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Infantry Battalion, Eastern Caribbean

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1952

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16.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consideration has been given to the possibility of raising an infantry battalion in the Eastern Caribbean territories; and whether he is aware that a decision to raise such a battalion would find a ready response from voluntary recruits.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have been taken to re-form the West Indies Regiment.

There is at present one local infantry battalion in Jamaica. In August, 1951, my predecessor put to Colonial Governments in the Caribbean area proposals for the establishment in its place of a force of two local Regular infantry battalions, to be liable for service throughout the area. Conditions of service and the division of costs between Her Majesty's Government and Colonial Governments are still being worked out. Recruits for the force will be drawn from all the Colonies concerned, and I have no doubt that the response will be satisfactory.

Is this a revival of the old West Indies Regiment, which had such high traditions, or is it some other force?

I find that one rather difficult to answer. I think I must look into that.

Having regard to the fact that this matter was mooted in August of last year, can my right hon. Friend say whether an early decision can be expected?

Yes. The plans have been put back by the destruction of the barracks by a hurricane, and that has caused some delay.