Retired Service Men (Instructorships).

Oral Answers to Questions — India. – in the House of Commons on 19th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that there are numbers of retired warrant and non-commissioned officers in this country, some with Indian experience, who would be glad to be of service as instructors in India; and whether any steps have been or are being taken to-make use of them in that capacity?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

My Department considers, in consultation with the Government of India, applications from any retired non-commissioned officer or warrant officer who volunteers for service in India. But, in general, India's demands for British Army personnel are made direct upon the War Office and it is for that Department to allocate, in accordance with the demands received from various quarters, those retired men who, though not liable for service under the National Service Act, may still be considered fit for further military employment in India or elsewhere.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Having regard to the serious state of affairs in this connection and the great neglect of which, if the right hon. Gentleman will forgive my saying so, he and his Department have been guilty, is he not splitting hairs in dividing responsibility between his Department and the War Office? If these men are required, are they not either appealed for or compelled to report, which many of them would be very happy to do?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I must entirely repudiate the charge of neglect. If the hon. and gallant Member will give me any instances of individuals who have applied and whose applications have not been considered, I shall be very glad.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

When there is a war on, surely it is not necessary to wait for men to apply. If their services are required, should not the right hon. Gentleman either appeal for them or call them up?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

If the Government of India require men, they apply to the War Office, and the War Office does its best.

Photo of Mr James Milner Mr James Milner , Leeds South East

Is it not obvious that it has not done so in this instance?