Home Guard.

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 28th July 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the existing ambiguity, he will define the position of commissioned officers of the Home Guard, stating to what extent they have the obligations, rights and privileges of other commissioned officers and to what extent those of private soldiers?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I am not aware of any ambiguity. As the Home Guard is a part-time force, serving without pay, the obligations, rights and privileges of its members are not exactly comparable with those either of officers or of privates in the Regular Army. Home Guard officers have access to instructions which make their position clear in regard to powers of command and discipline and other matters. As regards financial benefits, all ranks of the Home Guard are treated alike, under regulations which are special to the Force. This has been a feature of the Force since its inception.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Is this extraordinary treatment of Home Guard officers due to financial reasons, military reasons, or some other—and, if so, what—reasons?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I am unaware of any extraordinary treatment of Home Guard officers. Perhaps the hon. Member will be a little more specific.

Major Mills:

Perhaps my right hon. Friend is not aware that if a Home Guard officer is killed on duty, his widow is treated as being the widow of a private soldier, whereas, in regard to Estate Duty, he does not get relief on the whole estate, as he would if he were treated as a private soldier?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I think there is a little misconception, if not confusion, about this matter. There are two reliefs under different Finance Acts. There is a relief under the Finance Act, 1924, and that applies both to officers and to other ranks of the Home Guard. Then there is an exemption under the Act of 1894, which applies neither to officers nor to privates of the Home Guard.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Is it not the case that as regards pensions, travel and other matters, Home Guard officers are not in the same position as other commissioned officers?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

I cannot deal with this matter by way of question and answer; but, from the inception of the Home Guard Force, in financial matters all ranks have been regarded as being on an equality, and they still are.