Equipment (Cleaning).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 21st July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make it clear whether non-commissioned officers and men, when ordered by their officers to blanco their equipment or polish their brass or the soles of their boots in circumstances involving a breach of Army Council Instructions, are to disobey the Army Council Instructions or to disobey their officers; and what steps he will take to punish officers who issue such orders?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

A soldier must obey the orders given him by his superior officers. If an officer gives an order which is contrary to an Army Council Instruction, it is the duty of his superior commander to take such disciplinary action as the circumstances of the case require. There is no instruction which forbids the blancoing of webbing.

Photo of Mr Robert Young Mr Robert Young , Newton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Instruction about these things is not being obeyed at all?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I am not aware of that.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

Why is the right hon. Gentleman not aware of it, when I write two or three letters a week to him on the subject, setting out the details? Does he read his letters?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Yes; and I answer the letters. They require a good deal of investigation, and some of the hon. and learned Member's statements are not substantiated.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

That means that most of those statements are correct.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Is it not a fact that the Instruction is not being carried out, particularly, I believe, in the Household Cavalry? Will the right hon. Gentleman try to make them understand that it is a waste of energy to spend so much time in blancoing?

Major Pethcrick:

Does not a smartly-turned-out regiment fight very much better than one which is not smartly turned out?

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

How many times has the right hon. Gentleman heard the words: "Britain blancoes while Russia bleeds"?