HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 cc1985-6W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether men serving in the Royal Air Force in connection with the seaplane base, Malta, who have been on the island for about two and a half years without any home leave, made a request toward the end of last year for leave and permission to finish the time intervening for demobilisation at a home station; whether he is aware that the request was made through the proper channels to the major and to the commanding officer for permission to put the case before the group officer; whether he is aware that the question was dismissed as frivolous, and a warning given that a similar request would result in the senior hand being arrested and court-martialled; whether this sort of treatment of men for taking legitimate constitutional action has his approval; and whether, in view of the report that there are three times the number of men at Malta to do less than half the work there was in war-time, steps can be taken to grant home leave?

Major-General SEELY

An application, as indicated in the first part of the question, was made at the end of last year through the proper channels, and so far as reliefs were available for carrying on the necessary work of the station, the men concerned have been sent home for demobilisation. I am informed that there is no truth whatever in the statement that the request for drafting to the home establishment was dismissed as frivolous. I would add that the present strength of the unit in question is less than 30 per cent. of its establishment.