§ 27. Mr. Bellenger
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War how many hours per month fire-watching duties are undertaken by members of the Royal Army Pay Corps at Leicester; and whether, in view of the low medical category of many of these troops and the importance of their duties, he will arrange with the civilian authorities to spread the work of fire-watching as equitably as possible among the whole of the city population?
§ Mr. Sandys
In order to have available in the centre of the city a reserve of men to assist in the event of an air raid, about 400 members of the Royal Army Pay Corps stationed at Leicester are required to sleep at the Pay Offices one week in every four. These men are relieved of all other guard duties and fatigues. I am assured that this arrangement has prejudicially affected neither their health nor the efficient performance of their normal duties.
§ Mr. Bellenger
Is my hon. Friend aware that many members of the Royal Army Pay Corps at Leicester have to do as many as 154 hours fire-watching per month? As that compares most unfavourably with the number of hours civilians fire-watch in the city, would it not be possible to arrange a more equitable system between civilian and Army fire-watchers?
§ Mr. Sandys
My hon. Friend's statement does not correspond with my information. It is, however, the policy of the Army to do everything they can to help the civil authorities.