HC Deb 27 July 1960 vol 627 cc1636-7
26. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement about the dismissal of the Reverend William Raine, who was until recently Free Church chaplain at Lindholme Royal Air Force Station.

Mr. W. J. Taylor

Mr. Raine courteously told our Principal Free Church Chaplain last month of his intention to take part in a march of protest against nuclear weapons. In the course of very friendly correspondence and discussion he accepted the view that this did not fit in well with his official ministry at R.A.F., Lindholme, and he therefore agreed to resign. We are most grateful for the services he has given.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does this mean that henceforth only those padres who speak the Gospel according to the Establishment will be acceptable? Can the hon. Gentleman say whether any member of the Service who might hold views similar to those of this padre will also be dealt with in the same way? Quite a number would like to feel that this was a way of relieving themselves of their obligations. Does the hon. Gentleman mean that henceforth the Minister will write the sermons to ensure that they are according to what the Establishment would like?

Mr. Taylor

It means simply that we can hardly have as a chaplain on a bomber station of the R.A.F. someone who publicly advocates the view that Bomber Command's main task is morally wrong. The incompatibility appears to me obvious, and I gather that Mr. Raine is of the same opinion.