HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc391-4
38. Mr. Driberg

Asked the Under secretary of State for Air if he will bear in mind, when considering applications for Class B or Class C release for West Indian officers and other ranks, many of whom are now redundant, that there are no reinstatement in civil employment rights in the West Indies and that positions will not be kept open for these men indefinitely.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Strachey)

Yes, Sir.

41. Sir Ralph Glyn

asked the Under secretary of State for Air why men in the equipment sections of the R.A.F. have had their normal date for release postponed to such an extent that by February next, only such men in Group 22 will be released, whilst the normal group will be 32 at that date; and whether the question of storage, etc., can be reviewed so that more men in these equipment sections who are married and have employment waiting for them and are over 35 years of age can have their release at the usual date.

42. Mr. Pritt

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why airmen in the trade of equipment assistant are being deferred as much as ten groups. in demobilisation when the course for training men who could replace them in that trade is only a seven-weeks' course.

Mr. Strachey

we shall be releasing all the equipment assistants in groups 22 and 23 in January, compared with group 26—not 32—for most trades. They are therefore three groups behind, not ten. We are already training all the men we can find for this work, which is very extensive while we are closing down stations and arranging for the disposal of equipment and industrial storage space.

Mr. Pritt

Could the Minister say whether in respect of Indian stations he could draw on equipment assistants from the Royal Indian Air Force to help these groups out?

Mr. Strachey

I must have notice of that.

Mr. Lipson

When does the Minister anticipate that the men of the equipment section will catch up with the other groups of the R.A.F.?

Mr. Strachey

They are catching up very rapidly as I have shown in my answer; but when they will become level depends on how much, and when, we can accelerate general release.

43. Mr. Pritt

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why all the four physical training instructors in the Cocos Islands are being deferred eight groups in demobilisation when none of them is engaged on physical training, but one is supervising the scrubbing of tables, one is doing office work and two are running a sports store.

Mr.. Strachey

The Royal Air Force Headquarters in the Cocos Islands have sent me a full report on this subject. The release of one of these P.T. instructors has been delayed for three months—because he changed his mind after he had first volunteered at another unit to postpone his release. Apart from this airman, there has been no delay in release for the P.T. instructors serving in the Cocos Islands, though as a trade throughout the Service they are two groups, not eight, behind the average. One, or possibly two, of them in the Cocos Islands have been helping out with other service duties but this was in addition to P.T. instruction. There are now only two instructors in the Islands and they are both fully employed on P.T. duties.

Mrs. Leah Manning

In view of the fact that both youth clubs and senior schools in this country are very badly in need of P.T. instructors, will my hon. Friend do his best to get instructors out?

Mr. Strachey

We are doing our best.

77. Mr. Piratin

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what release group in the W.A.A.F. has now been reached; how far behind are the clerical grades and when it is expected that they will reach the ordinary grades and be released simultaneously with others of the same group.

Mr. Strachey

All married members of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force have now been given the choice of leaving the Service. In December we are releasing unmarried Women's Auxiliary Air Force officers of most branches in Group 31, and airwomen of most trades in Group 37. As for the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 5th December to my hon. Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Mr. Callaghan), of which I am sending him a copy.

86. Mr. Carson

asked the Under secretary of State for Air to what extent the release rate of the model maker trade of the R.A.F. is lagging behind the normal release rate.

Mr. Strachey

Their release is one group ahead of the average.

87. Squadron-Leader Sir Gifford Fox

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many of the 10,000 agricultural workers to be given Class B block releases are to be taken from the R.A.F.; what conditions with regard to age and length of service categories of these men will be applied; and how many men will be released during the next three months, respectively.

Mr. Strachey

our share is to be just over 2,100, plus some rural craftsmen who will be nominated individually by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The 2,100 agricultural workers will be offered Class B release under the block procedure, in order of age and service, but disregarding those who are nearly due for Class A release or who have served for less than a year.