HC Deb 12 December 1944 vol 406 cc1027-8
33. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will grant Christmas leave to troops now in this country who have recently returned from varying periods of service overseas.

39. Mr. Quintin Hogg

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the position regarding Christmas at home for those enjoying 28 days' disembarkation leave in this country.

Sir J. Grigg

I will with permission circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Bellenger

Could the Minister say whether that answer is favourable to the point of view expressed in my Question?

Sir J. Grigg

It is a mixed answer.

Following is the answer:

I will start by making it clear that repatriation is a continuous process and that there must be in this country many thousands of people who would regard themselves as having, "recently returned from varying periods of service overseas." All of them got disembarkation leave on return, and I should think a large proportion of them 28 days. When disembarkation leave is over they are posted to home units and take their turn for leave with their comrades in these units.

There are also at the present time at home a considerable number of soldiers who have returned to home units after having been wounded while serving with the B.L.A. As regards the home establishments generally, travel restrictions have limited Christmas leave to not more than 10 per cent. for some years past. There must, therefore, be a large number of men in the United Kingdom at present, in addition to those recently repatriated, who have not spent Christmas at home since they joined the Army. I do not believe that given the travel restrictions it is possible to do What the hon. Members ask generally without causing a great deal of unfairness and heartburning. In some cases, however, men recently repatriated can take advantage of the fact that leave on short pass is still possible during the Christmas period so long as journeys are limited to a 20 mile radius.