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Officers (Education)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War what records are kept in his Department concerning the educational background of newly - commissioned officers; and why a disproportionate amount of work is involved in securing information on this subject.

An officer's personal records contain an entry showing the schools at which he was educated. As, however, this information is not of great importance for Army purposes it is not collated into any one single statistical statement, or other readily accessible form. The preparation of such a statement would involve the compilation of a complete nominal roll of the officers concerned, the collection and scrutiny of their personal records and the consolidation of the information obtained. To cover, in this way, any category of officers sufficiently large to be representative would be a considerable task.

Is my hon. Friend aware that these statistics are of very great importance in judging the character of a man for promotion? Will he give an assurance that there is no reluctance on the part of the War Office to disclose such information, particularly so far as prestige is concerned?

I have said in my answer that this information is of no great importance to the Army.

Why not have personal records, so that classification could be applied when required?

Because the Army is endeavouring to do what my hon. Friends want us to do, namely, democratise itself. In that connection, it is of no concern "whether a potential officer comes from Eton or a London County Council school.