HC Deb 20 January 1942 vol 377 cc196-7
42. Mr. Tinker

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a number of soldiers have been drafted to the Pioneer Corps, and have not handled a rifle for over three months; that some are skilled miners; and whether he will consider allowing those who are not wanted for the use of arms to return to the coalmines?

Sir E. Grigg

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friends the Members for Walton (Mr. Purbrick), Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), and Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) on 30th September, 1941. The decision not to release further coal miners from the Fighting Forces applies equally to all branches of the Army, including the Pioneer Corps, where men with miners' experience are invaluable.

Mr. Tinker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are men over 30 years of age in the Pioneer Corps, and is it a recognised thing that men under 40 are not called upon to use arms to be ready for any emergency? I will send him cases.

Sir E. Grigg

I shall be glad to look into any case that the hon. Member may send me.