HC Deb 14 March 1951 vol 485 cc1528-30
34. Mr. J. Enoch Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement showing how many G reservists to whom notices of recall for training have been, or are to be, sent, had served one, two, three, four, five or six years before VJ day.

Mr. A. Henderson

This information is not available and it would entail a disproportionate amount of work to obtain it. It is estimated, however, that about 3,000 of those who are being recalled saw service in the last war.

Mr. Fort

Is the Minister aware that in at least one village I know, six out of eight men being called up under the G Reserve scheme are 38, 39 or 40 years of age or over? Does he think that this is carrying out the pledge to make sure that there is not a disproportionate number of those being called who served in the last war and who are now getting on to middle age?

Mr. Henderson

I quite appreciate the point of view of the man who is 40 years of age, who may be called up even for 15 days' training; but the object of the whole scheme is to increase our preparedness in the event of an emergency this year and it has to be realised that it is most desirable to have men who have had experience.

35. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many Class G reservists to whom calling-up papers have been sent were under 35; how many were between 35 and 40; and how many were over 40.

Mr. A. Henderson

Of the Class G reservists to whom warning notices of call-up have been sent, 710 are aged 40 or over. Figures of those under 35, and between 35 and 40, are not readily available, but as soon as the scheme is in full operation I will be glad to give these figures.

Mr. Mallalieu

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say when that will be?

Mr. Henderson

Perhaps within two months.

Mr. Chetwynd

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether the 710 men are all specialists?

Mr. Henderson

I prefer to call them tradesmen.

40. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Secretary of State for Air why the appeal by Mr. F. Jacob, Windy Ridge, Prospect Place, Haverfordwest, against his call-up under Class G Reserve has been turned down in Air Ministry letter A.78379/51/ D.D.M.D./1651963, in view of the fact that he is 42 years of age and his job as a railway clerk was reserved at 35 during the 1939–45 war.

Mr. A. Henderson

The reason why Mr. Jacob's appeal, which was very fully and sympathetically considered, had to be rejected, is that, as I told the House recently, the number of men in the Air Force trade of Clerk Special Duties, who are available for call-up, is limited, and the grounds on which he appealed were not felt to be sufficiently strong to warrant exemption. The arrangements which during the last war governed the call-up by age groups of men who had not previously received Service training, are not appropriate for the selective recall of trained reservists on the present occasion.

Mr. Donnelly

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that for a time during the last war I was a special duties clerk myself, that most of my job was taken up with making cups of tea for the officers, and that because I was very successful at this I was very appropriately recommended for a commission in the Intelligence branch?

Mr. H. Hynd

Could not the Air Ministry secure a considerable reduction in staff if they would use less lengthy references in their letters than, for example, the reference which appears in the Question?

Lieut-Commander Braithwaite

Has not the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) shown himself, to have every qualification for the position of a Parliamentary Private Secretary?

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