HC Deb 24 October 1961 vol 646 cc88-9W
Mr. Mason

asked the Secretary of State for War what plans he has made for satisfactorily accommodating the additional Army personnel and their families in the event of the British Army of the Rhine being brought up to strength, either because of an emergency, or a more rapid build-up than hitherto planned; and to what extent he intends creating better and more social facilities for all concerned.

Mr. Profumo

I am satisfied that barrack accommodation in Germany is adequate for the full strength of the British Army of the Rhine. Steady progress is being made in the provision of married quarters. Social facilities are of a high standard.

Captain Kerby

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he is taking to bring the British Army of the Rhine up to fully operational strength, in view of the manpower and equipment shortages and other weakness exposed by Exercise Spearpoint.

Mr. Profumo

In response to SACEUR'S request for the strengthening of his forces, Her Majesty's Government have already taken certain measures to reinforce B.A.O.R. 36 S.A.G.W. Regiment, R.A., was moved to Germany in September. 22 L.A.A. Regiment, R.A., and Headquarters 7 A.G.R.A. (A.A.) are now in process of moving to Germany, and 16 L.A.A. Regiment, and an additional locating unit will follow later. These are the reinforcements for which the Commander-in-Chief B.A.O.R. has asked to improve the immediate operational capability of his forces; other individual reinforcements of specialists are being sent in order to maintain a balanced force in Germany which could rapidly be brought up to full war strength in an emergency. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence has recently explained, it is not the Government's policy to maintain B.A.O.R. at its full war strength in peace time. Should the situation require it, there would be a proclamation and mobilisation, and reinforcement plans exist for speedily putting B.A.O.R. on a full war footing.

As regards equipment, considerable progress has been made with the introduction of new weapons in the past two years, and further improvements are planned. Re-equipment is a continuing process; but I am satisfied that B.A.O.R. is fully capable of giving a good account of itself with the equipment it now has.