Recruits.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 3rd May 1938.

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Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

asked the Secretary of State for War the number of applicants for enlistment in the Regular Army in the quarter ended 31st March, 1938, and the number of these men approved as recruits; and how these figures compare with those for the corresponding months in 1937?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

The number of applicants for enlistment in the Regular Army in the first quarter of this year was 16,701. In the corresponding quarter of last year it was 13,830. The numbers accepted in these periods were 10,504 this year, and 7,116 last year.

Photo of Mr Thomas Kennedy Mr Thomas Kennedy , Kirkcaldy District of Burghs

Have the War Office any information regarding the number of applicants for enlistment who were unemployed at the time?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

I have not the information at the moment, but the majority of those who enlisted were in employment before they enlisted.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is the Army attracting a better quality of men now that they are being given an increased wage, as shown on the tape to-day?

Vice-Admiral Taylor:

Is it not the fact that they have a very good job now?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

The quality of all people in this country is getting better and better.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is it because they are getting butter instead of margarine?

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of the applicants for enlistment were approved as recruits in the quarter ended 31st March, 1938; and how this figure compares with the percentage in the same quarter in 1937?

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Does that mean that the percentage of applicants accepted is going up; and does my right hon. Friend consider that by the end of the year he will have made up the present shortage in the armed forces?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

The answer to the first half of the supplementary question is that the percentage of applicants has, I am glad to say, gone up. With regard to the future, I would not be so indiscreet as to be precise, but more and more men are enlisting every week as compared with last year.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Will my right hon. Friend consider giving some further inducements in order to get the larger number of recruits which is still necessary in order to make up the shortage this year? Does he think he will reach the number of 54,000 recruits required this year to complete the establishment?

Mr. Hare-Belisha:

In every respect conditions in the Army are improved and improving.

Photo of Mr Robert Taylor Mr Robert Taylor , Morpeth

Would the percentage have been the same had the standard been maintained, instead of having been, as I understand, lowered?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

I could not say without notice, but I do not admit that the standard has been lowered. It has been revised in accordance with common sense, but that revision is not in itself responsible for the increase, which is a substantive increase.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

asked the Secretary of State for War what number of men were approved as recruits in the first quarter of the present year who would not have been accepted under the standards, medical and otherwise, in force previous to last autumn?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

The common sense changes which have been made in the medical and other standards for recruits secured for the Army during the first quarter of this year an extra 1,733 men, out of a total of 10,504 accepted.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

Does this number given by the right hon. Gentleman include the older men, who would not formerly have been accepted, and married men, as well as men with less qualifications as regards hearing and sight?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

The statement I have made is a complete answer to the question that was put.

Photo of Major Frank Heilgers Major Frank Heilgers , Bury St Edmunds

What percentage of these sub-standard recruits go to the Canterbury Depot?

Photo of Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha Mr Leslie Hore-Belisha , Plymouth, Devonport

These are not substandard recruits. Those who have been to the Canterbury Depot passed into the Army on the full standard after receiving training. They are brought up to full standard, and are not included in these figures.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that common sense was conspicuously lacking at the War Office until he went there?