hope that I have not been too controversial in my suggestions, but that they have been constructive, and that I have not taken advantage of the indulgence your Lordships have been kind enough to show me.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ LORD LAWSON
My Lords, It is my privilege to congratulate a colleague from the old days on a speech which is well worthy of the man I used to hear speaking in the other place. At that time we could speak to each other, as it was called by an old Parliamentarian many years ago, "nippingly". I am sure your Lordships would wish me to congratulate the noble Viscount not only on the speech he has made, the consideration he has given to the problem and the suggestions he has offered, but for the cool manner in which he conducted himself during that speech. Both the noble Viscount and the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, obviously want the Government to make a reality of the Territorials. The public will be surprised in the morning to know that one House in Parliament, at any rate, has actually given some hours to debating the Territorials; and I feel sure that the mass of the people will be pleased. But the fact is that many people have only a dim view of what the Territorials are—and in saying that I do not think I exaggerate. They do not know, for instance, that many men forgo their holidays in order to go into camp; or that men actually lose by paying money out themselves in order to "make out" in the camp they go to. I do not think that will be good enough in the future.
I was glad to hear the figures which the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, gave us. As one who has some responsibility in the county in which I live, and having gone to many of the gatheringsߞsort of "beat-ups" and the restߞI know that the spirit has grown in my own county. People think that Territorials are just there to be called upon in time of war; and that may be so. But I remember, as will many of your Lordships, the time when we in this country would have been delighted to see more men doing the work 214 of the Territorials so that others could be used in case of invasion.
I think it can be said without any exaggeration that we are about the least warlike country there is in this world to-day, but we are a country, an island, that needs protection. I said some time ago, when we were discussing National Service, as the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, also said, that I did not think we were right to end National Service. I can tell your Lordships that one of the things that has delighted me in the last few years has been to hear one man after another on finishing his National Service, when I asked what he thought about it, say, "I wouldn't have been without it for any thing ". That is a common statement among the men. If National Service is going, can we afford to let the Territorials drift along as they have and to treat them —I know the War Office has always done its best in the circumstances—as the kind of odds-and-ends of the Services of our country? We cannot. We have to he realistic about this.
One of the things which I think is not widely understood in this country is not only the voluntary service given by the Territorials but the great mass of voluntary service that is given in this country. I say that because there are also sidelines to the Territorials. I saw a great cathedral service on Sunday, one of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen in my life, the Red Cross filling a vast cathedral ߞDurham Cathedral. Next week we have the St. John Ambulance Brigade. They are two great assets that are in line in their way, doing voluntary work, although healing rather than fighting, but still a manifestation of the voluntary system in this country. In the county in which I liveߞand I thought I knew it very wellߞI have had opportunities in the present position I hold of seeing the voluntary life of the county. If someone could just take each county in this country and show what boys and girls and young men and young women do, there would not be so much nonsense talked about these fellows on the fringe of things, the people about whom there is so much agitation.
It is a wonderful thing to have a great organisation like the Territorial organisation, and we have had it for half a century. What a gift it has been to this 215 country! It fitted in at a very critical time in the first war and did a magnificent job; then it played its part in the second war. Now, almost for the first time, so far as I can remember—although we have had little bits of conversation about it in your Lordships' Houseߞthe noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has riveted the attention of the House with it. I hope that he is going to get due notice in the country generally.
We have been told that the numbers are increasing. I know that so far as my own part of the world is concerned they are increasing. Why do they increase? Because you get men coming into an atmosphere in which there is courtesy and humour and fellowship, and those who have been members of it remember these things. It is a wonderful organisation in which men do much for nothing. They have not even asked us in the past to take them seriously. They have just gone on and done the job and been ready when it was necessary.
I come from a county which your Lordships' House well knowsߞand I am not going to apologise for stating itߞis an all-Labour county, and it usually has the top numbers for the Territorials. I say that, not for the benefit of this House but for the sake of the record, so that those abroad may note that the questions that affect the life of this nation fundamentally are questions that receive the serious attention of the mass of the people, whatever be their political colour. I congratulate my noble friend, Lord Ogmore, on raising this question to-day, I hope we are going to have more debates. The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, has raised these matters from time to time, but this is the first all-out debate we have had. It is the first time the attention of the public has really been drawn towards the great work that the Territorials of this country are doing, and I am very pleased indeed. I hope the Government is going to take notice of the fact, whether the public outside do or not.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
My Lords, I should like to begin by adding my own word of congratulation to my two noble friends who have just addressed the House for the first time. My noble friend Lord Harding of Petherton, in a speech 216 which was certainly not too long, did, I thought, succeed in touching on all the points that are most vital to the future of the Territorial Army, and my noble friend Lord Lambert touched on a number of the practical points which affect both the individual who wishes to join the Territorial Army and those who employ him. We all hope that we shall often hear both noble Lords again in this House, and those who have dealt with these matters in the past, I am sure, hope so especially.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for having initiated this debate at this particular time. We know him to be a distinguished and devoted Territorial, and there, on his right, is sitting another Territorial of even longer standing, the noble Lord, Lord Nathan. It is not quite true, as the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, said, that we have never had a debate before in this House on the Territorial Army, but it is true that it is some time since we had one devoted entirely to the subject, and it is certainly high time we had one now.
I wish to say a word or two because it has been my privilege to see the Territorial Army from a number of different angles and also to spend a period in the War Office as Director-General of the Home Guard and Territorial Army. I am not going to try to cover the whole field, but I would draw special attention to that paragraph in the Resolution in which the House is invited to appreciatethe importance of the contribution of the Territorial Army to national defence.We are celebrating in this period the vision, the foresight and the statesmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Haldane. As the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said when introducing this Motion, what Lord Haldane did was certainly not to create a voluntary spirit: the voluntary spirit was already thereߞit has its roots much further back, at some time like the fifteenth century. Nor did the noble Lord, Lord Haldane, devise the system whereby our second-line Army is linked not only with the Regular Forces but also with the local organisation of the county ߞwith the county organisation and, therefore, with the civil government. He did, however, succeed in keeping those ancient traditions of volunteering and those old deep roots which the Territorial Army has in the country and, at the same time, 217 in making the Territorial Army a force which was of real value to the defence of the country.
The Territorial Army, when Lord Haldane had introduced the divisional organisation and had finished his work, was something incomparably better and more useful than the old volunteers could ever have been, however good their spirit, under the haphazard organisation of the nineteenth century, or the time of the South African War. Lord Haldane saw to it that this magnificent source of strength, the volunteer spirit, was not going to be wasted; that it was going to be put to its full use. And it was put to its full use by the creation of the divisional organisation and a proper order of battle suitable for the warfare of that time, which bore its fruit in the First World War in 1914ߞand, indeed, would have borne even greater fruit had another great man, Lord Kitchener, not had a bind spot in his mind where the Territorial Army was concerned. Lord Kitchener's mistake, of not using the Territorial Army fully in 1914,was not repeated, as all noble Lords know, in 1939. In that year, and in 1940, the Territorial Army took the strain not merely of doubling itself but of providing territorial formations for overseas. Not only that; if it had not been for the older men, the retired men, who had served in the Territorial Army, the story of the Home Guard and of Civil Defence in the last war would have been a very different one from what it was.
After the last World War, the Territorial Army had to face a problem that it had never had to face before in its history—namely, the combination of Territorial service with National Service in peace time. A great deal has been said about that matter, and I think a good deal of misunderstanding has taken place about the need for National Service and the effect of National Service on the Territorial Army. I do not think that all of us, certainly not the public, appreciated that the governing consideration which caused the need for National Service in peace time was the fact that, in the conditions immediately after the war, the Territorial Army had to be kept at a much greater state of readiness than had been required of it in earlier times of peace. As Lord Ogmore mentioned just now, two Territorial Army divisions 218 were required in the order of' battle for N.A.T.O. So in those conditions, with that state of readiness, there is no doubt in my mind that volunteer service alone was not enough, and that the decision to retain National Service was right. When we are thinking of the Territorial Army, however much we give priority to our appreciation of the volunteer, we ought not to forget the National Serviceman and the "Z" reservist because, whatever stories one may have read in the Press, and whatever grouses one may have heard, the vast bulk of them served usefully and contentedly in the Territorial units.
My Lords, we are now coming into a different phase of the world's history; and for a number of reasons the Territorial Army can, I suppose, go back to a reduced state of readiness. If that is right (I think the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, touched on this point in his speech), then it is also right, for a number of reasons, that we should dispense with National Service and go back to the pure voluntary system. That is what is in process of happening now; the wheel is turning fall circle, and we can, it seems, organise the Territorial Army on the basis of volunteering, and nothing else, at any rate for the immediate future; and history will repeat itself.
The figures of volunteers are quite interesting to those who study them. If we go back over the years, for fifty years or more, and look at the figures in the Estimates, we find that in ordinary times (I do not speak of times when the shadow of war falls on the country; but of the ordinary times) there is a steady figure of something round 200,000 people who are not merely ready to volunteer but cannot be prevented from volunteering, whatever you do to them, because that is the habit of certain people in this country, We shall always have those people, whatever we do; but whether we have more than the average or less than the average will depend on the conditions we create for the Territorial Army, a matter about which other noble Lords have spoken.
