HC Deb 11 May 1939 vol 347 cc714-5W
Sir J. Smedley Crooke

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the growing disappointment felt by ex-service men owing to the conditions of joining the National Defence Companies which expects them to bind themselves for four years' service for the sum of 1s. per drill for a maximum number of six drills per annum plus travelling expenses of about 6d. per drill, no uniform or equipment provided, and no provision for any camps; and will he consider the advisability of revising the Regulations on a more equitable basis?

Sir V. Warrender

Until very recently, the personnel of National Defence Companies were enrolled subject to an undertaking to serve in emergency, and had no duties or emoluments in peace. They are now to be commissioned or enlisted in peace as part of the Territorial Army Reserve, and are required to perform six drills a year, which is considered sufficient training. Payment for drills and travelling expenses is on the same basis as for the Territorial Army generally.

Officers are required to equip themselves with certain articles of uniform for which they receive a grant. For other ranks, clothing, personal equipment and arms are being provided and fitted, but will not be issued in peace. If called up for service, they will all receive normal pay and allowances.

The National Defence Companies afford to the ex-service man over 45 years of age an opportunity of offering himself for very important duties in emergency, with little disturbance of his normal occupation in peace, and I know of no good cause for disappointment or for a revision of the Regulations.