HC Deb 10 September 1942 vol 383 cc329-30W
Major Profumo

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that there are numbers of men who have volunteered to join the Royal Air Force as air crews and, having been accepted on those terms, are drafted to ground jobs, in some instances for periods amounting to over 12 months, before there are opportunities for them to train as air crews; and, in view of the discontent caused by these conditions, whether he is prepared to curtail the intake of volunteers for air crews to a number that can be immediately absorbed?

Captain Balfour

Air-crew candidates, other than wireless operator-air gunners, undergo a short period of essential ground training before commencing their training in the air. Wireless operator-air gunners, to which category of air crew my hon. and gallant Friend is presumably referring, require a long period of ground training in wireless duties before they are fit for air-crew training. Moreover, in order to ensure that adequate numbers are readily available to meet fluctuating operational requirements, wireless operator-air gunners who have completed their ground training are employed as ground wireless operators until required for training in the air. The period thus spent upon ground duties, which in some cases has been unavoidably prolonged, is rapidly becoming shorter generally.