HC Deb 29 July 1942 vol 382 cc480-1
9. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can make any statement on the recent reorganisation of the Air Training Corps, and whether any further changes are contemplated?

Sir A. Sinclair

In order to simplify organisation and accelerate administration, the work hitherto done by the headquarters of the Corps has been transferred to the Air Ministry; and the Air Ministry now deals directly with the regional commandants and with the Commandant for Scotland. A post of Inspector of the Air Training Corps has been created, under the Air Member for Training, and is filled by the former Commandant. The post of Commandant lapses. The changes were introduced on 13th July. No further changes of a major character are in contemplation.

10. Wing-Commander Hulbert

asked the Secretary of State for Air what arrangements are made for newly-commissioned Air Training Corps officers without previous service experience to acquire administrative and disciplinary knowledge, either by attending short courses at Royal Air Force stations or otherwise?

Sir A. Sinclair

Officers appointed for duty with the Air Training Corps are encouraged to take short courses of instruction at R.A.F. units. Officers attending courses receive the pay of their substantive rank, and are provided with accommodation and rations, or are given allowances instead.

Wing-Commander Hulbert

Is my right hon. Friend aware that my noble Friend the Commandant for Scotland has organised local courses for officers, which have proved very successful? Will the same thing be done here?

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, Sir; it is a very good plan, and I am considering the possibility of extending it.

17. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that instructions have been issued to certain Air Training Corps, London squadrons, that no church parades or instruction meetings are to be held on Sunday mornings in order that youths may be able to attend a place of worship with their parents; that the church attendance of youths with or without parents is confined to a small minority; whether the explanation accompanying the instruction is to be interpreted as an implicit order; whether he will make it clear that church parade or church attendance is entirely optional, not to be taken as part of the Air Training Corps course of training, and no disability or penalty will be suffered by non-attendance?

Sir A. Sinclair

Instructions were issued to all units of the Air Training Corps that from May to September inclusive two Sunday mornings a month should be kept free of normal A.T.C. parades. The purpose of the instructions is to enable cadets to worship with their families if they wish to do so. There is no obligation upon A.T.C. units to hold religious services or on cadets to attend them; nor is there any penalty for non-attendance. This should be clear to all concerned, but if any misunderstanding has arisen and my hon. Friend will give me particulars of the instance, I will consider whether any further instruction is necessary.

Mr. Sorensen

Does that mean that those who do not choose to go to church can give their time to other work and other duties connected with the Air Training Corps; and is it quite clear that the insistence on religious observance is not part of the Air Training Corps scheme?

Sir A. Sinclair

I really think that my hon. Friend will find the answer to his question in the answer I have given. I said: "There is no obligation upon Air Training Corps units to hold religious services or on cadets to attend them."