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Commonwealth Forces (Transfer Of British Personnel)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether he will consider adjusting the present Regulations so that it is made easier for members of Her Majesty's British Forces wishing to transfer to the Forces of the Commonwealth to do so.

Applications from serving personnel of the British Forces to join Commonwealth Forces are considered on their merits. It must be borne in mind that we are doing our best at present to encourage men and women to stay in the United Kingdom Forces. The Commonwealth Governments have, however, been assisted on a number of occasions in recent years to recruit British ex-Servicemen into their Armed Forces.

Will my hon. Friend agree that it is particularly desirable that there should be interchangeability between these arms, and as these Forces are serving together in many theatres, could he see his way to remove the restrictions altogether?

There are frequent exchanges of personnel. This is rather a different question, that of recruiting into the Commonwealth Forces. My hon. Friend will realise that we have the interests of our own Forces to keep in mind.

Is my hon. Friend arranging for corresponding recruiting campaigns in Commonwealth countries to recruit men to the United Kingdom Forces?

No actual recruiting campaigns are going on, but we give assistance to ex-Regulars. I do not think that any general Commonwealth plan would be of very great value in this matter.

When the frequent exchanges of personnel, about which the hon. Gentleman speaks, take place, what happens about the widely differing scales of pay between the different Commonwealth Forces?