Orders of the Day — British Prisoners of War (Pay)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 1947.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw 12:00 am, 14th May 1947

I am going on to explain why he could hold the rank, but not the pay of the rank. Acting rank is unpaid for the first 21 days, and it would only be after the 21 days had expired, that the unpaid acting rank would be converted into paid acting rank; antedated to the date on which he was appointed In his case what happened was that the man was appointed acting lance-corporal, and, of course, unpaid. Two days afterwards—not several days as my hon. Friend says—he was captured. Therefore, he could never have completed the 21 days after which he would have been entitled to temporary rank on which he would have drawn his pay.

My hon. Friend is probably a little confused as to that Article of the Royal Warrant which, as he read it, says that the acting rank could be held while the soldier was a prisoner of war. As I shall show in a moment by reading the appropriate Army Order, it could be held not only while he was a prisoner of war, but up to a period of 61 days after being repatriated to this country on release from captivity. My hon. Friend made great play with the point that the Army Council Instruction would be unknown to the simple soldier, and that he would not get it. If I may say so, it is probable that the Royal Warrant would be unknown to the simple soldier. My hon. Friend knows that soldiers, except a few, do not study King's Regulations or the Royal Warrant. I admit that there has been a good deal of misunderstanding about the acting unpaid ranks and the temporary ranks, and the war substantive ranks. In relation to a prisoner of war the Army Order was 155 of 1944. The Army Order defined this, but did not alter the situation which was prevailing in 1942. I may say that Army Orders were purchasable even in war time by members of the public. [An. HON. MEMBER: "By prisoners of war?"] A prisoner of war could not get them, but those at home who were interested in his affairs could have obtained them.