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Forces, Cyprus (Medical Grades)

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th March 1957.

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Photo of Mr Charles Gibson Mr Charles Gibson , Wandsworth Clapham 12:00 am, 26th March 1957

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men of medical Grade II have been sent to Cyprus; and whether he will consider, during the present crisis in that island, not sending men with less than 100 per cent. fitness to serve there.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

Statistics showing the medical categories of men serving in Cyprus are not readily available, and the information requested by the hon. Member in the first part of his Question could not be provided without undue expenditure of effort. I would point out that many Grade II men are fit to perform suitable military duties in Cyprus, and I do not consider that it is either justifiable or practicable to limit service there to men of a higher standard of fitness.

Photo of Mr Charles Gibson Mr Charles Gibson , Wandsworth Clapham

Does the Minister really suggest that a man, such as one of my constituents who has had only one eye all his life, out of which he can hardly see, is fit to be in the Army and, more than that, fit to be sent to Cyprus where, according to what my soldier friends tell me, a man needs four eyes in order to see what is happening all round him? Can it really be fair that a man of that physical capacity should be in the Army, let alone be sent to Cyprus, and will he look into the case if I send him the papers?

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

If the hon. Gentleman will send me the details of the case, I will certainly look into it. He will, of course, realise that there are clerical and other duties to be performed in Cyprus for which no high degree of fitness is relevant.