HC Deb 21 August 1945 vol 413 cc424-6
5. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is now able to speedup demobilisation, in view of the number of men insufficiently employed in the Army and the need of civil life for their services.

Mr. Lawson

I would refer the hon. Member to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on this matter in the Debate on the Address on 16th August, I understand that a further statement will be made on behalf of His Majesty's Government during the week.

Mr. Lipson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there was considerable disappointment with the statement made by the Prime Minister and that the present situation in which the men in the Army are having nothing to do and, on the other hand, are urgently required in civilian life, cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely?

Mr. Lawson

All I can say is that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour is to make a fuller statement on this matter before the end of the week.

Sir Waldron Smithers

Will the right hon. Gentleman give special consideration to the man employed in one-man businesses, whose wife has carried on very bravely during the war, and whose return is urgently needed?

Mr. Lawson

This Question refers to demobilisation generally. I think it would be unwise to give any definite answer upon any particular section.

Captain Crowder

Would my right hon. Friend ask commanding officers to explain to their men the reason for any delay which may occur in demobilisation, to explain that it is impossible to take them out of one group and put them into another and let the men know the reason? Many have complained that they are doing nothing in certain barracks and cannot see why they cannot come home. Some of us know the reason. Would the right hon. Gentleman ask commanding officers to explain it to the men?

Mr. Lawson

Yes, Sir, I will give consideration to that suggestion.

19. Mr. Sydney Silverman

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will now reconsider the decision whereby soldiers of Allied Armies transferred to the British Army with his consent and that of the Allied Government concerned, are not allowed to count for demobilisation purposes their military service in the force from which they were transferred.

Mr. Lawson

I am looking into this point and will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Silverman

Will my right hon. Friend agree that if a man has spent five or six years of devoted and active service, most of it in the front line, then, for purposes of demobilisation, it ought not to matter in which of the Allied Armies the service was spent?

Mr. Lawson

I agree with my hon. Friend that it is a matter which is worthy of serious consideration, but I cannot give him a definite answer now.

32. Lieut.-Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the period of notice given to members of the Forces prior to their demobilisation as to the date on which their group is to be demobilised.

Mr. Lawson

The programme for releases up to 21st October next has already been issued publicly. Further programmes will be announced as circumstances permit. Normally, it is hoped to give at least two months' notice of the approximate dates of release of any particular group.

Lieut.-Colonel Hutchison

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the great difficulties under which these people demobilised in groups find themselves, commercially and privately, when they do not got sufficient notice to make their arrangements?

Mr. Lawson

I am conscious of that. I think the notice which has been given in recent days gives a good deal of satisfaction. As the House will observe, the notice given now is two months in advance of the release of any particular group.

33. Sub-Lieutenant Austin

asked the Secretary of State for War how many cases have occurred, to the knowledge of his Department, of senior officers anxious to retain their full rank and maintain their establishment, prejudicing the demobilisation rights of men under their command.

Mr. Lawson

All commanders in the Army have co-operated loyally in the operation of the release scheme, and to the best of my knowledge there has been no case of the kind suggested.

Sub-Lieutenant Austin

In the light of that answer, will my right hon. Friend give consideration to a letter which I have to-day forwarded to his Department signed by one Robert Wray who alleges that he has been subject to such treatment?

Mr. Lawson

Yes, Sir. I will certainly give attention to it.