HC Deb 15 November 1939 vol 353 cc691-2
19. Mr. Boothby

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any arrangements have been made, or are contemplated, for the granting of leave to the personnel of the Home Fleet?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Shakespeare)

Instructions have been issued that the officers and men of all sea-going ships in home waters and those serving at isolated bases are to be given as much leave as circumstances permit. Subject to operational requirements, every opportunity will be taken to give leave when ships are refitting, docking, undergoing repairs or cleaning boilers; and administrative arrangements are being made to enable the fullest possible advantage to be taken of these opportunities for rest. At least 14 days leave a year will be given and leave will not be restricted by any maximum when circumstances allow of more being given. Officers and men serving in stationary ships, at shore bases, or in shore establishments will be given leave at the discretion of administrative authorities within the maximum of the peacetime leave scale with a minimum of 14 days a year. Although a general grant of leave at the ordinary leave periods will not generally be practicable under war conditions, the authorities at the ports have been authorised to grant up to seven days' leave this Christmas where-ever this is found possible without detriment to the work of the establishments.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

May I ask whether, as in the case of the Army, free railway vouchers will be provided to the men?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, Sir. The same will apply—two free warrants a year.

20. Mr. Boothby

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will bear in mind the desirability of according the maximum facilities for recreation ashore to the ships companes of the Home Fleet; and what steps he is taking to ensure this?

Mr. Shakespeare

The desirability of giving leave to ships' companies for recreation ashore is fully realised by Flag and Commanding Officers. Measures are being taken to provide clubs, canteens, cinemas and recreation grounds at those ports and bases where these do not already exist. In addition the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes have already established canteens at some 20 ports, and I am glad to say that local municipal enterprise has, in several instances, taken the initiative in providing reading and rest rooms for naval personnel.

Mr. Boothby

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that every possible facility for physical recreation ashore has been granted to the ships' companies of the Home Fleet during recent weeks?

Mr. Shakespeare

Yes, Sir, subject to operational requirements.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Is it not the usual practice that such facilities should always be granted?

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