Officers (Efficiency Inquiry).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 10th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr Ivor Thomas Mr Ivor Thomas , Keighley

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War why the proposed review of the military efficiency and alertness of officers over 45 years of age is not to be carried above the rank of lieutenant-colonel?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

The suitability of the more senior officers for the very responsible and widely differing types of appointments which they hold can, it is thought, better be ensured by a process of continuous individual scrutiny rather than by the method of a single, general review.

Photo of Mr Ivor Thomas Mr Ivor Thomas , Keighley

Would it not create a greater feeling of fairness and be more in the interests of senior officers themselves if they were subjected to the same scrutiny as junior officers? May I also ask whether this scrutiny is to be extended to officers of the Home Guard?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

The review does not apply to the Home Guard. As regards the other point, I can assure my hon. Friend that there will be no hesitation in replacing senior officers who do not come up to the high standard required.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he proposes to set up independent selection boards to review the recommendations made by commanding officers on officers serving under them of 45 years of age and over; up to and including the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in order to ensure that officers efficient in modern tactics and ideas are retained in the Service?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

The recommendations of commanding officers have to be confirmed by the divisional or equivalent commander. The report on an officer belonging to a technical arm who is not employed with a unit of his own arm, will also be considered by a senior officer of his corps. These safeguards should ensure that the services of efficient officers are not lost to the Army.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Does the Financial Secretary recognise that among these officers over 45 years of age there is, quite likely, a number of rebels who have been refused promotion on account of their insistence on new methods and new processes, and will not commanding officers take this opportunity to get rid of them altogether? How does the War Office propose to safeguard them?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

I think that is an uncalled-for suggestion. I would remind hon. Members that any officer who feels that he has been unfairly treated has a right of appeal to the Army Council.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not possible that this rage for younger men may be carried too far, and might it not be the case that some older men are efficient and ought to be retained but may be removed simply because of this desire for younger men?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

I do not think my hon. Friend understands the nature of this review. There is no intention to displace any officer merely on account of the date of his birth.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

is the Financial Secretary aware all serving officers know that the people who are rebellious and forthcoming very often get kept from promotion for being so, and it is this abuse we want to prevent?