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Mobile Column

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 30 November 1950

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41.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now prepared to approve an establishment for a Civil Defence mobile column; and to authorise the recruitment of at least one such column on a full-time paid basis.

Arrangements are being made to form an experimental column of part-time volunteers ready to give full-time service in the event of war. Pending the experience to be gained from this it would be premature to recruit a column on a full-time basis.

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind the very great importance of this innovation in Civil Defence and the extreme value of the prototype in constructing Civil Defence in the future, and will he encourage every step being taken to get support for this particular method of activity?

Does the hon. Gentleman realise the importance of earmarking vehicles well in advance to transport these columns?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the event of an atomic attack all the local Civil Defence personnel would probably be out of action, and that these mobile columns may well be the only means of dealing with the situation? Could not some further steps be taken beyond this one experimental column?

We recognise the importance of these columns in case of any form of heavy air attack, and that is why we are going ahead with this experimental one to see what lessons can be learned from its organisation.