§ Mr. Thurtle
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that at Hendon recently a young aircraftman named Ratcliffe, sorting through old papers in the orderly room, put into the waste-paper basket a copy of a foreign training course in the belief that this was useless and unwanted; that for this mistake he was summarily sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment; that Ratcliffe is 19 years of age with an unblemished record 1069W of nearly two and a-half years' service to his credit; that after his completion of the 14 days' imprisonment he was in a state of great mental unrest and has since been reported as missing from his unit; and will he take steps to ensure that punishment of this kind shall not in future be inflicted on young members of the Royal Air Force for a mistake of judgment of this nature?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead
The airman referred to was sentenced to 14 days' detention for destroying a quantity of official correspondence which had been specifically given to him by a superior officer for filing. He was also charged with making an extract from an official document but this charge was dismissed. The airman is not missing from his unit; he was absent without leave from 31st January to 2nd February when he returned to duty. On the facts as at present disclosed I see no reason for taking any special action such as is suggested.