HC Deb 26 October 1944 vol 404 cc324-5
8. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Labour if men released from the Army to the N.F.S., at the time of enemy air raids against this country and later recalled to the Army, can count their period of service with the N.F.S. under the demobilisation scheme.

Mr. Bevin

I have nothing to add at present to the reply given to the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles) on 17th October.

Mr. Lipson

Does my right hon. Friend think it is quite fair to these men not to count that service, in view of the nature and quality of the service they gave?

Mr. Bevin

I cannot express an opinion until a final conclusion has been reached.

Mr. Bowles

Is not the position that the Cabinet have not yet come to a conclusion about the matter?

Mr. Bevin

There are a lot of problems associated with demobilisation that have to be cleared up.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

Many of these men volunteered before the war began. Will that be taken into consideration?

Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there were casualties of 2,000 killed and wounded in the National Fire Service in London alone, in 1940–41–more than in the "Ack-Ack"? Should that not be regarded as combatant service?

Mr. Bevin

The difficulty is that when you start measuring demobilisation on a comparison of casualties, it raises the question of the number of people who have been killed in homes and factories, and people who have been directed to other Government work. I cannot isolate the matter on that basis at all, and I would not like to express an opinion now.