asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction that exists in the Army because officers holding temporary rank who have been incapacitated by wounds, injury or illness contracted on service automatically revert to war substantive rank after 21 days in the case of illness or injury and three months in the case of wounds; and whether he is now prepared to abolish this regulation altogether?
I have reviewed the rules under which officers have been required to relinquish temporary rank on ceasing to perform the duties for which the rank was granted. I have come to the conclusion that there are good grounds for giving the holder of temporary rank, which may have been held for long periods, a greater degree of security in his rank. This I propose to bring into effect as follows. In future an officer holding temporary rank will be permitted to retain it while on a course of instruction. He will retain it during the interval between being posted away from one Unit and joining his new unit provided he is fit and available for duty during the whole period and any delay in his joining is due solely to the exigencies of the service; this will cover the voyage period in the case of officers ordered overseas. In addition officers will be permitted to retain temporary rank while absent sick up to a period of two months (provided that the sickness is not their own fault) and, as previously, for three months if wounded in action.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this concession, welcome as it is, does not touch the main grievance which is that, no matter how long an officer serves in a temporary rank he cannot acquire security in that rank and may be at any moment reduced to the rank below through no fault of his own?
I dealt with that subject in the general Debate. I said I saw no possibility of a radical alteration of the rules in regard to temporary and acting rank, and I was not certain that an alteration would in fact be in the interest of the officers themselves.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of allowing wounded officers to retain their temporary rank until they are once again fit for duty?
asked the Secretary of State for War whether it is his intention to continue indefinitely the policy laid down on page 4 of Pamphlet 100/General/8871, notified in Army Council Instructions for the week ending 30th August, 1939, that there should be no substantive promotion in wartime except for Regular officers; and why officers holding Territorial Army and Reserve or emergency commissions should not be given promotion to higher war substantive ranks after the same period of time as for Regular officers, provided that their record is satisfactory and thus place all officers on the same basis of promotion?
My hon. and gallant Friend appears to be misinformed. All non-Regular officers are in fact given promotion to war substantive rank under the same rules and on the same basis as Regular officers. After a fixed perior of temporary rank they are granted war substantive rank one rank lower than their temporary rank. The present policy as laid down in the pamphlet quoted by my hon. and gallant Friend has been carefully considered, and I do not think there is any case for changing it in order to give substantive as distinct from war substantive promotion to non-Regular officers in war-time.