asked the Secretary of State for War the numbers of officers and other ranks who are now extra-regimentally employed; and how many of these are in employment which is not of a strictly military character.
I regret that this information is not readily available, and could not be obtained without a disproportionate amount of work. As regards the second part of the Question, the number of officers and other ranks employed in non-military capacities is small, and kept to the minimum.
Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to the number of men extra-regimentally employed? Are there not many who are still extra-regimentally employed, and is it not time that a great many of these employments were terminated?
Yes, Sir. I think there are quite a number of extra-regimentally employed in the Brigade of Guards, which the hon. and gallant Gentleman will know something about. I have answered the Question, and I cannot go further than that today.
Surely it would be quite a simple matter for the Minister to check up through his records department?
asked the Secretary of State for War whether Regular officers who are not recommended for promotion or who have expressed a wish to retire are still retained on the regimental lists of their units; and whether he will now arrange for such officers and all Regular officers extra-regimentally employed to be seconded or placed on a supernumerary list in order to make vacancies available for qualified candidates for Regular commissions.
Officers who have been superseded for promotion to substantive lieutenant-colonel and who are over 45 years of age, are, in fact, not counted against a vacancy. Those who have submitted an application to retire, and whose applications have been accepted are at once struck off the regimental list. It would not be practicable to second or place on a supernumerary list all Regular officers extra-regimentally employed, as the number of officers so employed is very large at present, but is decreasing, which means that officers are returning to regimental employment. It would be undesirable to second them, and so fill up their places on the regimental list now, knowing that their return is certain.
Is it not a fact that before the war it was the normal practice to second extra-regimentally employed officers, and is there any reason why, this being peacetime, we should not return to the normal practice of prewar days in that respect?
I am not inclined to agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the situation now corresponds exactly to that before the war, but what he wants is what we are endeavouring to do.