HC Deb 11 October 1944 vol 403 c1776W
Mr. Collindridge

asked the Secretary of State for Air why cadets of the A.T.C. who were in reserved occupations were induced to volunteer for the R.A.F. and after being enlisted were later transferred to the Army; is he aware of the deep feeling this action has caused; and will he consider allowing such cases to return to their former civilian employment until the R.A.F. requires their services.

Sir A. Sinclair

A.T.C. cadets in reserved occupations were accepted for aircrew service when the situation demanded the recruitment of every available man who could qualify for aircrew training. The circumstances of the war have changed. Our air superiority over the enemy has increased. Consequently our casualty rate has been lower than was forecast and we have an excess of potential aircrew over immediate needs. The Army, on the other hand, needs reinforcements and it would be impossible to justify the retention on deferred service for aircrew duties of more men than are likely to be able to fight in the Royal Air Force in this war. Men on the deferred list, including members of the A.T.C., were accordingly given further interviews, with educational, aptitude and medical tests and selections were made up to the numbers required. The remainder were released from Air Force service and their disposal became a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour and National Service. I regret the disappointment caused, but my hon. Friend will, I am sure, agree that the needs of the Armed Forces as a whole must transcend individual preferences.