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Majors (Half-Pay)

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers of the rank of major have, during the past six months, been placed on half-pay and informed that they are not likely to be employed again; how many of such officers had been recommended for command prior to being placed on half-pay; whether the half-pay of such officers is less than their retired pay would be; and whether by being placed on half-pay, they are deprived of the opportunity of earning the maximum pension for their rank?

Between 1st August, 1936, and 31st January, 1937, 71 majors were due to be placed on the half-pay list and were informed that they were not likely to be re-employed. Of this number, eight majors had previously been considered as possibly suitable eventually for command but failed to be selected when the occasion arose. Generally speaking, the rate of half-pay would be less than the rate of retired pay, and in fact the majority of the officers applied to retire instead of being placed on the half-pay list. With eight exceptions the officers had insufficient service for the maximum rate of retired pay in the rank of major, but, unless he is actually superseded, no major who is not selected as suitable for promotion is placed on half-pay until he has completed at least three years' service in the rank and so earned a major's pension, and has attained age 45.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the bigger the number of officers he places on half-pay the better he will please hon. Members on these benches?