HC Deb 16 May 1944 vol 400 cc11-2
17. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the present arrangements for the return to Home Establishment of men serving in India who have been overseas for extended periods without leave.

Sir J. Grigg

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) on 28th March. In, some cases, the men concerned are at present engaged in active operations, and it must be left to the discretion of the local military authorities to withdraw them when it is possible to do so.

Mr. Bellenger

Has my right hon. Friend observed that, in the Royal Air Force, a much more moderate period of service overseas is required before a man can go home; and can my right hon. Friend at least equate the Army with the Royal Air Force in this respect, as the present difference causes considerable dissatisfaction in the Army?

Sir J. Grigg

I will certainly try to make Army conditions at least as favourable as those in the Royal Air Force, but, for various reasons which have been given from time to time in this House, it is not possible to do it very quickly or at present.

Mr. Mathers

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman dragged in India when I asked him about Middle East men getting leave, will he now add the Middle East to his observations and bring them up to date, and say what the prospects are for the men in the Middle East?

Mr. John Dugdale

Will the Minister say that the difficulty of transport is one of the difficulties; and, if it is, will he consult the Secretary of State of Air with a view to sharing such transport as is available?

Sir J. Grigg

That is one of the difficulties, but not the only one, and the number of people concerned in the Royal Air Force is very much smaller than that concerned in the Army.