HC Deb 14 July 1943 vol 391 cc173-4
18. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for Air what proportion in each of the following categories, pilots, observers, navigators and air-bombers, hold commissioned rank?

Sir A. Sinclair

On 31st March, 1943, the latest date for which figures are available, the percentages of commissioned personnel in the air-crew categories of the Royal Air Force were: Pilots, 56 per cent.; navigator classes (including observers), 37 per cent.; air bomber, 27 per cent.

Mr. Bellenger

I would ask my right hon. Friend to take into account, when he is considering a greater commissioning of N.C.Os. and air crews, the fact that if N.C.Os. are killed in action, their dependants get a lower rate of pension because they are N.C.Os.

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir. The only rule which could guide me in authorising the commissioning of N.C.Os. would be the interests and efficiency of the Service.

Mr. Loverseed

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that in the case of pilots the proportion of those commissioned is altogether too low, bearing in mind that the pilots are captains of aircraft and frequently have to carry that responsibility as sergeants, which causes embarrassment?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir. There is no limit on the number of commissions which could be given to pilots or to other members of air crews.