§ 2. Mr. Snow
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, arising out of claims by Mr. R. E. Harrison, of Rugeley, Staffordshire, he is now in a position to give the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth specific answers to his proposal for a Departmental inquiry and to the request for information as to the adequacy of his Department's records covering the ranks to be assumed by civilian employees at Singapore in 1942 when embodied in the Royal Air Force on emergency evacuation to Australia.
I do not consider that a Departmental inquiry would serve any useful purpose. The records saved from Singapore and those maintained on the voyage home, together with the evidence of Mr. Harrison's superior officers, were adequate for a complete investigation of these claims.
§ Mr. Snow
Will the hon. Gentleman say why the Royal Air Force is treating this man so extremely unfairly? Will the hon. Gentleman deny that this man was authorised to take up the appointment of pilot officer, that he was instructed to buy a uniform, that he was paid at the appropriate rate and that when he reached Australia eventually he was demoted arbitrarily and consequently lost the value of the uniform, for which he was not compensated?
I can only assure the hon. Gentleman that we have consulted the two senior officers under whom Harrison was serving at that time in Singapore, 385 and that both of them absolutely deny that he was ever given any indication that he was entitled to commissioned rank.
§ Mr. Strachey
Cannot the Under-Secretary at any rate give us in some form and in public a complete explanation of this case, which prima facie looks like one of shabby treatment of an officer?
I have written in some detail to the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Snow). I think that he knows in detail exactly what the explanations are, and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman asks his hon. Friend to show the correspondence to him.