I do not myself look on that aspect as one of great doubt or difficulty. I am certain that those people will be there if they get reasonable treatment. What is much more important at the present time, 219 and much more difficult I think, is to make certain what the rôle of the Territorial Army is. That has been touched on by my noble friend Lord Mancroft, and by my noble and gallant friend Lord Harding. We happen to be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the T.A., in a time which is particularly difficult for military thinking of all kinds, not only the T.A., because we have only recently, so to speak, been faced with the problem of nuclear warfare. We have not had enough experience, and may be not enough time, to think them out fully; until we do, and until we clear our minds of the problems of nuclear warfare as they affect the problems of what we call conventional forcesߞand the Territorial Army for this purpose of course comes under the category of a conventional force—we shall always have doubts about what can be done by any conventional forces, whether Territorial Army or some other force, under threats of the kind we are likely to experience in the nuclear age. We have talked about this matter in other debates connected with the Forces, and I will only repeat what I believe I have said before: I am quite certain that, when the fog rolls away from this particular problem, we shall find not only suitable but essential tasks for the conventional forces, and therefore for the Territorial Army. Whether those tasks lie at home, in Civil Defence, or abroad is a matter which is now hard to foresee; but if, as I hope, we go in that direction, I believe that we shall find that the Territorial Army will soon recover that sense of purpose which I admit it has been difficult to achieve for the reasons I have given, in recent years.
If we want to help it recover that sense of purpose, there are a number of ways in which we in this House can helpߞmany of them have been mentioned in this debate. After all, those of us who know the Territorial Army know quite wellߞand it is no good pretending we do notߞthat over the years the Territorial Army has had its full share of high-level encouragement and also of low-level pinpricks. The noble Duke, the Duke of Norfolk, in his capacity as Chairman of the Council of the Territorial and Auxiliary Forces' Associations, touched on that point, as others have done. I will not repeat them, for many of us in this House know what they are and other 220 noble Lords are waiting to address your Lordships. But we have also the constructive problems, one of which was mentioned just now: how is the Territorial Army to be fitted into the new towns? That is a matter which still needs a certain amount of attention, both on the Service side and on the new towns side.
Be those things as they may, my Lords, I believe that, to have its full effect, this debate must convey to the world outside two separate ideas. The first is that our sentiments towards the Territorial Army are those which have already been expressed in such full measure and, no doubt, will continue to be expressed throughout this debate. The second is that we have in all parts of the House noble Lords who watch continually over the affairs of the Territorial Army, of those who belong to it and of those who will belong to it in the futureߞfor example, the army cadets. We in this House are therefore playing our part to bring about those conditions which we wish to see created, and to help to create, whereby those of our citizens who decide to serve their Sovereign in the Territorial Army will be able to do so to their own happiness and in support of the defence of their country. I support this Resolution most heartily.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF COURTOWN
My Lords, I wish to crave your Lordships' indulgence this afternoon on rising for the first time in this House. I have had a good deal of experience of speaking in other fields, but one of the things which has struck me particularly since coming to this House a few months ago has been the very high standard of debates which your Lordships have here; therefore I feel that I shall need all your Lordships' indulgence.
My reason for rising on this occasion is that for many years I have been concerned with the Territorial Army. Since the war I have restarted my old regiment —the London Irish Riflesߞand since retiring from its command I have been actively concerned in the Territorial Army Association of the County of London. There are two points which I should like to make to your Lordships this afternoon. The first is to emphasise the great value of the background and traditions of individual units of the 221 Territorial Army and the great value which attaches to the support, direct and indirect, of an active regimental association. I suggest that it should be the basis of any reorganisation of the Territorial Army that this great value should be retained, and I sometimes wonder whether that has been done in the past.
I am encouraged by the statement of the noble. Lord, Lord Mancroft, that no further reorganisation is impending for the Territorial Army; but, having looked at several reorganisations in the past, very much from ground level, I cannot help feeling that the value of these old established units has not always been taken fully into consideration. For instance, a couple of years ago we saw the abolition of the Anti-Aircraft Command, the disbandment of many long-established Territorial regiments and the amalgamation of others. With disbandment the whole value of the background and traditions of a particular unit is lost to the country. With the amalgamation of only two units, I believe that with care and attention most of the value of that background can be retained; but in the amalgamation of three or four regiments into one it is extremely difficult to avoid losing a great deal of it.
I fully realise the reasons for the abolition of Anti-Aircraft Command. But at about the same time the formation of forty-eight battalions of the Mobile Defence Corps was announced. They are part of the Army Emergency Reserve. It occurred to those who looked at that matter at low level, without any high-level knowledge, that their future was tied to National Service; and it seems to me that with the abolition of National Service that future is doubtful. Would it not have been much better if, at the time when those forty-eight battalions were formed, consideration had been given to retaining some of the anti-aircraft regiments and turning them, temporarily perhaps, to new rôles?
No Territorial Army unit likes being changed to a rOle which they feel is a non-fighting rôle. On the other hand, we in the Territorial Army have seen over the years many units change their roles and then change them back again; and I feel that any anti-aircraft unit would have preferred the rôle of mobile defence to complete disbandment. Again, is there no intention that this country shall have 222 in the future some reserve units concerned with guided missiles in the ground to-air rôle? I know that that responsibility has been given to the Royal Air Force, yet one wonders whether at some early date in the future the Territorial Army associations may not be asked to help with the formation of some reserve units for that purpose. If so, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will consider the value of these long-established units and try to retain the background which lies there.
The second point which I should like to make is in connection with recruiting. Some people may not realise that before the war something like 75 per cent. of the recruits to the Territorial Army came from young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty. Until a very short time ago the Territorial Army was not allowed to recruit those men on account of their being required for full-time National Service. A great many young men before the war left after doing their four years' service, due to reasons of family, wives, girl friends and the like; so in comparing the figures of to-day with the figures in the 'thirties, before 1938, one has probably to double the present figures or treble them, due to the fact that we are only just beginning to recruit the young men.
I feel that the whole of our efforts should be bent towards making all types of people in this country aware of the necessity for the Territorial Army. The noble Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, made the point very well, I thought, that it was necessary for everybody to understand the need for it. It is not only the employers who are concerned; it is also the people in the homes and the people who work beside the soldier, who work on the bench alongside the member of the Territorial Army. If everybody realises the necessity for the Territorial Army there will be no great difficulty about recruiting. And it is no one piece of publicity which will gain that awareness; it is the long-term effort on the part of Her Majesty's Government and everybody concerned with the Territorial Army to "put it across" on every possible occasion.
I was rather disturbed by what the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, said in 223 regard to the articles in the Daily Telegraph. It seems to me that if the training grants are to be based on 1956–57, it ignores the fact that in 1956–57 the Territorial Army was not in the main recruiting young men who had not done National Service. The great majority of its recruits had already done National Service and were therefore not in need of anything like so much training as the young men joining to-day and in the future. I understand that special arrangements are made for the recruits themselves to be allowed to do longer periods of week-end training, but they must have instructors and officers and N.C.O.s to look after them. There is also the question of men who are taking on a specialist responsibility, such as a rifleman who is to be trained in mortars or signals or some other particular specialist arm. How is he going to get the necessary training if his week-ends are restricted in this way?
I can foresee many complications from a commanding officer's point of view in trying to allocate the week-ends in the way that is most efficient for the unit. He has to do it at the beginning of the training year in trying to plan his training throughout the year, and he will be put in the position of saying, "You cannot go this week-end because we have to allot the pay this week-end for some other purpose in, say, two or three months hence." It seems to me that it may lead to a great many difficulties, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will consider the matter very carefully. Finally, I should like again to congratulate Lord Ogmore on introducing this debate. I am sure that the Territorial Army will appreciate it and will be glad of it in the same way as we are.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ LORD MILNER OF LEEDS
My Lords, it is my privilege to congratulate the noble Earl. Lord Courtown, as I am sure your Lordships would wish, on the maiden speech he has just delivered. The noble Earl obviously speaks from long and practical experience of the Territorial Army, in which I see he holds the Territorial Decoration and Clasp; and I am sure that your Lordships will also appreciate that he speaks from recent and up-to-date knowledge, which is not given to all of us. I was particularly attracted by 224 his suggestion that, to put it in a word or two, it was really the personal touch that was required on the part of men at the bench and men in the offices, and so forth, to aid in recruiting; and I hopeߞindeed I feel sureߞthat the Government and all those interested in the Territorial Army will read the noble Lord's speech with interest and profit. We hope that we shall hear the noble Lord very frequently again in this House.
If I had known beforehand of the long list of speakers I should not have troubled your Lordships with my few observations; but as a very early member of the Territorial Force (as it was in those days; I believe I joined the Officers Training Corps in about 1909) I feel that I ought to say a word or two in support of the Motion which has been moved by my noble friend Lord Ogmore. In those pre-1914 days, and even in some later days, the Territorial Force was not always very highly regarded by some sections of the public. I recollect that on the outbreak of the 1914–18 war I was in camp with my unit and was at once sent home to purchase the horses and transport for the division, with a Government cheque book and carte blanche. Of course, we had very little motor transport in those days. We marched out of barracks on August 10, 1914, which I thought was a very creditable effort indeed. fully equipped in the fashion of those days as we were. As we marched out of barracks an ill-disposed person (I never knew who he was) in the crowd outside called out, "Look at them! A lot of bloody comics!" And that has remained in my mind, and I have no doubt in the minds of a great many who heard it, from that day to this. We felt it very much, because we were very proud to be so efficient as to be moving out of barracks at such an early date to we knew not what.
