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Territorial Army Units (European Training)

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 13 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent he intends to send units of the Territorial Army to Europe for part of their training in the present year.

Although the training facilities in Germany are excellent, the right hon. Member will realise that cost of movement and time spent in travelling necessarily limit the despatch of Territorial Army units and formations there. This year we intend to send a few Territorial Army officers and Territorial Army and Army Emergency Reserve units to Germany.

But has it not been done on a limited scale before with considerable success, and since it has aroused the enthusiasm of the men concerned, would it not be worth while to send some larger forces of the Territorial Army than the right hon. Gentleman intends, to train along with Regular forces in Germany? In the long run, would it not be an advantage?

I agree that there is a great deal to be said for such a course, but time which is spent in travelling is cut off training, there is the extra expense, and the added factor that no man can be sent to Germany unless he volunteers to go, because under the Acts we cannot compel a man to attend his fortnight's camp outside the country.

No one wants to compel anybody who does not wish to go, but is the right hon. Gentleman not well aware that many of the men wish to go voluntarily?

Yes, Sir, but the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that, if I were to say that a Territorial division would go to Germany, any man who felt he would rather not go could say, "I am sorry but I will not go."

Is the Minister aware that those of us who have served in the Forces view with concern any influence being brought to bear on those who have already served, and when it comes to Territorial service, that influence should be used to send them to Germany?