HC Deb 26 January 1944 vol 396 cc667-8
10. Mr. Evelyn Walkden

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many men have been transferred by or released from the R.A.F. to serve with the British Overseas Airways Corporation in recent months; whether these men are of low medical grade; and whether the Ministry of Labour was consulted on such a scheme.

Captain Balfour

Since June, 1943, 9 officers and 79 airmen have been released and 71 officers and 142 airmen have been seconded from the Royal Air Force for service with the British Overseas Airways Corporation. As these officers and men are liable for overseas service, their medical category cannot be lower than Grade II. The corporation are at present operating under the directions of my right hon. Friend as provided for in Section 32 of the British Overseas Airways Act and their various services are directly connected with the prosecution of the war. In these circumstances, the Corporation must clearly be furnished with the men they need. The Ministry of Labour and National Service is aware of the arrangement.

Mr. Walkden

When these persons are seconded or released do they then automatically become civilians? Will the Minister examine the whole question in relation to an air chief marshal who seems to be very active on behalf of British Overseas Airways Corporation and giving a wrong impression to potential candidates for release?

Captain Balfour

It is not for the Corporation to lay down conditions for release. The Air Ministry lays these down. A person seconded remains in the Air Force, and persons released are temporarily released to industry in the same way as the Ministry of Labour releases men temporarily to industry.