HC Deb 05 December 1945 vol 416 cc2464-70W
Sir G. Fox

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the number of men and machines at present in the statistical section working on the release scheme; and how many men and machines he has in reserve.

Mr. Strachey

We have 364 men and women and 82 machines working on personnel statistics. These are all related to the release scheme, and all the machines we have are working to their full capacity. Fifteen extra machines are expected this month.

Major Beamish

asked the Under secretary of State for Air to what extent the situation regarding the release of the accountant branch has now improved; and what prospect of further improvement he can promise.

Mr. Strachey

Release of men of the accounting trades was nine groups behind the average in October. It is now seven groups behind, and the forecast for February is that it will be only four groups behind. So we are making progress.

Mr. Callaghan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air, in view of the continued dissatisfaction in the R.A.F. about unequal trade releases, how many mean are affected; what percentage of R.A.F. strength they constitute; in what trades the position exists; what progress has been made towards evening up the rate of release; and what his programme is for achieving parity with the general release scheme.

Mr. Strachey

At present the release in Class A of something over 26,000 officers

Categories and trade in the R. A. F. in which the rate of release is below the average.
Category or trade. Number of release groups below the average.
September October. November. December January1946
Signals 11 12 Nil 1 Nil
Provost and Security 7 6 Nil 1 Nil
Link Trainer Instructor 1 Nil 1 1 1
Fighter and G. C. I. Controller. Nil 1 2 1 1
Airfield construction 6 4 2 2 2
Dental 4 3 3 1 1
Legal 5 2 2 1 2
Filter and Movement liaison Nil 1 2 2 2
R. A. F. Regiment 1 2 1 2 2
Physical Fitness 4 3 2 3 3
Photographic 10 10 9 3 3
Accountant 10 9 8 7 6
Engineer 10 5 5 4 1
Catering 8 4 3 4 4
Meterological 6 7 6 5 F/Ls. And above 5 Below F/L. 1
Equipment 7 7 4 4 4
Signals Radar 4 5 6 6 4
Fitter M. T 1 1 1 1 1
M. T Mechanic 1 1 1 1 1
Radar Mechanic 6 Nil Nil 1 Nil
Medical and Dental Trades 4 3 1 2 2
Firefighter Nil Nil 1 1 Nil
Clerk (G.D) 3 2 2 2 Nil
Clerk (S. D) 3 2 2 2 Nil
Physical Training Instructor 1 Nil 1 2 Nil
Equipment Assistant 3 4 4 4 3
Clerk According (including P. A and E. A) 10 9 8 7 6
Cook 4 5 3 4 3
Driver M. T., Motor cyclist and armoured car crew Nil Nil 1 1 Nil
P. T. I. 1 Nil 1 2 Nil
Shoe repairer Nil Nil Nil 1 Nil
Tailor Nil Nil Nil 1 Nil

and men of the Royal Air Force is delayed. This represents about 3½percent. of the strength of the Air Force at the end of the year, or 9 percent. of the men released to the end of the year. By the end of January the number of men delayed will be less than 19,000, which is under 3 percent of the strength then. I am giving below tables showing the other information for which my hon. Friend has asked in respect of both the Royal Air Force and the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. As for the last part of the Question, I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Hitchin (Major Asterley Jones) on 28th November.

Catergories and trade in the W. A. A. F. in which the rate of release is below the average
Category or trade. Number of release groups below the average.
September October. November. December January1946
W. A. A. F. (G) 10 7 11 13 14
Equipment Nil Nil 6 7 9
Women Medical 10 7 10 6 8
Code and Cypher Nil Nil 5 5 7
Provost and Security Nil Nil 4 4 Nil
Catering Nil Nil 6 3 4
Signals Nil Nil 4 3 4
Admin, and Misc. Nil Nil 6 2 3
Accountant 20 23 10 5 6
Intelligence Nil Nil 3 1 Nil
Clerk Accounting (including P.A. and E. A.). 23 33 16 11 11
Medical and Dental Trades 3 5 5 4 3
Cook Nil 7 6 3 4
Clerk (G. D.) Nil 1 1 1 4
Clerk (S.D.) Nil 1 1 1 1
W. A. A. F. Admin Nil Nil 2 1 2
Telephonist Nil Nil Nil Nil 1
Teleprinter Operator Nil Nil Nil Nil 1
Equipment Assistant Nil 7 6 1 2
The above table applies to Single Women only, all Married Women having been offered release before September, except in the Accounting trades, in which trades a proportion of Married Women were offered release in September and October, and the remainder in November.

