HC Deb 03 December 1958 vol 596 cc141-2W
90. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the contemplated end of National Service, he will make a statement about the future of the Mobile Defence Corps.

Mr. Soames

Yes. The Mobile Defence Corps was formed in 1955 as a mobile force trained in Civil Defence techniques to support local Civil Defence organisations and link the civil and military efforts in this field. Most of its members were National Service men in the reserve forces.

With the end of part-time training of National Service men, and the prospective end of National Service itself, it has become clear that a Mobile Defence Corps consisting solely of volunteers will not be able to carry out its tasks.

In these circumstances I have decided, with regret, that I should advise the Queen that the Corps should be disbanded at the end of February, 1959. To give the essential assistance to Civil Defence, artillery and infantry units of the T.A. will be given advanced training in Civil Defence techniques. One year's camp in every four starting next year will be set aside for the purpose. These duties will be additional to the present fighting rôle of the T.A. units concerned. They will not replace it and will not alter any unit's organisation.

I know the House will join with me in paying tribute to the volunteer members of the Mobile Defence Corps. The methods which they have developed will be of great value to the T.A. units which take up the task. They have also engendered a spirit of close co-operation between the Army and Civil Defence authorities and this will be maintained and fostered under the new arrangements.

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