§ 32. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that trained men of the Royal Air Force Regiment at some Royal Air Force stations are often compelled to be idle for the greater portion of each day; how these men are employed at Laarbruch, Germany; how many study classes have been provided at Laarbruch and how many attend; and what attempts have been made more fully to occupy the time and energy of serving men.
No, Sir. Units of the R.A.F. Regiment at Laarbruch, like those elsewhere, are training to a planned programme which includes large-scale field exercises and practice camps. One hundred and seventy-nine airmen from these units attend general educational classes on the station.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that information does not 1838 coincide with the experience of those who have been to this camp? May I inform him, from assurances given to some of us, including myself, that many of these men are wasting their time day after day, and they want something to do? Would the hon. Gentleman therefore make a particular inquiry into this allegation to see whether something more can be done to occupy these men for a much longer part of the day than I can assure him they are being occupied now?
When the hon. Member put down his Question I called for details of the training carried out by the R.A.F. Regiment at Laarbruch, and I can find nothing at all to support his allegation. Since the beginning of June these units have taken part in two large-scale N.A.T.O. exercises; they have put on a demonstration before the Commandant-General of the regiment and they have each attended anti-aircraft practice camps. All this calls for intensive training beforehand. I may add that during this period the mechanical transport of one unit alone covered 150,000 miles, which does not sound as if they have been idle.
§ Mr. Strachey
While, as a result of a recent visit to this station, I can agree with the Minister that the men there seem pretty busy, can he assure us that they are given opportunities to use the very extensive educational facilities which are in existence there?
§ Mr. Burden
Would my hon. Friend give the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) an opportunity to go to Germany to see the position himself? Then he would be amazed at the facilities available for the men there, both from the point of view of education and entertainment.
§ Mr. Sorensen
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter again at the earliest opportunity.