HC Deb 13 April 1943 vol 388 cc1034-5
9. Mr. Dobbie

asked the Secretary of State for War what period of service overseas entitles a member of His Majesty's Forces to a period of leave or home service; and will he give consideration to the case presented to him by the hon. Member for Rotherham for leave for a member of His Majesty's Forces whose term of service overseas approaches five years, details of which have been forwarded to the Minister?

Sir J. Grigg

An officer or soldier serving overseas has no entitlement to be brought home. There is a considerable number of men who have been abroad for six years or longer. In so far as there is shipping available and the military situation permits, they are being transferred to the Home establishment, priority being given to those who have served abroad for the longest period. It may later be possible to reduce the qualifying period, but I regret that I can hold out no early hope of being able to do so. The case referred to by my hon. Friend has been sympathetically considered. There seem to be no compassionate grounds of an exceptional nature in this case which would justify the man being brought home specially, and I regret therefore that he cannot be recommended for a transfer to this country.

Mr. Turton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Air Force and the Navy get men home on compassionate grounds after a far shorter period of service, and will he take steps to get similar treatment for all three Services serving in the Middle East?

Sir J. Grigg

Certainly I will take steps to get a shorter period as soon as shipping is available, but similar treatment can only be obtained at the present time by lengthening the period of the other two Services.