HL Deb 13 May 1982 vol 430 c412WA
Lord Gisborough

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether it is intended to call out any United Kingdom reservists in connection with the situation in the Falkland Islands.

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Viscount Trenchard)

It is not expected that any large-scale call out of Reserves will be needed, but, to provide adequate numbers of personnel with special skills and recent experience to man the additional warships that are being brought forward from refit, and to provide additional naval personnel required on the merchant ships requisitioned from trade, it may soon become necessary to start a selective call out for service of a small number of specialists from the Royal Naval and Royal Marine reservists. This is likely to be confined to members of the Special Class of the Royal Fleet Reserve—that is, ratings and Royal Marine other ranks who have left full-time service during the last 12 months—and a small number of senior ratings who have recently left the Navy on immediate pension (the latter class would be required mainly for instructional duties in order to release regulars for other tasks).

Present plans envisage that up to about 300 may be involved in due course. The need for Reserve officers is unlikely at present to go beyond a requirement for some medical officers for periods of four to six months. The provisions of the Order in Council made on 27th June 1962 are, however, being extended by a new Order in Council to call out other officers if this becomes necessary. The requirement for Royal Navy and Royal Marine Reserves will be reviewed as the situation develops and, where possible, suitable volunteers will be selected. It may also be possible to accept small numbers of suitable volunteers with recent experience in the reserve or regular forces for very short engagements of six months or one year in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. These arrangements are additional to the normal call out of reservists for routine training, which will continue. Parliament will be kept informed as necessary.

House adjourned at twenty-seven minutes before eleven o'clock.