DEFENCE FORCES: BRITISH ORIGIN OR DESCENT MEANING OF 'BRITISH ORIGIN OR DESCENT': WHETHER REFERS TO RACE OR NATIONALITY
MILITARY COLLEGE REGULATIONS, reg. 6 (i) (d)
The Secretary to the Department of Defence has requested advice as to whether there is any legal objection under the existing Military College Regulations to the admission of Mr A.B.C.D. to the Royal Military College as a Staff Cadet.
It appears from the file provided by the Secretary that Mr D. was born in Australia of Scandinavian parents who have been naturalized British subjects for the last thirty years.
Regulation 6 (i) (d) of the Military College Regulations (Statutory Rules 1916, No. 238, as amended by Statutory Rules 1919, No. 24) provides that to be eligible for admission to the College as a Cadet, a candidate must be of British origin or descent, of which the medical authorities appointed in that behalf under the regulations shall be the judges.
The New Oxford Dictionary defines 'origin' (in reference to a person) as 'the fact of springing from some particular ancestor or race; descent, extraction, parentage, ancestry'.
Reading paragraph (d) as a whole, it is, I think, clear, in view of the provision that the question of the nature of a candidate's origin or descent is to be determined by the medical authorities, that a candidate is required to have the characteristics of British origin or descent-in other words of British race. It is not, I think, sufficient that he can point to ancestors who were of British race. He himself must be recognisable as a member of that race.
I may add that it is, I think, clear that 'British origin or descent' has no reference to nationality. The nationality of the candidate is dealt with in the preceding paragraph of the regulation.
I am, therefore, of opinion that the words 'of British origin or descent' in regulation 6 (i) (d) mean of British race.
The determination of the question whether there is any legal objection to Mr D.'s admission to the Military College depends on the judgment of the medical authorities on the question of Mr D.'s 'origin or descent'. The latter question appears to be purely one of fact.
[Vol. 17, p. 373]