HC Deb 04 April 1944 vol 398 cc1825-7W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can state the systems of promotion in the R.A.F. for air crews and officers engaged on ground duties, respectively; whether the distinction between acting rank and temporary rank is governed by any particular regulation; to what extent officers are debarred from any promotion if not promoted from acting temporary rank; and what is the position of Volunteer Reserve officers, many of whom are fairly senior and who had seen service either in the Army or Navy before joining up for employment during this war.

Sir A. Sinclair

The scheme of war-time promotion for officers in the R.A.F. can be briefly described as follows:

Substantive Promotion.

Promotion to substantive rank is confined to officers holding permanent commissions and is limited to vacancies on the 1939–40 peace establishment.


Officers of the General Duties Branch (aircrews) are commissioned in the rank of pilot officer. After six months' service in that rank they are granted time-promotion to flying officer and after a further 18 months time-promotion to flight lieutenant, subject in each case to satisfactory service. For other officers there is time-promotion to the rank of flying officer after six months' satisfactory service in the rank of pilot officer, except in the Medical and Dental Branches where officers are entered as flying officers and are granted time-promotion to flight lieutenant after one year's satisfactory service.

Temporary Promotion.

Promotions to ranks outside the scope of time-promotions are made within the war establishment on the recommendations of Central Promotion Boards held at the Air Ministry.

Acting Promotion.

Acting rank is granted to officers employed in posts graded in a rank above their existing rank pending the availability of an officer of the appropriate substantive or temporary rank, and is tenable only so long as an officer is filling such a post. Acting ranks up to wing commander may be granted by commands; the acting rank of group captain and above is granted by the Air Ministry.

Officers who obtain an acting rank two or more steps above their basic rank and hold it for certain periods are given war substantive rank one rank below the acting rank and they cannot drop below this in war if they lose their acting rank.

Promotion Boards for temporary rank are held half-yearly and the claims of officers, whether holding acting rank or not, who have not been selected by one Board are considered by subsequent Boards.

As for the last part of the Question, the claims to promotion to temporary rank of R.A.F.V.R. officers with previous service are fully considered along with those of other officers. Promotions are of course limited to vacancies.