Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 7th May 1940.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the need for a large increase in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, he has considered requiring the registration under the Military Service Acts of men between the ages of 40 and 50, on the understanding that only those suitable for this Corps will at present be called up and that there will be generous exemptions for hardship?
The National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, does not provide for the registration of men over the age of 41, and, in any case, I am not satisfied that it would be desirable to apply any measure of compulsion to men between 40 and 50 before younger men have been called up. Every effort is being made to stimulate voluntary recruiting for the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, and the numbers coming in are, for the present, satisfactory.
Does my right hon. Friend realise that at a meeting held in Manchester last Friday for the purpose of facilitating recruitment to this Corps, the feeling was strongly expressed in the audience that 50 is too low a limit?
If my hon. Friend means that we should allow training over that age our experience when recruiting was first started for this Corps was that a number of men went to France with this Corps who were not physically fit for it, and a large number had to be returned to England.