HC Deb 27 November 1941 vol 376 cc897-8
78. Captain Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether men serving in the Royal Air Force will be allowed to travel by rail on leave between 24th and 28th December?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

With certain exceptions, of which commands have been informed, leave involving travel by rail during the period in question will not be granted to Royal Air Force personnel.

Mr. Mander

Am I to understand that civilians will be able to travel as much as they like at Christmas time and that those serving in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force will not be allowed to do so, and is not that very unreasonable?

Captain Balfour

This is a general Government question. As far as the Royal Air Force is concerned, certain classes will be allowed leave, such as operational crews and operational staffs on embarkation leave, and beyond that we are conforming to the general Government rule, which is applicable to the Services.

Mr. Bellenger

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say why this decision has been arrived at? Should it not be in relation to the whole of Christmas travel and not merely limited to the Fighting Forces, who deserve their leave just as much as civilians?

Captain Balfour

My hon. Friend will appreciate that it is not for me to argue the whole of the Government case, but, on broad lines, with regard to civilians, I understand that evacuated Government Departments are not to be granted any free or assisted leave travel during the period.