That view of the Territorial Army, I am glad to say, has long passed away. No fewer than thirty-three divisions of the Territorial Army served in the First World War, and twenty-seven in the Second, and it has been said by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff that the Territorial Army is now a vital part of our fighting organisation, ready for any eventuality, probable or improbable.
Originally, of course, the Territorial Force was intended for home service 225 only, but I gather that the Territorial Army is now the Regular Army's trained reserve with no limitation whatever as to service. It has, indeed, been said to be the best and the cheapest reserve Army in the world to-day, and I have no doubt that that is the case. But I am riot altogether happy that even to-day it is really receiving the help and support that it deserves and which I think the country is entitled to expect, and there are one or two matters of comparative detail to which I should like to refer and which I think have not been mentioned hitherto. The first is that the standard of accommodation at a very large number of Territorial Army centres is still far below that which a volunteer is entitled to expect, and that fact, I am quite sure, is a distinct deterrent to voluntary recruiting.
The funds allocated annually for building new Territorial Army centres or for major modernisations, where these are feasible, are insufficient to allow the Territorial Army to be properly accommodated. I see from the Estimates for 1958–59 that the sum allotted is £155,000. That sum would provide only two or three good, modern Territorial Army centres. In my own city of Leeds the urgent need is to provide one new centre for the Royal Army Service Corps and one for Leeds University Officers' Training Corps, but so far as I know not a singe pound of that £155,000 has been allotted to the West Riding. The Royal Army Service Corps headquarters are at present, and have been for many years past, what in my young days was a girls' school in one of the main streets of the city. It has been scheduled for demolition and rebuilding for many years, yet nothing whatever has been done. I hope that the Government will give attention to this long-deferred requirement.
Then there is the question of dress, which has been mentioned in passing. Your Lordships are aware that the Territorial Army has not yet been issued with a No. 1 dress, except for its regimental bands, where those exist, and there seems to be no immediate prospect, so far as I gather, of obtaining a No. 1 dress. The best uniform that a volunteer has to wear to-day is battledress, and even that, I am told, is frequently issued to him in part-worn condition. There is no doubt that a smart turn-out would serve to encourage recruiting, and the 226 volunteer is surely entitled to be properly dressed. These matters of dress and accommodation should have immediate attention. May I say that to my knowledge a number of recruits buy their own uniform, at a cost of £14 to £15, and these could be purchased in hulk by the Army authorities for little more than half that sum. I submit that it is false economy to starve the Territorial Army financially to such an extent that it cannot fulfil its intended rôle happily and with credit to itself and pride to its members.
I think that this Government—indeed, all Governmentsߞhave to make up their minds. If security is to be the dominating factor, the Government must provide enough money to maintain the Territorial Army as an efficient force. If, on the other hand, finance is to be the dominating factorߞa premium, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, termed itߞthe Territorial Army must be reduced to a size which can be properly maintained for the money available. The issue in regard to the future of the Territorial Army is almost as simple as that. My Lords, I much hope that this debate, so happily initiated by my noble friend Lord Ogmore, will tend not only to more publicity for the Territorial Army but also to the Government and all concerned rendering what help they can to make it the popular, happy and efficient force which we want it to be. I support the Motion.
§ 5.5 p.m.
My Lords, as the fourth of the "new boys", I crave your Lordships' indulgence if I say anything out of order or do it in the wrong manner. The noble Lord, Lord Man-croft, spoke about his early service with the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton. I enjoyed being in a regiment, as a private, with Field Marshal Sir William Slim, who was also a privateߞI was in the Coventry battalion and Sir William was in the Birmingham battalionߞso that the noble Lord and I have one thing in common. Like the noble Lord, I remained in the lesser ranks, though I had the honour of commanding a battalion at the beginning of this last war. I began as a private in the Territorial Army and ultimately became commanding officer, so perhaps that entitles me to say one or 227 two things about the difficulties that one comes across in the Territorial Army.
I thought that the volunteer Army had almost come to an end, but I agree with what has been said to-day by the ex-Chief of the Imperial General Staff, who is an ex-Territorial soldier of many years ago: that a volunteer Army must either become a real volunteer Army or go to pieces entirely. I feel that a volunteer Army must be voluntary all the way round in the area: we have to know the local authorities, the employers of labour and, equally important, the trade union officials. In 1939 I gave half my battalion away, rather than stick to it, and told the fellows in the second line to "get cracking". I found that, with the aid of the civic authorities, the trade unions and the employers, I doubled my battalion in less than three months. Stratford-on-Avon, where I had no standing at all, produced me a complete company in a fortnight; and the mayor of that borough was the person responsible for doing it.
I think that recruiting, tackled sensibly, can still achieve something; but as the noble Lord, Lord Milner of Leeds, has said, without military bands and decent uniforms it is a very hard job. I think that the War Office might give some help in the matter of band costs: they are expensive; the men have to be well dressed. But I found in 1938 and 1939, before there was any doubling, that with the use of the band, and by exercising an ancient privilege which had never been given to us, of marching out with colours flying and bayonets fixed, we could be sure of half a dozen recruits every week That pleased me, and in my brigade we had 95 per cent. two years running, which is what we are all hoping for in the Territorial Army. So that I do not despair of the Territorial soldier coming forward. I do not think that a lot of money will encourage him. He likes the company of his fellow men in a man's club; he likes a bit of discipline, much to everybody's surpriseߞbut he does. With good N.C.Os. and good officers, these things happen.
The noble and gallant Lord talked about the tragic position of losing two out of his three officers; but I had only one, who was adjutant, training officer and everything else. But we had lent to us the warrant officers and N.C.Os 228 of a Regular battalion, who were handpicked, probably, by the Colonel of the regiment. And that is where we have the backbone of our training: they are the fellows who have to be made more and more use of. A good N.C.O. is first-class value all the way through.
There is one little contentious matter that I want to mention. In yesterday's OFFICIAL REPORT of another place there was reference to the reduction of age of subalterns in the Territorial Army and to the fact that they have to be approved by the commanding officerߞthat is the first thing that matters, anyway. They must also have Certificate A or B. or must qualify for it, or the equivalent; but, somewhat surprisingly, the whole application has to be submitted to the Command selection board. I feel that the worst way you can hit a commanding officer in the eye, so to speak, is to suggest that he is not a good chooser and that somebody else is going to vet the men he has chosen. If the commanding officer does not know what he wants, I think that no selection board a hundred miles away can know any better. With Certificate A or B essential, a commanding officer always has a protection against the fellow who merely thinks he wants to be a Territorial Army officer. I had many of them in 1939, and I told them that they were no use to me until they had a certificate.
The other point I should like to mention there is that it says that a young subaltern who has not got Certificate B has to go to a training unit for fifteen days in his second year. Frankly, I feel that the right place for a subaltern is with his men, and one cannot ask a subaltern both to do his camp and to go away for fifteen days' training. I suggest that if he had to go as soon as he reaches field rank it would do him a lot more good, because he will then be of real use when it comes to training a battalion. They seem to be able to spare a major, because I have looked through the Army List to-day and I do not think any Territorial battalion has fewer than five; and most have more. Those of your Lordships who were in the Territorial Army before the war will know that at that time we had only two; so that it would then have been more difficult. I say this with some feeling of understanding. I did not myself go to one of these senior officers' schools, but sent my second in command. There was nothing I regretted more than letting 229 him go and staying behind, but I thought that, as the father of the battalion, it was better I should stay with the family than leave somebody else to look after it. That is a point that I feel might be worthy of further consideration.
I should like, in conclusion, to say how grateful I am that we have all been able to be associated with the Motion put down by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. As one of the what I might call younger boys of the Territorial Army, I feel that I should like to say "Thank you" for it; but I do not think I am the right person to say it. I feel sure that all the Territorial Officers and men will be extremely pleased at the steps that have been taken.
§ 5.13 p.m.
LORD STRATHEDEN AND CAMPBELL
My Lords, it falls to me to congratulate my noble friend Lord Kenilworth on his maiden speech, and it is a real privilege to be able to do that to somebody who speaks from so much personal experience and can put his arguments so clearly and yet, at the same time, so mildly. I am sure all your Lordships will agree with me when I say that I hope we shall frequently hear him again in the future.
I support the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, wholeheartedly. Unlike most noble Lords who have spoken, I was never in the Territorial Army, but during two most enjoyable periods of my service as a Regular officer I was in close contact with the Territorial Army, and now again, as Chairman of an Association, I am in even closer contact with them. So I have had the opportunity of getting to know the sacrifices that are made by the volunteers. There is, however, one class of person who has not so far been mentioned in any of the congratulatory speeches, either at the Mansion House or in your Lordships' House, and that is the wives of the Territorial volunteers. These wives gladly endure lonely evenings and also sacrifice a large part of their holidays. It is quite clear that if they were not prepared to support their husbands in the Territorial Army the size of the Territorial Army would be so reduced that it would almost cease to exist. The employers have been referred to in some detail by my noble friend Lord Lambert, but I should like to say 230 a word of thanks to those employers who go to great trouble in arranging for their staff to attend the Territorial Army camps.
