HC Deb 30 October 1945 vol 415 cc206-8
1. Lieut.-Colonel Mackeson

asked the Secretary of State for War what plans exist for the demobilisation of Regular officers.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. J. Lawson)

This question does not arise except in the case of Regular officers who are due for retirement, or who wish to retire. The present general policy is to retain Regular Army officers for at least the duration of the emergency, unless they have passed the age limit for reserve liability. Those who have reached the normal age for compulsory retirement are retained on the active list under the authority of Article 213 of the Royal Warrant for the Pay, etc., of the Army, but any who particularly wish to retire on medical or other grounds may apply to do so through the usual channels. Each application is considered on its merits. Members of the Regular Army Reserve of Officers who were called up during the present emergency are released in their age and service groups.

Lieut.-Colonel Mackeson

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is amatter affecting many officers who will wish to retire, and will he, at an early date, institute an inquiry into how many wish to continue to serve, and how many do not?

Mr. Lawson

I will look into that.

6. Mr. York

asked the Secretary of State for War which demobilisation groups are affected by the restrictions which prohibit home leave for men in early demobilisation groups in C.M.F.; how many servicemen are affected; how many weeks' delay would be caused in the repatriation schemes if this restriction was removed; and whether he can now relax this restriction.

Mr. Lawson

The groups affected by this arrangement alter continually as the release scheme progresses, and the numbers of men affected also change constantly in the different theatres, according to the total numbers falling due for release or repatriation under Python at any particular time. I cannot therefore give figures. The object of the arrangement is to avoid bringing men home on leave for long distances, returning them to their units, and bringing them home again shortly afterwards. It is clearly both economical and reasonable and I regret that I can see no grounds for making any change.

Mr. York

In view of the answer given to the previous Question, how can the right hon. Gentleman make a decision upon that matter without knowing, with some degree of accuracy, how many men are affected by this scheme?

Mr. Lawson

I am afraid that, in this particular case, I have not very much to add to what I have stated, because as I see it—I donot know whether I am mistaking the hon. Member's point—it places officers much in the same category as other ranks, on this question of leave.

28. Mr. Bernard Taylor

asked the Secretary of State for War if a man granted compassionate release which takes him beyond his release group, will be liable to be recalled or automatically released with his group.

Mr. Lawson

Periods spent in release from the Colours for any reason are excluded as service for the purpose of assessing a man's age and Service group. If a man is given compassionate release for a limited period, therefore, his age and service group must be amended on his return to the Colours. He may, of course, be eligible for immediate release in his new group. A man who is granted indefinite release on compassionate grounds is not recalled to the Colours.

39. Mr. Piratin

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the provisions of the release scheme as applied to units of His Majesty's Army also apply to the Jewish Brigade; and what steps are being taken to effect the demobilisation of the Jewish Brigade.

Mr. Lawson

Members of the Jewish Brigade are dealt with for release like any other soldiers. Those enlisted in the United Kingdom are returned for release in the usual way with their group; those enlisted in the Middle East are recalled by that Command as release becomes due under the rules relating to local enlistments.

Mr. Piratin

Will the Minister give an assurance that the rate of release of the large numbers in this Brigade who are Palestinians is identical with that of British soldiers?

Mr. Lawson

I am afraid I cannot give that guarantee.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Do the rules of local enlistment correspond at all to our rules?

Mr. Lawson

The members of the Jewish Brigade are dealt with in regard to release like any other soldiers.

Mr. Silverman

My right hon. Friend said in his original answer that those enlisted in the Middle East were dealt with according to the rules of local enlistment; are those rules anything like our rules?

Mr. Lawson

I cannot say offhand.