HC Deb 14 March 1923 vol 161 c1614

5.0 P.M.

I come now to the question, almost equally important, of reserves. If our small force is to expand quickly the problem of reserves is obviously one of vital importance. I think hon. Members will be glad to see that for the first time in the Air Estimates we have this year a special Vote devoted to the Air Force Reserves. They will see the details set out in Vote 7 and also that during the year we hope to have an average strength on the reserve of about 500 officers and between 7,000 and 8,000 men. In this connection we are hoping to carry through a scheme for enabling officers and men of the reserve to train with a certain number of selected aviation firms. It may be necessary in the future to supplement these provisions by setting up some kind of auxiliary air force, but that is a question for the moment undecided. By these means we hope to build up in the course of the next two or three years a reserve of 1,000 officers and 12,000 men.