HC Deb 21 April 1943 vol 388 cc1665-6
13. Mr. R. Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that the use of the term "commission," as applied to the personnel of the Royal Air Force Educational Service, is rather misleading, as these officers have to serve under civilian conditions, and do not enjoy the status and privileges of other officers; and whether he will consider extending such privileges to the members of this service?

Sir A. Sinclair

The Royal Air Force Educational Service was, before the war, a civilian organisation. Its members now serve as unmobilised officers of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve which enables them to wear uniform. It is convenient, for reasons of discipline, that they should do so. Their duties are, however, substantially of the same nature as in peacetime and they therefore continue to receive pay on the provincial Burnham Scale for secondary school teachers together with a special allowance to meet extra expenditure which they may incur owing to their service with the Royal Air Force. No change in these arrangements is contemplated.

Mr. Morgan

Can my right hon. Friend say whether this is in accordance with the letters of invitation sent to the men before they joined, or has there been an alteration since?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir; I understand that pay conditions ate entirely in accordance with the conditions of service before the war and many have joined since the war on these conditions. So far from there being discontent with present conditions I understand there is no difficulty at all in filling vacancies.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is it not a new status in the history of the world that in wartime a man should be invited or compelled to be an officer and yet not be a mobilised officer; and are not these officers, officers for the purpose of receiving orders and officers for no purpose of giving orders?

Sir A. Sinclair

I do not think that that is true. This arrangement is working very well. The educational service is working well and there is no difficulty in obtaining candidates for vacancies.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is it not an entirely new status?

Sir John Mellor

Is it not the fact——

Mr. Speaker

We must get on with Questions.