HC Deb 18 February 1941 vol 369 c13
22. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for War what number of free travel warrants are issued yearly to military personnel proceeding on leave; and whether any increase in the number is contemplated?

Captain Margesson

Up till the present, the rule has been that two free travelling warrants a year are allowed for ordinary leave, and, in addition, soldiers have been given free travelling warrants for sick leave and compassionate leave granted when homes have been seriously damaged by enemy action. I have given instructions that the concession in regard to sick leave and compassionate leave should be extended to officers below field rank, and that in future all ranks will receive a free warrant for embarkation leave whether or not they have received their two free warrants in the year. As I have already stated, I am examining the question as to whether there are classes of personnel in the Army comparable to those in the other two Services to whom the concession of four free travelling warrants a year has been granted, but I have not waited until that examination is complete to announce the concessions referred to in the first part of this answer.

Mr. Bellenger

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that it is not always the case that free travel warrants are granted for sick leave and compassionate leave, as the correspondence of hon. Members shows? In view of the statement he has now made, would it be possible for soldiers who have paid their own fares to reclaim the amounts to which they are entitled?

Captain Margesson

I do not think we can work backwards. I have announced the concession, and I think that is as far as I can go.

Mr. R. Gibson

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether the distance of the serving soldier from his home is taken into account as a factor in considering either the length of leave or the number of warrants?

Captain Margesson

It does not affect the number of warrants.