§ 65. Mr. Frank Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will hold an inquiry into the Army recruiting display in Gloucestershire on 10th June in which Service men were required to act the part of a mob carrying banners bearing the words, Ban the Bomb, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol, and in which one of them was required to cross a forbidden line and was supposedly shot by armed guards; if he will make a preliminary statement; and if he will issue instructions that in future no legal organisations, particularly one upholding non-violence, should be represented in this way.
§ Mr. Mulley
I have carried out an investigation into the circumstances of this display and have found that it showed some of the duties of an infantry battalion overseas during civil disturbances. The20W costumes worn by the soldiers taking part in it and the loudspeaker commentary made it plain that the setting was in an imaginary country overseas similar to the theatre in which the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment has recently served.
One soldier in the display, acting on his own initiative, made and carried a cardboard banner with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol on it. He was not the soldier who was supposedly shot. The banner was clearly inappropriate to the display and I regret its use and the misunderstanding to which it has given rise.