Australia's Foreign Wars: Origins, Costs, Future?!

Available Manpower

On the important issue of Britain's 'available manpower', it is most revealing to read Churchill's urgent questioning of the Home Secretary in October 1939 regarding the under-utilisation of British men, some 500,000, "....people of middle age, many of whom served in the last war, who are full of vigor and experience, and who are being told by tens of thousands that they are not wanted, and that there is nothing for them except to register at the local Labour Exchange?", - men whose active service could release "...the young and active from their billets', thus allowing them to fight in one or other Service. (WC4i, 438-9) (Indeed, as became clearer and clearer during the course of the war, young Englishmen were still in 1944 waiting up to eighteen months on the same deferred lists for training as pilots, navigators and bomb-aimers, etc, Lord Balfour referring to these numbers as "...the manpower of two divisions ....locked up in our deferred lists for a year or more..." (JMcC, 125; and see 9F(d). below )

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by Stephen Luscombe