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Ta Non-Commissioned Officers

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 11 May 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War if he is satisfied that there is no shortage of trained non-commissioned officers relative to other ranks in the infantry units of the Territorial Army and that such non-commissioned officers are competent to carry out the further training of two-year National Service men posted to their units in an efficient and useful manner.

Generally, the Regular permanent staff are up to strength. There is, however, a small shortage of Territorial Army warrant officers and sergeants and a somewhat greater shortage in the more junior ranks. The latter shortage is, however, in part deliberate while units are building up their strength. The competence of these instructors is, I think, shown by the general high standard of training in the Territorial Army infantry units.

asked the Secretary of State for War why National Service men who have attained non-commissioned rank during their service have to revert to the rank of private soldier on entering the Territorial Army; and what special steps he is taking to ensure that such soldiers are re-promoted and full use made of their abilities.

There is no practicable method of reserving in each Territorial Army unit the right number of vacancies for National Service non-commissioned officers who have completed their whole-time service. All National Service men are, however, eligible for promotion in the Territorial Army and my right hon. Friend is satisfied that commanding officers take full account of the qualifications which a man has obtained during whole-time service.