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Reservists

Volume 478: debated on Monday 18 September 1950

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asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he has the necessary information to enable him to decide whether a man who has served with the Armed Forces and is now on a Reserve is now in a reserved occupation, and as to whether a man who was in a reserved occupation in the 1939–45 war is now eligible for military service; and what action he is taking on the matter;(2) how far any restriction is now placed on the recall of Reservists by the Services on the grounds of the nature of the Reservists' civilian occupation;(3) what action he takes in the case of men whom by reason of age, health, or occupation he does not intend to call-up or recall to the Forces in an emergency to inform such men of this intention, with a view to enabling them to enrol in Civil Defence.

There is no restriction, on occupational grounds, on the recall of members of the Regular Reserves. With regard to members of the Army "Z" Reserve and the equivalent Reserves of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, the present occupations of those who might be recalled in the early stages of an emergency are, as has already been announced, being checked. This is designed to bring Service Records up-to-date and will simplify the arrangements which already exist, and could be operated immediately, for their recall or reservation in the event of an emergency. But it is not possible to inform men now whether they would be reserved at some unknown date in the future. It has already been announced that "Z" and equivalent Reservists aged 40 and over may enrol for Civil Defence and that those between 30 and 40 may, with some exceptions, enrol for the more active branches of Civil Defence. Men who were reserved in the 1939–45 war are, in general, not in any Reserve and not liable under existing law to be called-up in an emergency, and it is not possible to tell them what their position might be under any new law that might be passed on the occurrence of an emergency.