My noble friend Lord Mancroft dealt with the question of the cut in the training grant at week-end and Sunday training; and this was also dealt with by my noble friend Lord Courtown, with whom I agree entirely. My noble friend Lord Mancroft said that there would be some variation as from Command to Command in the number of days allowed for week-end and Sunday training. I was not absolutely clear what he meant by that, and I should like to make a suggestion to my noble friend who is to reply. Speaking on behalf of Scotland, I would say that this is a very real problem in the Highlands of Scotland, where individual men are widely scattered. The idea of evening drills is a most uneconomic method of carrying out that training, and infinitely better value can be obtained by getting the men in for an entire week-end, or even for the whole day on the Sunday. I would suggest that while the week-ends must be carefully controlledߞwe cannot have weekend training ad lib., as we should all agreeߞthere should be some flexibility in the matter, and in places like the Highlands of Scotland a good deal larger allowance for week-end training should be made.
Another point that is rather disturbing, more to the associations than to the Territorial Army itself—again it affects Scotland, although I do not know about other areasߞis the policy of selling drill-halls when the number of Territorial Army volunteers becomes low. On paper, this is an obvious economy, but it could be an expensive one. These places, although they are called drill-halls, are almost invariably an Army hut upon which probably a good deal of money has been spent; but when they are put up for sale they are virtually unsaleable and almost have to be given away. I think that this matter is still under consideration and that no final decision has as yet been made. I would ask my noble friend to go into the question carefully and make certain that no penny-wise policy is put into operation too quickly.
I am glad to say that everything connected with my contact with the financial 231 side of the Territorial Army, as a whole, is not entirely gloomy. The advent of the new general grant, which came in a short time ago, was looked upon with a good deal of suspicion, but I am glad to be able to tell your Lordships that in my areaߞthat is, Berwick, Roxburgh and Selkirkߞthe grant which we have been given will cover our normal expenditure. Obviously a great deal of care has been taken to make certain that the means provided do meet the requirements, and I should like to thank my noble friend for that.
My noble friend, Lord Mancroft, touched on the difficulty of recruiting to very small units. There is one other aspect of this matter which might help in raising the general tone of self-esteem in these units, and that is the question of the officers commanding them. This, again, I know, is under consideration. They cannot, by virtue of the small size of their units, reach any sort of high rank; captain is probably the highest they can reach, and it would be a great help to their own self-esteem, and therefore the self-esteem of the unit itself, if it were possible by some means for them to be granted a higher rank. It has been found in the past by the War Office, as one knows, that it is perfectly easy to produce innumerable different varieties of rank ߞ temporary, war-substantive, local, et ceteraߞin order to meet various conditions, and I cannot believe it is beyond the powers of imagination of the War Office to think up some way in which these officers could be spared almost the mockery of their fellows by being much too old for the comparatively junior rank they hold.
The rôle of the Territorial Army was dealt with so completely by the noble Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, that I do not think there is much more to say on it, except to stress the importance of its being made quite clear that its units will always be military units. In a leading article in The Times, I think last Monday, it was stated that it was almost infra dig. for the Territorial Army to be connected with civil defence. That is complete nonsense. The Territorial Army are connected with civil defence in exactly the same way as the Regular Army, which would have to do the work if it were available. But it is most important that it should be made clear to the 232 members of the Territorial Army that in dealing with civil defence they will remain in their military units and be under their military commanders. Finally, my Lords, I should like to commend to your Lordships the Territorial Army Jubilee pamphlet, called Twice a Citizen, which tells far more graphically than I can the achievements and the sacrifices of the Territorial Army which we are remembering in this their Jubilee year.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, this is one of those happy occasions when the House can cast aside some of its differences and unite, as we have done this afternoon, in acclaiming the services of millions of men and women who have given loyal service to the Territorial Army and to the country during the last fifty years. I should like to be associated with those noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon. Unlike them, I had only a brief time in the Territorial Army. I held only one rank and that was the rank from which the noble Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, rose to his high position and the esteem that he now holds in the British Army. I should like to say for myself that I hope we shall hear the noble Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, on many occasions on defence matters. We have many noble Lords of great military and naval experience in your Lordships' House, but it is regrettable that we have few occasions for hearing from them of their experiences. In the case of the noble and gallant Lord, he has very recent experience, and I am sure the House and the country will benefit greatly from it.
We have heard, and we all agree, that the Territorial Army has set a great example of voluntary service to this country. I would submit that that example is not limited to this country. There are many volunteer defence forces throughout Her Majesty's Dominions and Colonies, and these defence forces are largely based upon the example and administration and organisation of the Territorial Army. These forces are relatively small. They are situated many miles from these shores, and it is highly possible that many in your Lordships' House and in the country have little or no knowledge of them. Like the Territorial Army in two world wars, these small defence forces have served 233 the Crown. In the last war the Singapore Defence Force, the Malayan Defence Force and the Hong Kong Defence Force withstood the full brunt of a ruthless attack from Japan. They suffered terrible hardships in camp, but they came out will their spirits unbroken. Therefore I would submit that when we do honour to the Territorial Army we should acknowledge also the services of those defence forces.
I would submit that one cannot consider the Territorial Army in isolation, just as one cannot consider in isolation the other Regular Forces, for if one link in our chain of defence is weak our total strength is gravely imperilled. I believe we must consider the strength and the role of the Territorial Army against the background of recent military cuts, which we must all agree are causing grave disquiet amongst our N.A.T.O. Allies. By 1963 the Regular Army will be reduced to approximately 165,000 men. If National Service is concluded by that date and the recruiting target not reached, the Regular Army will be well below strength, and therefore it is a vital necessity that the first line of reserve, the Territorial Army, is brought up to its maximum establishment.
With regard to the article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph two days ago and which has been alluded to on various occasions, I would say that nothing, I believe, could be more damaging to the efforts of associations in raising volunteers than that statement, and I am sure we are very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft for giving an explanation this afternoon. We shall have to consider that very carefully. As I understand the position, there have been certain abuses in that certain personnel of the Territorial Army have been attending week-end training periods in excess of normal requirements. If these abuses have taken place, surely it only required the attention of the commanding officers to be drawn to it. Cannot the Treasury, cannot the War Office, trust the commanding officers? I understand that the position of officers and instructors will be seriously affected through these cuts.
The noble Lord, Lord Kenilworth, in a tine maiden speech this afternoon, drew your Lordships' attention to the Answer to a Written Question appearing in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the other place on 234 June 23. I should like to ask the Minister who will be replying whether it is the fact that young men between the ages of 20 and 30 can now become officers in the Territorial Army if they possess certificates A and B, but otherwise must join the ranks and obtain a satisfactory report from one camp. Does that mean that young men could come into the Territorial Army with those certificates and become officers without doing any service in the ranks? If that is so, I think it is a serious mistake. I appreciate that a young man who has got his A or B officer's certificate may know the rules and the regulationsߞhe may know his job; but it will never replace the knowledge and experience that he gains by serving in the ranks for six months or so. I think that was recognised during the last war.
I see that I have been speaking a good deal longer than I intended, but there are one or two points about which I should like to ask the Minister. The firstߞand I have given him notice of these questions —is whether the Territorial Army can be embodied or mobilised in part in the event of an emergency, for instance another Suez. If that is the case—and I believe that it is; certainly it has been hinted in the Press that it is possible—I would ask the Minister on what basis these men would be mobilised. Would they receive the same rates of pay, based on their years of service; in other words, would they be on the same basis completely as the Regular forces with whom they would be serving?
Secondly, I should like to ask the Minister whether any legislation exists to protect the interests of the volunteer, when mobilised, so far as his employment is concerned, and whether there is any existing method of assisting the volunteer and his family in the event of difficulties arising as the result of a reduction in his incomeߞdifficulties such as inability to pay house mortgage, hire purchase and educational fees. Thirdly, in the event of such mobilisation, would the Territorial units retain their separate identity, or could a Territorial soldier be subject to posting outside his Territorial unit into one of the Regular units? I think these are all important points. I have no doubt that legislation does exist, and that there is protection, but if the noble Earl 235 this afternoon could give us some information I think it would have a useful effect on the recruiting.
My last point is perhaps the most important. It has not been touched upon so far this afternoon, but I raise it against the background of a visit I made two weeks ago to the Strategic Air Command in the United States. I refer to the question of bringing the Territorial Army and our defence forces generally on to the alert. In the past, this country has always had a brief period, at least, to mobilise its reserve forces. As I understand it, in the event of a nuclear attack on this country the most warning we could anticipate, if we were attacked by bombers, is two to three hours. In the event of attack by missiles, the time would be ten to fifteen minutes. I think we should remember that the aggressor in this case will always have the initiative. It may not be possible to detect the build-up of the enemy forces, and therefore the problem of mobilising and alerting the Territorial Army arises. It is absolutely essential that the whole procedure of alerting these defences should be streamlined and made as efficient as possible.
