HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc2393-5
3. Mr. Hugh Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many men being called up from the G Reserve will be respectively over 40 years of age, and over 30 years of age; and how many will have begun their military service before 1943 and before 1940, respectively.

Mr. A. Henderson

I would refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave on 14th March to the hon. Members for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu) and Wolverhampton, Southwest (Mr. Powell).

Mr. George Thomas

Does that reply indicate that men who have not handled a gun for nine years or more, and who are now middle-aged, are not likely to be called up for a fortnight's training?

Mr. Henderson

I do not want to be too technical. The men for whom I am responsible are not being called up to handle guns. They are being called up to work the control and reporting system. The object of the questions which I have undertaken to answer in due course is to ascertain the proportion of those over 40 and those over 35.

5. Mr. J. Enoch Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement showing the number of G reservists being recalled this year by age and service groups.

Mr. A. Henderson

The age and service group system which governed releases after the last war has no bearing on the present call-up of R.A.F. reservists, which is based on the principle of "last out, first back," subject to the over-riding need for men with the right type of Service experience.

As I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, East (Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu) on 14th March, information about the age grouping of reservists who have been called up is not readily available, but I have made arrangements for it to be obtained, and I will make it available as soon as I receive it.

8. Mr. Profumo

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many of the 9,000 Class G reservists scheduled for call-up it is now expected will receive refresher training this summer.

Mr. A. Henderson

It is expected that about 8,600 Class G reservists will receive refresher training this summer.

Mr. Profumo

Does the figure which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted allow for the wastage which is bound to occur in exemptions for medical, occupational, hardship and conscientious reasons?

Mr. Henderson

We have estimated that about 400 will come under those headings. That will reduce the figure from 9,000 to 8,600.

Mr. Profumo

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure the House that there is sufficient equipment and that there are sufficient operational units to enable these men to be kept fully and reasonably employed during the whole period of their call-up?

Mr. Henderson

The figure of 8,600 is a ceiling, and if we are not satisfied that we can give these men adequate training they will not be called up.

Air Commodore Harvey

As the original figure was 10,000 and is now 8,600, would it not be better if the Air Ministry made quite clear the number they require for training, to save men being called up unnecessarily? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is grave concern about the radar equipment and ground reporting stations being adequate to enable the Air Force fully to train these men? Will he look into the matter?

Mr. Henderson

Yes, Sir. I want to be quite fair to the Air Ministry. The figure of 10,000 was the original estimate of the ceiling and not of the actual number which it was expected would be called up. The actual number was 9,000, but we have to make provision for hardship cases and the figure ultimately will be about 8,600. I will certainly look into the point raised in the latter part of the hon. and gallant Member's supplementary question.

16. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether plans will be completed to rehabilitate the radar stations' domestic camps in time to house the Class G reservists being called up this summer.

Mr. A. Henderson

As many of these reservists as possible will be housed in existing buildings, which will be rehabilitated where necessary, in so far as time permits. A certain number of reservists may, however, have to live under canvas.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Is the Minister aware that squatters have moved in at quite a number of these domestic sites? If so, what does he propose to do about them?

Mr. Henderson

I should like to have particulars of the stations where there are these squatters.