8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 2

The Extension of Conscription

On Saturday the Government introduced a comprehensive measure of military conscription—the Nationa Service (Armed Forces) Bill—extending liability t■ service to all men between the ages of 18 and 4c No opposition was raised to this emergency legislatior except by a few conscientious objectors. There waonly one point in the Bill which evoked serious criticism. and that was in the calling up of boys of 18 and r, years of age. Experience of the last war goes to show the undesirability of subjecting very young men to th, experience of overseas service. The Secretary for Wai contention that we ought not to refuse a sacrifice tha. our Allies have accepted is a strong one; but he met hi critics by promising that the classes of men uncle, twenty would not be among the first to be called up, and that in any case men of that age would not be sent out of the country without an explanatory statement in the House. Boys of 19 have not the stamina of older men. They ought not to be sent to fight as long as older men are available.