I should like to ask the Minister who is replying to-day whether he can tell us something about the system for bringing the forces on to the alert. In view of the short warning we can anticipate, I think it is also essential that the equipment of the Territorial Army should be dispersed and deployed throughout the country; and if it is possible I believe the equipment of the Territorial units should be brought up to war establishment as soon as possible. My Lords, I think that is all the time for which I should detain your Lordships. I should like once again to join with other Members of this House in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for raising this Motion, and to be associated with all in wishing the Territorial Army "all the best" in the future.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ TILE EARL OF MALMESBURY
My Lords, I should like to add my congratulations to those four noble Lords who have addressed this House for the first time to-day. They have all, in their own very experienced way, added a great deal to this debate. I must praise the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who has moved this 236 most excellent appreciation of the Territorial Army, and I wish to join him in this appreciation. It so happens that the Territorial Army and I celebrate our Golden Jubilees virtually at the same time. I merely say this because it so happens that I have exactly 30 years' very personal knowledge of this Army, for I received my commission in 1928 and have had almost continuous service and contact ever since, first with my own old unit, and latterly with my county Territorial Auxiliary Forces Association.
I think that in expressing an appreciation one must be allowed to reminisce a little. The Force was very small in 1928. The backbone of it were the veterans from the First World War. They inspired the then younger men who were beginning to join in small numbers. In those days, I can remember two young soldiers who, every time they went to camp for their annual training, lost their jobs. There were no paid holidays in those days and there was a good deal of unemployment, but they served on and served well. I can remember the year, I think it was in 1932, in the depth of the slump, when Government economy cancelled altogether the annual camp with pay. But many from my own unitߞand it must have been the same in many other units —went to their regimental depots to continue their training.
I can remember in the mid-1930s, on one of the hottest days of the year, training on the Sussex Downs. We were in full marching order. Over the hill came a party of hikers clad only in shorts and open shirts. As soon as they saw us they started chanting, "There goes the army that will never be wanted." I remember the busy days of August, 1939. My battalion was ordered to embody a week before war broke out. Our strength was up to war establishment. The postcards summoning the men had gone out. Not a man failed to turn up on the day. Their achievement in war needs no re-telling from me. But what an adaptable army the Territorial Army is, absorbing nearly to saturation point the National Servicemen, and now, free once more in its spirit and tradition, living on for further service to the country ߞthe cheapest of armies, as many have said, and have said proudly. But I add my plea to the plea of other noble Lords: please do not let it be too cheap. Give 237 this great volunteer force the best professional advisers, and let there be sufficient of them.
My own unit was a country unit, and at one moment my own company covered three drill halls. For a brief period before the war I was attached to a London unit and the whole of that unit was under one roof. As a result, the demands on instructors were much easier than if they had had to travel to three different drill-halls for one company alone. I hope that there will also be sufficient of the right equipment and that imagination will not have to play too big a part. Give the commanding officers practical backing as well as encouragement when they lay on the tough hobby in their training.
Finally, I should like to add my plea to that of my noble friend Lord Stratheden and Campbell in mentioning the Territorial soldier's wife. Do not deprive her of her marriage allowance when her soldier husband has earned it. I say that, because there is a very pernickety regulation which says that no marriage allowance is payable unless the husband has clone three days' training. There can be no doubt in our minds that all ranks of the Territorial Army will carry out to the full the arduous duties which may be imposed upon them.
§ 5.43 p.m.
My Lords, like so many noble Lords I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for having brought forward this Motion. Like my noble friend Lord Stratheden and Campbell and others, I have never served in the Territorial Army, but in the days before the war I was fortunate enough to be associated with them. I remember that I had a very pleasant fortnight's duty commanding a demonstration platoon at what was then called "Territorial Officers' Fortnight" at Sandhurst; and on other occasions I was machine gun instructor to various Territorial Army units. What always struck me on those occasions was the intense keenness of all ranks in the Territorial Army to learn. Probably not infrequently Territorial officers and men knew more than I did, but it was always pleasant to work with them because of their great keenness to learn. I was also at the receiving end of help from the Territorial Army, for when I had the honour to command the Westminster Battalion of the Home Guard the Terri- 238 torial Army was of great assistance to me, and I believe that all Home Guard commanders invariably had extremely good, willing and quick assistance from Territorial as well as from Regular Army units.
The few points that I wish to bring forward have already been mentioned, but I feel that they deserve some emphasis. One of the most important points was that mentioned by my noble and gallant friend Lord Harding of Petherton in his splendid maiden speechߞthe importance of making certain that everyone in this country realises the need for the Territorial Army. I do not think that that can be said too often. It goes for all the Services, of course, and I do not think enough bas been said upon that. The second point is that, now that the Territorial Army knows the rôole which it is expected to perform, it is to be hoped, as my noble friend Lord Mancroft said, that they will be allowed to get on with it without any major changes in the future. Major changes are hard enough to bear in a Regular Army, when the staff and formations are there all the time; but for a Territorial Army unit, which meets infrequently and does not have so much time for training, they present a most difficult problem.
The question of equipment has been brought up several times, and was mentioned by my noble friend Lord Malmesbury. To my mind, Territorial Army equipment must be up-to-date and available. As the noble Earl said, imagination is all very well but it can be taken too far. Some of us who served in the Regular Army can remember what was called a "flagged enemy" and the Territorial Army has often had to imagine a "flagged vehicle", for I believe that such things as troop-carrying vehicles, which I understand are in very short supply, even in the Regular Army, are non-existent in the Territorial Army. When one wants to make training really stick—and nowadays troop movements are invariably quick, and troops have to be carried about ߞsomething must be done to ensure that this training can become realistic. The practice of borrowing from Regular Army units is never very popular and never really works, for nearly always if a vehicle is borrowed from the Regular Army its driver has to be taken with it, so that Territorial Army drivers never
239 get a chance. In any case I think that the Regular Army should not have this extra commitment of having to lend its precious equipment.
There are one or two other points which have been brought up and which I consider extremely important. One is the question of uniforms. We all know what a uniform means to a man, and in these days one sees men and youths walking about in extraordinary clothes. It means a great deal to young people in the Territorial Army to wear a smart uniform, and possibly we may be able to change some of the youth population of this country. When they see how smart a Territorial can look—and a Territorial Army soldier can look as smart as a Regular soldier—they may say to themselves, "Why not get out of this, and join up with the Territorial Army?" That is a point which I think is very important. The question of bands has been brought up. There again, it is hardly necessary for me to repeat the points already made. On several recent occasions when the Royal Marines beat Retreat large numbers of people went to listen-and people always flock anywhere to hear a military band. People from all parts of the world and all parts of England go to watch the Changing of the Guard day by day; and they do so largely to hear the military band. So from the point of view of morale, I think it is most important that there should be bands.
Another important point is that when pay and allowances are due to Territorial officers and men they should be paid at once, with no haggling and niggling about it. Nothing is more annoying, when you know you are entitled to money, than to have to wait and haggle about it. There is a further point that I should like to bring forward. Many noble Lords have spoken about the end of the National Serviceman in the Territorial Army. The Territorial Army is now going back to what it should be, a volunteer force, but I should not like it to go out from your Lordships' House that, as a nation, we are not grateful to the National Servicemen for what they have done ever since National Service was instituted. I think that would be a pity, and it would be untrue. We all know what a magnificent performance the National Servicemen 240 have put up, and we should have been very badly placed without them. Except for joining once more in congratulating the Territorial Army on its past, and expressing every confidence in its future, I have no more to say.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ LORD NATHAN
My Lords, we are fortunate that my noble friend Lord Ogmore has chosen so opportune an occasion for bringing before your Lordships this Resolution of congratulation, so well and roundly phrasedߞcongratulation for the past and an expression of confidence in the future. We are also fortunate to-day in that the spokesmen for Her Majesty's Government are two noble Lords who have practical experience of the Territorial Army. The noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has already spoken; he has a long experience of the Territorial Army, both in peace and in war. He is one of those to whom congratulations on the past are extended. The noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, belongs to the younger generation. I very well remember in his maiden speech in your Lordships' House his speaking with an appearance and, I believe, the reality of great authority, and certainly the reality of great and sincere interest in the needs and requirements of the Territorial Army. There could be no one more acceptable to your Lordships' House than the noble Earl, who is himself an officer on the active list of the Territorial Army, to make the final speech in this debate on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. When he speaks on behalf of Her Majesty's Government he will also on this occasion be speaking, as I believe, for the House as a whole from the Government Front Bench, for we are of one mind upon this subject.
When somewhat over fifty years ago I was gazetted to the Volunteer Force, and not long afterwards patted on the shoulder in complimentary fashion by Mr. Haldane's own hand on becoming an original officer of the Territorial Force, I could scarcely have thought then that fifty years later I should be standing here in your Lordships' House holding an appointment in that same Territorial Army and speaking on a Motion of congratulation for its half century of the past and confidence in and good wishes for its future. I think that that is an unusual experience; it is one which touches me 241 very deeply. The discussion to-day has been remarkable for the unanimity of opinion as regards both the virtues and the prospects of the Territorial Army and as to certain matters to which attention might reasonably be given in the future for removing difficulties.
