HC Deb 18 March 1925 vol 181 c2283W

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps does he propose taking to prevent boys enlisting into the Army under age and without their parents' consent; will he amend the special instructions to King's Regulations to release such boys who are serving on production of the birth certificate by the parent; and will he make the production of the birth certificate qualification for all future enlistments into the Army as is required by the police and Civil Service authorities?


Under the Recruiting Regulations (paragraph 91) a boy may not be enlisted as such without the written consent of his parents or guardians. As regards recruits presenting themselves for enlistment as men, there is a standing instruction (paragraph 66, Recruiting Regulations) that where there is the slightest suspicion that the recruit is under the age of 18, full inquiries are to be made before his enlistment is finally approved. A soldier who is found to be under 17 years of age when an application is made for his discharge, is not held to serve; if he is over 17 years of age he is held to servo except where in special cases a discharge is sanctioned on compassionate grounds. I do not consider that it is practicable to go further and insist on the production of birth certificates before enlistment without hardship and expense to intending recruits.