§ 28. Mr. Driberg
asked the Secretary of State for Air if, in view of the concern felt in the R.A.F. about the retention of clerks and other tradesmen beyond the time at which they would normally be released in their age and length of service groups, he will now make a comprehensive statement on the differences between R.A.F. and Army practice in such matters as release, repatriation and 28 days' home leave for men serving in the B.L.A. and the C.M.F. before they are posted to the Far East.
§ Mr. Driberg
Can the hon. Member say—in view of the apprehension that has been caused in the Air Force by the speech of the Secretary of State for War last Friday, which was in the main satisfactory as regards the Army—whether the last point in my Question will be dealt with in that long answer?
§ Following is the statement:
§ In order that the Royal Air Force may carry out its tasks and fulfil its commitments, release must proceed at a rate different from that of the Army. Further, in view of the high degree of specialisation in the Air Force, it will be necessary to deal separately with the different branches, categories and trades; whereas, in the Army, age and service groups will normally be released without regard to trades, etc.
§ The normal tour of overseas duty in the Royal Air Force is three years for married personnel unaccompanied by their families 1637 and four years for single personnel and married personnel accompanied by their families. As announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War on 8th June, the tour for Army personnel is to be reduced to three years and four months in the Far East and to four years elsewhere as shipping and other means of transport offer.
§ Leave before Posting to the Far East.
§ A minimum of fourteen days' leave is granted to Royal Air Force personnel before posting to the Far East. Subject, however, to operational exigencies and the phasing of drafts every effort will be made to increase this leave to correspond with that granted to Army personnel, which as stated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War on 8th June, is now 28 days.