asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a battalion commander of the Home Guard in the West of Scotland has requested members of his company to supply him with the names and addresses of persons in his area who, in their view, should be in the Home Guard; that he would, on receipt of same, write to those persons and, if they did not respond, he would submit the names to the Ministry of Labour; and if this practice is authorised by his Department?
I only received particulars of the unit in question from my hon. Friend on Saturday and have not yet been able to complete my inquiries. As soon as I have done so I will communicate with him.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that while the Minister of Labour is the authority to say whether a particular man should be directed into the Home Guard, it is frequently helpful to the local official of the Ministry of Labour to have suggestions from a battalion commander; and, without prejudging the issue in this case, will he see that fact is not interfered with, as, unfortunately, there are still a number of men who are not doing any form of national service?
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that there are many hundreds of volunteers in the London district anxious to join the Home Guard but not allowed to do so as the battalions have been limited to a maximum number; and whether, in view of the fact that the invasion leaflet states that a civilian can join the Home Guard, he will reconsider the organisation of the London district with a view to enabling volunteers to join?
I am aware that a certain number of volunteers cannot at present be accepted by two units of which my hon. Friend has given me particulars, because these have reached their full establishment. The difficulty is, however, purely a local one, for, as I have informed him, there are still many vacancies in almost all the Home Guard anti-aircraft units throughout the London district.
Is it possible for men in this area—as many hundreds of them are anxious to do—to join some other area, or can the right hon. Gentleman remove the limit which has been imposed on this area so that these men can join?
I understand that "Many hundreds" is somewhat of an exaggeration. If the men want to join in that district they should put their names down and wait for vacancies, which are not very long in occurring.
Officers are now specially appointed to Home Guard units for administrative and quartermaster duties previously undertaken by the adjutant. I cannot therefore agree that on the whole his remaining duties compare unfavourably with the duties at the time when the present: rates were fixed.