Sir P. Hannon

asked the Under-Secretary for Air reasons for the postponement of the release of radar mechanics in the R.A.F. in Group 25, their release due in December now being carried forward to 28th February.

Mr. Strachey

We announced originally that radar mechanics in Group 25 would be demobilised between the beginning of December and the end of January. We shall keep to this announcement, though they will be released in the second half of the period. These radar mechanics and these in Group 26 have also been included in the latest promulgation for January and they will all be released in that month. We are taking steps to make the advance information clearer for all trades in future.

Mr. Benn Levy

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether remustered men are being demobilised according to their original trade or their remustered trade.

Mr. Strachey

According to their remustered trade.

Mr. Gallacher

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why men serving in the trade of clerk provisioning at Master Provision Office, Middle East, who are due for release with Group 24, have had the date of their release postponed from January to February.

Mr. Strachey

We shall be releasing provisioning clerks in Groups 24, 25 and 26 during January. They will not be delayed.

Major Conant

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air (I) if he will arrange for temporarily released R.A.F. personnel to be informed at once of their release group numbers;

(2)if he will again make it clear that temporarily released R.A.F. personnel, who have a written statement that their time on release would count towards their current engagement, will be released with their release group number under the conditions applicable to Class A release.

Mr. Strachey

The general position of all men on temporary release who have not been recalled to the R.A.F. will be made clear in a statement which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour will make shortly in regard to members of the Armed Forces on indefinite release to industry. In the meanwhile I willingly repeat the statement included in my reply of 10th October that it has now been decided that those airmen who received an unqualified written assurance that their period of release to industry "would count as service towards their current engagements" will count that period as service for calculating their age and Service re lease groups. Their release groups will be adjusted accordingly.

Flying-Officer Bowden

asked the Under secretary of State for Air why radar mechanics, whose release groups are retarded, are being used at R.A.F., St. Mawgan, for self help and fatigue section schemes; and whether it is his intention to retard certain trades of R.A.F. personnel to replace A.M.W.D. civilian employees.

Mr. Strachey

Radar mechanics were used at St. Mawgan for self help and fatigue section schemes at a time when there was a temporary and local falling off in duties of their trade. They are now fully employed as" radar mechanics. Radar mechanics are now only one group behind the average. The answer to the last part of the Question is "No, Sir."

Mr. Hobson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what group numbers will be released by June, 1946, in the promulgated trade groups.

Mr. Strachey

There is at present nothing I can add to the general forecast for the end of next June of group 32 to be released for most trades, which I gave in my statement of 22nd October. We cannot forecast releases in individual trades more than three months ahead.

Mr. Cooper-Key

asked the Under secretary of State for Air the earliest date by which W.A.A.F. clerks, general duties, in Group 37, will be released.

Mr. Strachey

We have announced that Women Auxiliary Air Force clerks (general duties) in Groups 37 and 38 will be released in January.

Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Under secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that airmen on discharge are being issued with a thin raincoat or mackintosh; that their health is being imperilled by this sudden change from thick Service overcoats in wintry weather; and will he arrange that the provision of overcoats, now reserved to those released with a medical officer's certificate, is available to all men released between October and May

Mr. Strachey

Most of the raincoats and mackintoshes issued on demobilisation have a warm lining for winter use, and we allow men to keep their service pullovers. We do not provide greatcoats, but an airman may borrow his service greatcoat till a suitable raincoat can be found for him. I may say that I thought my raincoat was about the best part of the outfit.

Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Under secretary of State for Air the number of clerks/accounting and clerks/G.D. who have been released under the demobilisation scheme; the number of personnel who have been remustered to those trades since VJ-Day; and the number of intakes since VJ-Day who have been allocated to those trades.

Mr. Strachey

The figures up to 15th November are as follow:

Clerks accounting R.A.F. 383 1,145
W.A.A.F. 762
Clerks G.D. R.A.F. 3,594 7,228
W.A.A.F. 3,634
Remustered since VJ-Day
Clerks accounting R.A.F. 1.580 1,580
W.A.A.F. Nil
Clerks G.D. R.A.F. 1,405 1,850
W.A.A. F. 445
Allocated from intakes since VJ-Day
Clerks accounting R.A.F. 2,755 2,875
W.A.A.F. 120
Clerks G.D. R.A.F. 2,995 3,130
W.A.AF. 135

Mr. Thurtle

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air, when cooks in Group 23, serving in this country, are likely to be released from the R.A.F.

Mr. Strachey

It has been announced that cooks in Groups 22 and 23 will be released in January. Release Groups are the same for airmen serving at home or overseas.