HC Deb 11 December 1945 vol 417 cc331-4W
Sir P. Hannon

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will consider the outlook of R.A.M.C. officers, whose demobilisation has been indefinitely delayed, who are anxious to return to their profes- sional duties, and who, in many cases, may suffer loss of practice;and if action will be taken to expedite the release of those officers.

Mr. Lawson

I am unable to agree that there has been any general delay in the release of medical officers. On the contrary, since the officer deferment scheme did not apply to them, they are at present being released more quickly than officers in other arms, apart from a few individual specialists, who have been held back on grounds of operational necessity, until replacements can be obtained.

Sir J. Mellor

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has issued an instruction similar to Air Ministry Signal P.M.737, dated 15th November, with a view to accelerating releases under Class B; and whether such instruction was similarly limited to commands at home.

Mr. Lawson

I have sent personal instructions to the commanders of all commands, both at home and abroad, directing them to ensure that Class B releases are effected quickly. I understand that the Air Ministry Signals also went to commands at home and abroad.

Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will now give further consideration to the proposal that men who are due for demobilisation should be given indefinite leave until their discharge can be completed, instead of being compelled to spend their time unprofitably for a considerable period at release camps.

Mr. Lawson

No, Sir. As I have already stated, this would be unfair to other soldiers. I do not agree that these men are compelled to spend their time unprofitably for a considerable period.

Mr. Linstead

asked the Secretary of State for War why a greater sum than £5, for example, an advance on account of gratuity, is not being paid to other ranks about to be released under Class B in order to provide for the expenses of leave and for other immediate purposes.

Mr. Lawson

A soldier released in Class B receives an advance covering approximately 14 days pay and ration allowance. The balance for the full period of leave is sent so as to reach him by the 15th day. In addition, family allowance continues, where payable. The gratuity is paid in full eight weeks after release, as in all other cases. I see no reason to alter these arrangements, especially as Class B men are released specifically for employment.

Sir W. Wakefield

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the form which a soldier is asked to sign when accepting Class B release does not state clearly whether he has been offered an individual release or a bulk release; and will he take steps to have the form altered accordingly.

Mr. Lawson

I do not think there is any general misunderstanding on this point. The men concerned are told to report either to a particular firm or to an office of the Ministry of Labour and National Service; if the latter it is clearly a case of bulk release. Also, commanding officers are instructed to make the conditions clear to men who are offered Class B release.

Mr. Bower

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the Dental War Committee (Resettlement Committee) has advised members of the profession that dental officers serving in the Forces are not likely to be released until they have reached the age of at least 30 years; and whether he will give an assurance that dental officers will be released according to age and length of service in the ordinary way.

Mr. Lawson

I am not aware of such a statement. Dental officers are being released in accordance with their age and service groups.

Mr. S. Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for War why the service of schoolmasters, who at the commencement of the war volunteered as civilian radio officers and served with K.A. units, later being transferred to the Army, are not allowed to reckon such civilian service with Army units in computing their age and service category for release; and whether he is aware that the Air Ministry recognises similar service rendered by meteorological officers in the R.A.F. as counting towards their release group.

Mr. Lawson

These radio officers are in the same position as many others employed under the War Office as civilians and afterwards enlisted or commissioned. Their civilian service is excluded under the general rule which debars the counting of any form of service before joining the Armed Forces. I understand that the case of the R.A.F. personnel referred to is not comparable.