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West Indies (Recruits)

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many Jamaicans and other West Indians he is recruiting into the British Army; in which regiments they will serve; and whether he will make a statement on the first recruiting interviews which have taken place.

Although there is nothing new in the concept of members of the Commonwealth joining the British Army, it is only since the decision to end conscription that we have considered sending recruiting teams to certain territories.In the case of the West Indies I have naturally wished to be very careful that this departure from previous practice would not conflict with local requirements such as the recruiting of police and local defence forces. A great deal of consultation has, therefore, been necessary with the Governments concerned.However, a recruiting team is now in the West Indies. 250 applications to enlist in the British Army have so far been received. Of these, 113 have passed the necessary intelligence test. Final selection will depend upon the medical examinations which are now taking place. It is, therefore, too early to say in which regiments or corps these recruits will serve.