HC Deb 27 October 1919 vol 120 cc301-2W
Brigadier-General WIGAN

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether it has been decided to grant commissions in the Regular Army to the Special Reserve and Territorial Force and temporary officers who have been recommended for the same, and when a decision on this subject is likely to be announced; (2) if it is intended to reduce the establishment at Woolwich and Sandhurst with a view to absorbing surplus Regular officers, Territorial Force officers, and temporary officers into the Regular Army?


The desire of the Army Council in this matter is to secure for the Regular Army the best of the war-seasoned non-Regular officers, while at the same time safeguarding the interests of Regular and non-Regular officers. But it must be recognised that a complex administrative problem of considerable magnitude is involved. Over 16,000 permanent commissions in the Regular Army were given during the War, of which 6,700 were promotions from the ranks. The consequence is that of the officers at present serving in the Regular Army 4,500, at the lowest estimate, are surplus to establishment. It is possible that this estimated surplus includes many non-effective officers, and officers who intend to retire; but it is clear that until the after-war establishment of the Army has been determined and our resources and requirements of officers can be estimated with precision, it is not possible to come to any decision on the applications that have been received from temporary officers, to the number of over 3,000, for permanent commissions in the Regular Army. In any event it would be misleading to hold out hopes of any but a very small proportion of these applications being successful. I appreciate to the full the inconvenience caused to individual applicants by the delay in reaching a decision, hut in the difficult circumstances I have defined some delay is unavoidable. It must also be recognised that of those who have already been given permanent commissions during the War and are now surplus to establishment, a considerable proportion have had exceptional war service and posse is claims similar in character to those whose applications are now awaiting consideration.