HC Deb 11 February 1947 vol 433 cc168-9
21. Mr. Keenan

asked the Secretary of State for War why men of the R.E., D.C.R.E., who had taken and completed the architectural draughtsmen Class II course of training at Chatham, in November last, were sent to the Scottish Command in Edinburgh, then to Perth, Scotland, where no Army accommodation was available, then sent home on embarkation leave, after which they returned to Edinburgh and the next day were sent to Barton Stacey, Hampshire, later to be drafted overseas; and if he will prevent such journeys in future.

Mr. Bellenger

Men who complete courses in this country cannot always be posted direct to holding units for immediate drafting overseas. While they are waiting, they are employed in their trades in units at home. In the present case there were 20 students on the course and, as there were no outstanding demands for their services overseas, they were posted to home commands for temporary employment. Two were posted to Scottish Command, and they were sent to a district headquarters. After three weeks, urgent demands were received for draughtsmen for the Far East, and the men had to be posted to Barton Stacey, which is the only R.E. drafting unit in this country.

Mr. Keenan

Is the Minister aware that the men concerned knew they were to go overseas, and in spite of the fact that they knew it, apparently many of them were sent off on a tour around the country? I suggest that those in the Department responsible for sending the men from Chatham to Scotland, then on embarkation leave, then returning them to Scotland and then sending them to the place from which they were sent overseas, ought to be attended to.