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Recruits (Posting)

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 1 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour why men are still told on enlistment that they may choose the branch of the Services in which they desire to serve and are subsequently posted to another branch.

The National Service Acts require me to record a man's preference for a particular Service. Posting, however, depends on the relative intakes of the three Services and on an individual's suitability, in the light of his medical grading, industrial experience, etc., for vacancies in the Service for which he has expressed preference.

Is there any purpose in continuing to record these special preferences when they are invariably not granted; and does not that lead to dishonesty and irritation?

I cannot accept the suggestion that they are invariably not granted. If a man expresses a wish to go into the Navy and there is a vacancy, he is put where he desires to go, but if everybody wants to go into the Navy and there are no vacancies then they have to go somewhere else.

Would it be possible to allow 18-year-old apprentices to go to sections in the Forces where they could, to some extent at least, carry on with their trades?