22 MAY 1941, Page 14


Snt,—In connexion with the above subject I put forward one sugges- tion, which so far as I have been able to observe, has not been mooted in public officially or otherwise, vie., that a certain per- centage of men from the Army, after undergoing an intensive training for eighteen months or two years, should be released for civil work of urgent national importance, subject of course to immediate recall if required. A certain number have already been released for work such as demolition and A.F.S., but I submit that the policy of releasing a far greater number of trained men should be adopted not just as a makeshift to assist the civil-defence authorities, but as a definite long-term policy for work of extreme urgency such as shipbuilding and drainage of land for agricultural purposes, both essentially a man's job and of grave importance towards the success- ful result of the Battle of the Atlantic on which our very existence depends.

It is surely possible to train a soldier to be fit to take the field against the enemy within if to 2 years ; after that period unless he is actually engaged in active military operations he is inclined to become stale, and a change-over to his former civilian work would be beneficial to him with the resultant advantage to the nation as