10 NOVEMBER 1950, Page 22

Number One

SIR,—I have just addressed an envelope to one of my pupils now in the Royal Corps of Signals. 1 hope I have got his number correct ; it is 22404787. No. 22404787 may find the thought inspiring that at least 22404786 other men have shared or are sharing his experiences. He may even hazard a guess at the identity of No. 1. Was it the man who first sighted the Armada? Or even the Britbn who signalled the approach of Caesar's legions? On the-whole I expect that his imagination, like my pen, just boggles.

Alas, we no longer have Mr. Bernard Shaw to inform the authorities through the correspondence columns of The Times how many man-hours and square yards of paper would be saved for worthier pursuits if the Forces Planning Department sat down under this challenge and .evolved a more compendious system of enumeration. All I dare hope to do is to provoke a public relations officer into explaining why this is im-