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Boys' Battalion (Terms Of Service)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 8 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for War the terms of enlistment for a boy joining the Boys' Battalion at the age of 15 years.

Up to the age of 18 with the Colours, and thereafter for eight years with the Colours and four years with the Royal Army Reserve or, at his own request, for 12 years with the Colours.

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that last week, as reported in col. 1395 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, of 1st April, he assured us that it was not possible for a boy to sign on for 15 years, and does his answer not show that it is possible for a 15-year old boy to sign on for 15 years?

I think my answer referred to Colour service. As the hon. Member knows, boy's service does not count. It is, of course, possible if one includes boy's service. As for the Boys' Battalion which is now forming, we are considering whether a shorter period of Colour service should not now be introduced.

Is it possible for them to purchase their release at 18 years of age, as used to be the case?

In September, 1953, when the present scheme of holding men in the Regular Army is finished, it will be possible once again for men to purchase their discharge.