HL Deb 04 December 1967 vol 287 c520WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the strength of the personnel in the combined three Armed Forces and of the personnel of those who joined the Forces below the age of 17½ years; and how many of the latter appealed for discharge on compassionate grounds during 1966 and how many appeals were granted.


The strengths of male other ranks in the Armed Forces at 1st October, 1967, were:—

Royal Navy, 81,000;

Army, 169,000;

Royal Air Force, 96,000.

The percentage of personnel in these strengths, who joined below the age of 17½ years, is estimated to be:—

Royal Navy, 68 per cent.;

Army, 30 per cent.;

Royal Air Force, 20 per cent.

It is not possible without very considerable research to provide accurate figures in answer to the questions about compassionate discharges. We have however estimated that in 1966 some 500 men who had joined under 17½ years of age were discharged on compassionate grounds.

House adjourned at eleven o'clock.