HC Deb 02 February 1944 vol 396 cc1285-6W
Mr. Hutchinson

asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) what is the position of persons voluntarily enlisted into the balloon barrage service upon the expiration of their service agreements;

(2) whether persons discharged from the R.A.F.V.R. (Balloon Barrage Service) upon the expiration of voluntary enlistment, who become liable for service under the National Service Acts, are given the same medical examinations, choice of service and options as persons who have not previously served.

Sir A. Sinclair

Under the Military and Air Forces (Prolongation of Service) Act, 1939, the term of service of airmen of the Auxiliary Air Force serving in Balloon Command is deemed not to expire until the end of the emergency. Where, however, these airmen cannot be employed in the best interests of the Service under the terms of their engagement they may be discharged at its expiration and called up for immediate service in the R.A.F.V.R. under the provisions of Section 4 (2) of the National Service (No. 2) Act, 1941. Since these airmen do not cease to be members of the Armed Forces of the Crown upon the expiry of their original term of service, the statutory provisions and procedure designed to deal with the call-up of men from civil life do not apply. The reasons for this procedure were fully explained in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor) on 9th June last, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. and learned Friend. Personnel who enlisted in the R.A.F.V.R. before the war accepted liability for general service. They are not discharged on completion of their original engagement which is automatically extended for the period of the emergency.