I look back upon the past and I feel that what has been achieved by the Territorial Army in the last fifty years is not less than amazing. My noble friend, Lord Ogmore, spoke of the mobilisation in 1938 of the Territorial Army. Perhaps too little has been said of that; but also too little has been said of the partial mobilisation, three or four weeks before the declaration of war in 1939, of I know not how much of the Army, but at least of the regiment with which I was and am associated. In 1938, though there was no Proclamation so far as I remember, I cannot recall that there was any man absent from his place. When the regiment marched out from its headquarters in Regent's Park to its war station, it marched forth, to whatever the future might bring, complete with all its young manhood. In 1939, beginning in July, there was always a battery for the defence of London at its war station, and I cannot recall there having been any absentee there either. That is very creditable to the young manhood there represented, in that particular instance the young men of London.
It has been said by the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, that the British public must be convinced of the need for the Territorial Army. That is profoundly true. Recruiting is not particularly easy for the Regular Forces of the Crown; it is infinitely more difficult for a volunteer force, composed of men and women engaged in their civilian life in the pursuit of a livelihood and concerned, too, with those interests which are most relevant to young manhood and young womanhood. It is the establishment of a public spirit amongst the public at large favourable to a volunteer force which will be the vital factor in bringing young men and women into the Territorial Army.
I am particularly impressed by anything that comes from the lips of the noble and gallant Field Marshal. Lord Mancroft claimed some measure of reflected glory from the fact that he served 242 in the same division as the noble and gallant Field Marshal; I can make a closer claim than that, for the noble and gallant Field Marshal started his military career in the Territorial Regiment which is part of the now amalgamated regiment with which I am associated. If, as I heard him generously acknowledge, he owes something to the regiment and to the Territorial Army of the First World War, the regiment owes a great deal to him. I will tell your Lordships why. Throughout his stepping up in the heirarchy, he has kept in touch with his old Territorial regiment. Only a few weeks ago he came to an officers' dinner of his old regiment; and it was encouraging beyond anything I had imagined to find the spirit of old comradeship which the noble and gallant Field Marshal displayed and the electrifying effect it had en the minds and temper of the regiment. I might say to the noble and gallant Field Marshal that his influence is far greater than he may sometimes imagine. That sort of simple act of kindly guesthood is of infinite value.
He is not alone in keeping in touch with his Territorial regiment. I know of others who occupy places prominent in the public mind and who do the same. They may think that they are just dining for old times' sake with their own comrades. They are doing much more. They are giving prestige to the Territorial Army and they are giving confidence to those who now serve that their efforts are regarded as important.
I say to the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, who referred to recruiting, that I have watched with much interest the Press advertisements calling for recruits for Her Majesty's Forces. I congratulate those responsible on the form which those appeals take. I think that many of them have been first rate. But I enter a caveat. I think that they are useful and very likely will have the desired effect for the Regular Forces of the Crown, but I do not think that they are anything like so appropriate for the volunteer forces. These require an entirely different form of approach. I do not know whether the noble Lord remembers, but in the middle of the '30sߞI do not mean the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, who shakes his head; I know that he does not remember; he is so young that he was scarcely there; I was addressing myself to the 243 noble Lord, Lord Mancroftߞthere was great requirement for recruits for the Territorial Army. Of course, great aid was given by the fact that Hitler was impending, but the ordinary recruiting methods, whether for the Armed Forces or for civil defence, were not securing the required results.
At that time an organisation was formed which became known as the National Defence Public Interests Committee, to which, as occasion arose, the War Office would appeal for help in securing recruits. Whenever the Director General of the Territorial Army, who at that time was a member of the Army Council, had a particular unit which he wished to fill, at all events in London or the Home Counties, he would come to the chairman of that committee and ask him to find the recruits. Probably the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, will remember something of this. Methods that were entirely new at that time were adopted, and the results were remarkable. I suggest that it might be worth while looking up the War Office records of that time to see whether there is anything to be learned from that experience.
I agree with what has been said by the noble Earl, Lord Malmesbury, and the noble Viscount, Lord Goschen, with regard to wives. We really must remember the wives. A tremendous amount depends upon the good will of the wives. I know of one commanding officer whose Territorial duties always kept him away from home and his wife complained bitterly that she never saw him. He retired; and now his wife complains bitterly that she does not know what to do with him. However I suppose a happy medium can be found.
The noble Lord, Lord Kenilworth, in a notable maiden speech upon which I join in congratulating him, spoke of methods of recruitment in the provinces. I am unable to say anything about that, for my own experience is limited to London and its neighbourhood, but I can well understand that in the new towns, for instance, the experience to which he referred might be of great advantage.
I wonder whether the noble Lord opposite has thought of reverting to the practice to which my noble friend Lord Ogmore referred, of having someone at the War Office who would be there by 244 the side of the Director of the Territorial Army. There was, of course, a Deputy-Director General in the person of General Sir John Brown, a devoted Territorial, who died only the other day. He was never really quite accepted in that capacity at the War Office. Listening to the noble Duke, the Duke of Norfolk, who is the Chairman of the Council of Territorial Associations, it occurred to me to wonder whether some particular member of that Council might not be invited to be, not perhaps so much in an official capacity as informally, adviser on civilian aspects of recruiting and other matters relating to the Territorial Army, which is something different from any other part of the Armed Forces with which the Service Departments are concerned.
In the course of to-day's discussion it has been said that the Territorials are part-time soldiersߞpart-time indeed but also pastime; and it is important that conditions should be created for the Territorial Army which would give them not merely confidence in their day-to-day military work but also satisfaction and enjoyment in the general military environment in which they may find themselves.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord would let me interrupt him on the important point he has raised about getting proper advice on Territorial conditions at the War Office? There is the opposite point of view, which is the one that I have held. If there is one Territorial officer in the War Office to advise, he will not be an expert on everything. If, on the other hand, the Regular soldier who is filling the post is free to consult the best Territorial opinion on any subject that he may find, he is even better off than he would be with a full-time Territorial adviser.
§ LORD NATHAN
Naturally there is great force in what the noble Viscount says, as there is in everything he says upon a subject upon which he is so much of an expert. I think, however, that there is a difference between leaving the Director of the Territorial Army open to consult whom he will and there being somebody whose duty it is to be there to be consulted, and to consult whom the Director has a duty or responsibility. It is a question not so much of the civilian 245 actually concerned but of the relations between the two; it might work better in one way than the other. I merely throw that out as a suggestion that is worth considering.
One can make great mistakes about recruiting. The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, who, so far as I remember, had a responsibility in this respect, may remember that when I was at the War Office and he was one of its most distinguished officers the order of battle of the Territorial Army was being arranged and discussed amongst us; and it was presented to me as including a parachute brigade. I took the view that the Territorial Army was not suited to have a parachute brigade and there would be very few recruits from the civilian army to fill it. I felt that these young men could not afford to run the risk of breaking art arm or leg or neck; their civilian work was so important to them that they could not afford to be put out of action. I can tell your LordshipsߞI think it is most creditable to the Territorial Army, though perhaps discreditable to me—that I was absolutely wrong about that. Of all the units within the Territorial Army, the one that was filled first and has remained full all the time has been the parachute brigade. I think that that is worth recording, because, in my view, it is infinitely creditable to the civilian soldiers.
An old man speaking of experiences extending over a long period can easily outrun his welcome, and I will say little more. I join with those who say that equipment should be up to date in all its various aspects. It is not only incongruous to ask young men to give their time to public service of this kind unless you provide them with the proper equipment for the purpose, but unwise, and perhaps dangerous not so to provide them, in another respect. Differently from the war conditions of the past, it may well happen in the war with which we might be confronted in the future that the only weapons they will ever have will be those they have upon the outbreak of war. I will not enlarge upon that, because it is obvious. I would only say that it seems to me essential that they should be armed at the earliest possible moment that the arms can be provided, with the weapons they will be required to use in the event of war suddenly coming upon us; because it must be assumed that if war does come upon us, it will come suddenly.
246 I am a little disturbed about the reference that has been made to a reduction of payment for training outside the annual camp and the week-day drills. The week-end camp in the Territorial Army is of great importance, first of all for training purposes, and also because it brings these lads together, gives them an opportunity of getting to know one another and creates mutual confidence. I do not like the idea of a commanding officer having to say to a keen young man: "No, you cannot have a week-end training because the money will not run to it." I think we should make every effort to see that there shall never be a "No" to a keen young man who is anxious to pursue his training. After all, he is there in the public interest; let us help him.
In joining with the rest of your Lordships in supporting this Motion, and doing so with an infinitely warm feeling, looking back upon so long an association with the Territorial Army, I should like to give your Lordships a small quotation. It is from Trevelyan's English Social History. It is:Another sign of the self-respect and self-reliance of the English common folk was training for military service. It was only during the long period of peace after Waterloo that men began to regard it as part of English liberty not to be trained for defence. In all previous ages the opposite and more national idea prevailed.The history of the Territorial Army of the last fifty years is full of records of achievement and courage and glory. We may be fully confident in passing this Motion that the record of the Territorial Army of to-day will also be one of achievement and courage and glory.
§ 6.17 p.m.
