HC Deb 08 October 1940 vol 365 c229
18. Mr. Cary

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the increasing domestic hardships arising from the continued bombing of the civilian population, he will grant special leave facilities to all ranks who desire to take care of the immediate needs of their families?

Mr. Eden

My hon. Friend will understand that it is not practicable to grant leave to more than a small proportion of men at any one time, but instructions have been issued that up to seven days' compassionate leave should be given to officers and men whose near relatives or homes have sustained injury from bombing. I may add that the welfare officers and the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association have been rendering great assistance when families have been displaced from their homes.

Mr. Cary

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his statement will give widespread satisfaction throughout the Army?

Mr. Eden

This is actually in operation now so far as military conditions will allow, and I hope the House will appreciate that that must always be borne in mind.

Mr. R. J. Taylor

Is compassionate leave deducted from the seven days' leave to which a soldier is entitled every six months?

Mr. Eden

I do not think so, but I would like notice of that question.

Mr. Bellenger

Will the right hon. Gentleman give preference to men whose families have been bombed in the present allotment of the week's leave which is due every six months?

Mr. Eden

That is a rather different question. I would like to keep the thing separate, and where there is a compassionate case I would like to grant it separately and not interfere with the ordinary grant.

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