Skip to main content

Queen's Colour Squadron

Volume 645: debated on Monday 2 October 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Air what was the cost during the last financial year of the Royal Air Force Queen's Colour Squadron; and how many funerals, guards of honour, drill demonstrations and other ceremonies, respectively, it took part in during that period.

In the last financial year the Queen's Colour Squadron cost about £80,000 and had 112 engagements. These included 11 funerals, 27 guards of honour, 35 drill demonstrations and 39 other ceremonies.

In view of the cuts that the Government are making in much more desirable social expenditure, will the right hon. Gentleman consider cutting very drastically the expenditure on this unit? Can he continue to justify as his predecessors have done over the last two years, over 100 fit men attending funerals and as guards of honour when cuts are being made in much more essential social services?

Yes, Sir. I am satisfied that the Queen's Colour Squadron performs an extremely valuable task in the functions of the Royal Air Force. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that a good deal of ceremony inevitably attaches to military life. If there were not a Queen's Colour Squadron the burden which it carries would fall on the individual Commands which would have to use time for training at the expense of other duties.

While agreeing that some ceremonies are a necessary part of military life, may I ask the Secretary of State whether he is sure that the men and money involved here are being put to the best use? Will he not have another look at the whole of this problem?

I have investigated this matter before and I investigated it again, when the hon. Gentleman tabled the Question. I am satisfied that this is the most economical way of meeting ceremonial commitments from the point of view of the useful deployment of men in the Royal Air Force.