HC Deb 09 April 1952 vol 498 c2726
39. Air Commodore A. V. Harvey

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many officers serving in the Royal Air Force of air rank are under 40 years of age.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (Mr. Nigel Birch)

I have been asked to reply.

None, Sir.

Air Commodore Harvey

Does not my hon. Friend think that this is a very highly unsatisfactory state of affairs, and does he realise that officers who held air rank during the war have gone back to being group captains for seven years? Will he not take a leaf out of the Army's book, where a major-general attained that rank at the age of 38? This is a young man's service and if we could get some younger men at the top, it might be possible to get better aircraft.

Mr. Birch

If my hon. and gallant Friend would look into the situation, he would find that promotion prospects in the Air Force are certainly not worse than in the other two Services.

Mr. Ian Harvey

Does my hon. Friend not agree that we have excellent precedents for youthful promotion in the Air Force?

Mr. Birch

During war promotion is always very much quicker.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

May we have an assurance that the Under-Secretary of State for Air is all right?

Mr. Birch

My hon. Friend is ill.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I am sorry.