My Lords, before I have the honour of replying on behalf of Her Majesty's Government to the Motion which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has put down to congratulate the Territorial Army, with your Lordships' permission I should like from this Dispatch Box to sayߞand I think I may say it on behalf of the Territorial Army ߞhow much we appreciate the honour that Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family paid to the Territorial Army by carrying out the inspection and review in Hyde Park and in other places this week-end. Her Majesty The Queen Mother inspected the Irish contingent of the Territorial Army in Northern Ireland, 247 which was a magnificent parade, and Her Majesty The Queen will be inspecting the Scottish contingents in a fortnight's time at Holyrood. I am sure that the Territorial Army feel it a great honour that the Royal Family should in this way recognise the importance of the need for the Territorial Army:
I feel that we must also congratulate London District and the staffs who made possible such a parade for Londoners and your Lordships to see on that Sunday. I saw from the back regions a little of the preparation that is required for such a gathering, and I think Her Majesty's Government and my right honourable friend must in a considerable way be due for congratulation for foreseeing the Golden Jubilee Celebration such a long time away, as they must have done to make it the success it undoubtedly was. I think that, finally, thanks are due to all the Regular soldiers who carried out the duties as marshals and instructors to the Territorial Army for the purposes of that particular parade. I have no doubt that it will be a long time before ordinary people such as ourselves will again be addressed in this manner: "Gentlemen will you please move to your right" or "to your left" by Guards' sergeant-majors. I only hope that they saw and feltߞwhich I am certain they did—a little of the spirit that was there on that great and magnificent parade, which it was such an honour to have been in.
So many of your Lordships to-day have mentioned the rôle of the Territorial Army that. before I go further, in order to clear up certain other things I have to say, I think I should mention that rôle. The noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, who made such a magnificent maiden speech to your Lordships, and whom I know your Lordships will wish to hear on many occasions in the future, referred especially to this rôle. My Lords, there can be no concrete rôle. We cannot say exactly what each Territorial serviceman will do, but the general rôle is, I believe, very well known and definite indeed, as the noble and gallant Lord said. The Territorial Army is training a reserve of organised and disciplined manpower. Come nuclear war, come a strategic war, come any sort of war or defence requirement, that kind of body will always be 248 required, whether it is abroadߞwhich is possibleߞor whether it is at home; and at present, if one envisaged a nuclear war, it would seem most likely that such a body would be required at home.
I believe that it is the duty of all of us to emphasise the need for home defence, and to bring it out of the somewhat Cinderella state in which it has unfortunately been regarded for the past few years by some of the Territorial Army and also by the country as a whole. We must appreciate that home defence will be a role that any organised and disciplined body of manpower will be required to carry out, whether they be Regular soldiers, Territorial Army, A.E.R., Royal Navy or Royal Air Force; and there may or may not be time to call them out according to the rules. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the noble Lord, Lord Stratheden and Campbell, also were concerned with this rôle of the Territorial Army. No particular type of war can be envisaged, and providing the Territorial Army can be organised and disciplined, as indeed it is to-day, and can be strengthened on the lines so many of your Lordships have mentioned, that role will indeed have been fulfilled.
On behalf of Her Majesty's Government and my right honourable friend, I beg to thank the noble Duke, the Duke of Norfolk, for his contribution to the debate in your Lordships' House to-day. The Association to which the noble Duke has given so much time and thought is very much to be credited for the success not only of the Golden Jubilee celebrations but also of the Territorial Army to which all your Lordships have given such kind credit. Without the hard work done in the back regions by such as the noble Duke and his fellow Presidents, and by chairmen of Territorial Army associations, such a reserve of manpower as I have mentioned would not be possible to-day. I feel quite certain that your Lordships' House will indeed be proud, reading the list of people attending the Territorial Army dinner over the week-end, to see so many names included as chairmen or presidents or high officers of their various associations, just as we have heard of noble Lords who have been speaking in the debate to-day.
My Lords, I have taken uniform as my third point, because nearly every noble 249 Lord who has spoken in the debate has mentioned uniforms for the Territorial Army. As we heard in the last debate on the Regular Army, it is by no means certain exactly what sort of uniform the Regular Army will wear. User trials are being carried out in certain units of the Regular Army, and when a decision has been made a uniform will be provided. Until that decision has been made, it is impossible to provide a set uniform, other than battledress, for the Territorial Army. I regret that this irritating and trying period of waiting for the Territorial Army and the Regular Army alike must continue. Meanwhile, of course, bands have already been issued with No. 1 dress in the Territorial Army. I can assure your Lordships that my right honourable friend very much appreciates what a smart uniform does to attract volunteers, especially a uniform which embodies all the traditions and peculiarities of regiments when they are on parade.
I have no doubt that any of your Lordships who saw the parade last Sunday will have seen practically every adaptation and peculiarity there can be in uniform, let alone No. 1 dress. I do congratulate whoever it was in London District who allowed the order to go through that Territorial Army regiments would wear what they were accustomed to wearing; because, of course, in the first place, every unit and officer and man would wear exactly the same. Had that order been held to, there is no doubt that every member of the Territorial Army, each regiment, would have worn exactly what its Colonel decided he would wear.
§ LORD LAWSON
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Earl, but is there any limit to the time when the Territorials are going to wear the armband? They have to wear the armband in the meantime while the uniform is being made.
We have progressed a long way from that. Battle-dress will still continue to be issued, with the regimental badges or flashes which the regiment wears. I think we have advanced further than armbands. It is the No. 1 dress I am referring to. Meanwhile, of course, any member of the Territorial Army may purchase his own No. 1 dress, should he so wish, and is not prevented from wearing it on any 250 suitable occasion when No. 1 dress should be worn. The noble Lords, Lord Kenilworth, Lord Ogmore, Lord Goschen and Lord Milner of Leeds, all mentioned this question of dress, and I have no doubt that the feeling of your Lordships' House as to whether No. 1 dress is a smart dress, together with the feelings of the Territorial Army, and no doubt the watchers of that parade, will to a considerable extent influence the opinion of my right honourable friend at such time as a decision is made.
§ LORD OGMORE
Before the noble Earl leaves the question of uniform would he comment upon the statement I made (I had authority for it), that all the uniforms at the review have been, or are going to be, "whipped away" from the Territorial Army and put into Regular store? Is that correct, and, if so, cannot that decision be reversed?
I am grateful to the noble Lord for bringing that point to my notice; I was going to comment on it. At present the members of the Territorial Army who were on that parade have their uniforms, but they are to go back to the central store for re-issue to Regular Army or other units. It is not possible to issue those uniforms to the Territorial Army until a decision has been made as to what the Regular Army will be wearing.
§ LORD OGMORE
Is it not a fact that this is a most pinchbeck attitude on the part of the Government? Here is the Jubilee parade, celebrating fifty years of the Territorial Army; and the men who turn out on it cannot keep the uniforms they wore with the special insignia of the units; they must go back into the general store. We may be poor, but surely we are not as poor as all that.
There must be many members of the Territorial Army and of your Lordships' House who feel the same way as does the noble Lord opposite, but it is not possible to issue these uniforms to the Territorial Army until the further decision has been made for the Regular Army.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, asked if it was desirable for officers to have service in the ranks. The officers' training corps will be of even greater importance now that National Service is ending. The officers' training corps were formed, first 251 of all, in 1908 and, together with the Territorial Army, are celebrating their Golden Jubilee this year. There are sixteen major universities which run officers' training corps and which have 1,780 male members and 332 women members. Unfortunately, as National Service has already begun to taper away for young men, these officers' training corps have lost in the last two years a considerable number of their recruits and members. It is hoped, however, that, with the new entry of young officers to the Territorial Army which my noble friend Lord Mancroft has described, new life will be given to the officers' training corps, which will provide certificates A and B for potential young officers.
As for the point that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, raised, about a young officer or a young potential officer joining the ranks, no doubt that would be, to a large extent, a matter for the individual concerned and his commanding officer. If the commanding officer thought that he should for a period go through the ranks, no doubt he would tell such an officer that he would have to do so.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Would the noble Earl not agree that it was felt at the beginning of the last war that a young officer, or a young potential officer, should serve in the ranks? It should not be left to the choice of the commanding officer or of the individual. I think that, as a matter of principle, a man should serve at least a short period in the ranks, particularly in a volunteer and practically civilian Army, to understand the rankers' position.
I think the reason for that would be that officers were then made up virtually like the results of the operation of a sausage machine. This plan will cover such a small number that already they will be almost handpicked at the start. I have no doubt, too, that the first word a colonel would say to such a potential officer (as, indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Kenilworth, told me, before he made his excellent maiden speech, was his method) would be to ask the roan whether he had been to an officers' training corps and if he said, "No," the colonel would say, "Go and join one." I suspect that that would be the sort of method that would be used when a potential officer joined a unit.
252 I am sure your Lordships welcome the fact that it will be possible to bring into the Territorial Army a young officer, which of course at the present time, until National Service ceases, is quite impossible. We hope that the officers' training corps in the universities will begin to build up a new strength and a new lease of life, because, with these officers' training corps in the universities begins Army interest and pre-Service training for any undergraduate who may be considering joining the Regular Army, especially as a highly technical officer, of whom so many are needed and will be needed in the Territorial Army of the future.
Several noble Lords mentioned the importance of the Cadet Forces, especially now that National Service is reaching the conclusion of its life. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, particularly referred to this point, although I think he must have had in mind the naval point of view. But I am sure that all your Lordships will appreciate what he meant when he said that it was extremely important that young men or boys should be given the right idea for joining in the service of their country and learning about the discipline under which they will have to serve. As your Lordships know, my noble and gallant friend Lord Bridgeman has done much for the Cadet Force throughout the country. Your Lordships will appreciate the success that he made of it during the last war. Anything that noble Lords in your Lordships' House to-day, and those noble Lords who are listed at the Territorial Army Dinner, can do to strengthen the membership both of the Army Cadet Force and the Combined Cadet Forces will have a direct bearing on the strength and the health of the Territorial Army in the near future, when National Service ends.
