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Officers (German Language Qualification)

Volume 972: debated on Tuesday 30 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the number of officers now serving in British forces, Germany, who have a knowledge of German of a recognised standing; and what was the number 12 months ago.

At present there are 582 Army and 122 RAF officers serving in British Forces Germany who are qualified at colloquial level or above in German. In October 1978 the comparable RAF figure was 98. In the case of the Army the April 1979 figure—the earliest now available—was 549.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he is taking to ensure that an increasing number of officers serving in British forces, Germany have a working knowledge of German; and if he will make a statement.

We consider it most important that Service personnel who are based, or who are likely to be based, in the Federal Republic of Germany should have at least a working knowledge of German, both for military reasons and in the interests of good community relations. German language training is already provided on an extensive scale but the need for further improvements will be kept under continuing review. As from 1 April 1980 the value of our language proficiency awards is to be updated and this will involve substantial increases in the case of the German language awards.