HC Deb 12 August 1919 vol 119 cc1081-2
28. Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the large number of ex-Service men now unemployed, he will consider the formation of a corps of such men to perform the duties of clerks and waiters instead of retaining the services of women of the Queen Mary's Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and Women's Royal Air Force for these duties?

Captain GUEST

As regards members of the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps, it would be detrimental to administration and would cause much inconvenience and dislocation to withdraw them at the present time. Many of them are employed on duties which require considerable experience before the work can be carried out with efficiency and dispatch, and it is inadvisable, therefore, to replace them at the present juncture when the administrative work in connection with demobilisation and reconstruction is particularly heavy. As regards the Women's Royal Air Force, it has been decided to retain a limited number, and it is not considered that there will be any difficulty in providing a sufficient number of men of the Royal Air Force, recruited under ordinary Service engagements, to perform the duties referred to in the question when added to the women whom it has been decided to retain. The formation of a corps of ex-Service men, as suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend, is a matter which will be carefully considered, however, in connection with the organisation of the after-war Army.

Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

Are steps being taken to make a start at bringing in ex-Service men to replace all these women, who were only brought in for a war emergency?

Captain GUEST

The total number has been reduced by 50 per cent., and reduction is still going on at the rate of 400 a week.


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman undertake to see that men are not discharged from Government employment while women are being kept on, particularly married women?

Captain GUEST

I could not possibly give a general undertaking of that kind.