HC Deb 11 February 1941 vol 368 cc1231-2W
Mr. Frankel

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can now state the result of his inquiries into the action of a colonel at zone headquarters, Home Guard, with respect to the selection of officers?

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to a letter sent by Colonel Woods of zone headquarters, Home Guard, to all group and mobile battalion commanders under his command, enclosing copies of the recent letter of Lieut.-Colonel R. C. Bingham to the Press and indicating that Lieut.-Colonel Bingham's views should be borne in mind in selecting men for commissions in the Home Guard; and whether he will give an assurance that this officer will be replaced by one prepared to ensure that Home Guard officers will be selected on merit alone and issue an instruction to all the group and mobile battalion commanders to whom this letter was sent that it must be disregarded in the letter and spirit when making these selections?

Captain Margesson

My inquiries into this matter are not yet completed. It is an instruction to the Selection Boards which recommend appointments to commissions in the Home Guard that officers will be chosen primarily for their powers of leadership and the confidence they are likely to inspire in all ranks, and that business, social or political prominence will not be regarded as a qualification in this respect. The Command concerned in this case has been directed to draw the particular attention of the Selection Board to the instruction I have referred to, and has been asked for its recommendation regarding the zone commander. As soon as a decision has been reached, I will circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Major Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, as members of the Home Guard are to be compensated for loss of wages if general mobilisation for whole time emergency service in the event of an invasion should take place, he can give an assurance that similar compensation will be paid to members of the Home Guard on duty who are detained during working hours for fire fighting or other similar duties?

Captain Margesson

It is intended that compensation for loss of wages, under the general conditions applicable to Civil Defence volunteers, shall be paid to members of the Home Guard who are detailed for fire-fighting or similar duties as part of their Home Guard duty and lose wages in consequence of being detained on such duties with due authority. It is, however, hoped that the occasions on which such interference with a man's normal occupation arises will be very exceptional.