I think I should refer your Lordships to the Amery Report, which says that all future officer cadets must pass a selection board of four members. That is an innovation, and it will mean a good deal to the standard of instructors which the Army Cadet Force is able to employ. In regard to the C.C.F., the instructors are mainly schoolmasters, so that the difficulty of providing instruction with C.C.F. units is not, as a rule, quite so great.
I would now beg your Lordships' indulgence while I congratulate, on behalf 253 of your Lordships and my right honourable friend, all the women's services who took and are taking part, in the Golden Jubilee celebrations. This year is the Territorial Army Golden Jubilee. The Auxiliary Territorial Serviceߞthe old A.T.S.—is approaching its twenty-first birthday. This Service was formed in 1939, with a target of 20,000 women, to be recruited to augment the manpower of our forces and to make more men available for fighting. At the outbreak of war, when hardy a year had gone by, 17,600 members had already enlisted in the A.T.S. Surely that must be a record for recruiting for any body of a national defence organisation of its sort, even bearing in mind the terrible emergency of the time. At the peak period of its strength, the A.T.S. had 210,000 members.
There is no need to emphasise the tremendous value and the help given by the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and, indeed, all the women's corps, to the Services with whom they were working. In 1947, Vie A.T.S. formed its Territorial Army Associate. In 1949, the A.T.S. was converted to the Women's Royal Army Corps, and it, too, has its Territorial Army Associate units. It is said that girls grow up or mature more quickly than young men do. Certainly it would seem to be so in the case of the Women's Royal Army Corps, for already it has decidedߞand firmly decided, I understandߞon exactly what sort of uniform its members are going to wear. They like it; they look smart in it, and I understand that it is a considerable recruiting draw to the women's Services.
I am quite certain that every one of your Lordships would wish to congratulate the members of the Women's Royal Army Corps on their turnout and their marching on the parade, and to commiserate with them on what must have been a most difficult and trying experience of marching in such weather conditions. Her Majesty's Government and my right honourable friend will be most grateful for anything your Lordships may be able to do to help recruit more women to the Women's Royal Army Corps or, by means of local Territorial Army associations, to help units to become strongerߞbecause more women than ever before are wanted in the Territorial Army to stand ready should at emergency occur.
254 There is one part of the Women's Services that receives but little publicity and which I wish to bring to your Lordships' attention. That is the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Your Lordships may remember seeing them in their very smart grey uniforms on the recent parade. This is a very small band of woman, numbering not many more than a hundred throughout the country, and their position is extremely difficult. It is almost an all-officer unit, yet to qualify to become an officer—that is, a nursing sister—in the Corps, three years' full-time training as a nursing sister is required. There must he very few women able to carry out such training, and even those who are able to do so may be earmarked, as a qualified sister, perhaps for the special services which her hospital provides. Any help that any of your Lordships may be able to give through Territorial Army associations, or such influence as your Lordships may have in providing more nurses, whether as fully trained officer sisters or other ranks for the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps will be of tremendous assistance and greatly appreciated by Her Majesty's Government and my right honourable friend. For training, this Corps is attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps hospitals, and its members have fortnightly training throughout the course of the year in exactly the same way as the rest of the Territorial Army.
My Lords, before the noble Earl leaves the ladies may I take it that he would wish to include in his congratulations to members of the Women's Corps that very fine Corps, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanryߞknown as the Fannies "ߞwhich did particularly fine work in the last war?
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Rea, for bringing the "Fannies" to your Lordships' attention. In practice, of course, they are no longer in existence and are not part of the Territorial Army; but they played a wonderful part.
§ THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
My Lords, with the greatest respect to the noble Earl, may I say that the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry are in existence. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice inspected them last week or the week before.
My Lords, with all due respect to the noble Lord, I believe they must exist only on paper. I believe that they are not recognised as part of the Territorial Army. However, that makes no difference to the magnificent part they played in the last war, as the noble Lord. Lord Rea, has said.
Many noble Lords, including my noble friends Lord Goschen and Lord Malmesbury, referred to the equipment of the Territorial Army. It is true that equipment is never exactly what any serving soldier would like it to be; but it is fair to say, first, that the scale of equipment of any Territorial Army unit is as good as it possibly can be; and, secondly, that it is sufficient to enable reasonable training to be carried out at unit strength. My right honourable friend will take all the trouble he possibly can to make certain that equipment will be made available to the Territorial Army.
The noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, referred to the permanent staff position of Territorial Army units and especially to the fact that in most cases training majors may be withdrawn from units. With more Regular Army commitments throughout the world, and with the rundown taking effect, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Regular Army parent units to provide permanent staff for their Territorial Army units. Territorial Army units are most grateful for the great efforts being made by parent units to provide any permanent staff.
In the view of my right honourable friend, however, the least essential category of permanent staff (though perhaps that is not quite the way to put it) provided by Regular Army units is the training major; and those are the personnel who can most easily be dispensed with. It is true, however, that even though the National Service commitment is gradually drawing to a close the rôle of the Army is becoming more and more complicated; and with commanding officers having still less time to deal with such problems, it may still be necessary to retain the services of the training major. If it should be shown in the near future that the training major should be regarded as indispensable there will, of course, be reconsideration of the matter by my right honourable friend. At present, there are 959 permanent officers 256 and 3,832 other ranks administering Territorial Army units in headquarters formations and as instructors, which is a fairly small administrative and instructive force for an Army of 84,600. But I would assure the noble and gallant Field Marshal that that matter will be under review in the near future, should it be seen that the training major is required in Territorial Army units. I will certainly bear in mind the point made by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stratheden and Campbell, with regard to scattered units, especially with regard to the Highlands, and will bring it before my right honourable friend.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, like the noble and gallant Field Marshal, was especially concerned with the mobilisation plans. Under Section 23 of the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953, a Royal Proclamation must be read before any reserve forces can be called out for permanent service. A Royal Proclamation may or may not be able to be read, but that is the law of the land. Territorial Army and other Auxiliary Forces can then be called out for permanent service, at home or overseas, or for any other service. Under Section 25 of the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953, however, a Secretary of State may call out forces of the Territorial Army for home defence only without such a Proclamation, and therefore it is quite obvious that although Territorial Army units may be earmarked for overseas or home service they cannot be used as such until all the provisions of the 1953 Act have been comlied with.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, asked how such mobilisation would be accomplished. In fact, the main method, as noble Lords will be aware, is by Post Office registered letter or telegram or telephone or any other such method as can be used through the Post Office. Obviously, that may or may not be practicable in such situations as the noble Lord opposite was envisaging, in which case, as is the case at present, every commanding officer must have a plan, and that plan must include a method of calling out his own volunteer members. He has their names and addresses. If his telephone is out of order or if his local post office is out of order he will have to use some other method. He must have a plan by which 257 to call them should he be so ordered, whether under Section 25 or Section 23 of the Auxiliary Services Act.
§ LORD OGMORE
As this is a modern age, what about a more modern method, such as by television or radio? Is it not possible to call them out by that means and is it not a much easier method? The other method relies on all the members having telephones, which I very much doubt.
My Lords, it is possible that the stations would be out of order. One can imagine that it would not really be safe to rely on such a method. It would be up to the commanding officer to call out and to collect together his own volunteers should such emergencies exist.
§ LORD OGMORE
I do not wish to detain the noble Earl, but it is rather important. Presumably the sixth battalion of the Loamshire Fusiliers, for example, are not likely to be called out on their own. If anybody is to be called out it will probably involve a pretty big proportion of the Territorial Army, as it did in 1938. In those circumstances, is it not rather idle to think of commanding officers solemnly trying to ring up men all over the place? Would it not be through radio or television that a blanket call-up could be made?
My Lords, it has been known for some time that newspapers and all methods could be used or would he used should such an emergency exist. I am saying what the normal method would be, and supposing normal facilities were not available what steps would then be taken, as they would be taken in a plan at the lowest unit level.
The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, paid a special tribute to the National Servicemen and to the Class Z men who have done so much in the service of the country in war time and also in the Territorial Army. The noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Harding of Petherton, will indeed know what the service has been, and realises fully the services that these National Servicemen have rendered. Now the Territorial Army goes forward to be an all volunteer force in the new era that is arriving. I should like just to add my thanks to those of the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, for the service that the National Servicemen and the Class Z men have done under 258 the old réegime, or the régime from 1947, for the Territorial Army.
As we move forward into the new volunteer period, the period which the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, has mentioned and compared to the period of his time, I believe that the Territorial Army will be, as ever, prepared and, as ever, ready to carry out the great services to which so many of your Lordships have referred in the course of the debate. Lastly, I want only to thank the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for initiating this debate, and all the other noble Lords who have taken part in it and given such inspiration to the Territorial Army by their speeches; to congratulate the noble Lords who have made their maiden speeches upon the Territorial Army; and to thank them for their great contribution, which I know will be read most carefully by those to whom the Territorial Army means so much.
§ On Question, Resolution agreed to, nemine dissentiente.