HL Deb 08 February 1949 vol 160 cc559-60

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will state the total number of non-commissioned officers and other ranks called up for national service in the year 1947 who are obliged to serve an extra period of three months in addition to the two years prescribed by the original Act; and, further, whether these soldiers will be given a proportionate increase in gratuity and release leave proportionate to the extra period spent in the Forces.]


No precise period of service is laid down by Act of Parliament for men called up before 1949. His Majesty's Government announced in the White Paper on Call up to the Forces in 1947 and 1948 that, if no unforeseen circumstances arose, men called up during 1947 would serve for not more than two years. As a result of recent decisions, the maximum period will now vary from two years to two years and three months. About 90,000 men, called up in the first half of 1947, are liable to serve for a maximum period of two years and three months, although many of them will be released before the full period has elapsed. Paid release leave is granted at the rate of a day for each completed month of service, and so a proportionate increase in leave automatically results from an increase in the period of service. These men do not receive a gratuity.


My Lords, in thanking the noble Viscount for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that the other ranks are under the impression that they receive a £10 bounty and twenty-one days' leave, plus sixty coupons, for the two years and three months service? I should like to ask whether the noble Viscount would convey to the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for War our feeling that this question should be reviewed and that the privilege leave of twenty-one days should be increased, especially in view of the fact that we want these men for the Auxiliary Forces.


I quite understand the desire of the noble Viscount. He will see from the reply that the release leave is extended by one day per month. There is some doubt as to the bounty. I will make inquiries about that and will certainly draw the attention of my right honourable friends the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for War to the point put by the noble Viscount.

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