HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc559-61W
Mr. Wadsworth

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many meteorological officers have been released up to date; how many of those are permanent employees; how many teachers are meteorological officers; and how many have been released under Class A and how many under Class B.

Mr. Strachey

Up to 1st December we had offered release to 245 Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve meteorological officers in Class A, 69 in Class B, and four in Class C, a total of 318. One hundred and eighteen of these were permanent employees of the Meteorological Office. We estimate that more than 50 per cent. of wartime meterological officers were drawn from the teaching profession but the exact number is not known. Nor do we know how many of the men re leased in Class A were teachers. Of the men offered release in Class B, 42 were teachers.

Sir B. Neven-Spence

asked the Under secretary of State for Air why the advance promulgation for release, dated 16th November, 1945, does not forecast release during the period January-February, 1946, beyond Group 24 for clerks, general duty, R.A.F.

Wing Commander R. Robinson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the continued dissatisfaction of clerks, special duties, who are falling behind the general level of release groups in the R.A.F.; and whether he will end the practice whereby these men are misemployed on duties, of other than their normal ones, so that they may be released from the Service on their due dates.

Mr. Strachey

We have been able to improve considerably on the November forecast referred to by the hon. Member. We have just announced that both general duties and special duties clerks in Groups 24, 25 and 26 will be released in January. This speed up for the general duties clerks would have been quite impossible without help from the special duties clerks. Surely it is fair that the release of these two categories of clerks should be kept abreast.

Sir J. Mellor

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why Air Ministry Signal, PM 7737, dated 15th November, urging expedition of Class B releases, was limited to commands at home.

Mr. Strachey

Similar signals were sent on the same date to overseas commands as well as to commands at home.

Commander Maitland

asked the Under secretary of State for Air to what extent it has been possible to organise the inter change of men in the various R.A.F. trades in order to even out releases; and to what extent, in particular, it has been found possible to interchange the various grades of clerks, wireless mechanics and wireless operators.

Mr. Strachey

We are doing all we can to employ airmen from one trade in an other trade where that will help to even out the release rate. We have been able to spare some 23,000 aircrew for temporary ground employment between VE Day and 1st December, and we are encouraging other airmen to remuster where they can be spared. Besides this, many other airmen are now being temporarily employed in trades outside their own. This is on such a general scale throughout the Service that precise figures are not available. As for the particular trades mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member, special duties clerks have been and are being freely used to help out clerks, G.D., so that the release rate of these two categories of clerks has been kept the same.

Mr. Lipson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why it is proposed to freeze the release of radar mechanics during December, 1945, and January and February, 1946; and will he take steps to prevent this happening.

Mr. Strachey

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave 'to the hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon) on 5th December.

Mr. Sorensen

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air in view of discontent respecting disparity in the rate of releases of certain trades in the R.A.F., when this is likely to be rectified or improved.

Mr. Strachey

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Mr. Callaghan) on 5th December, of which I am sending him a copy. This shows, in detail, many improvements for January, compared with our earlier fore cast for January and February. The position later will depend largely on the rate of release for the Service as a whole.

Mr. Walker

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why clerks, general duties, code and cypher, are being released from the R.A.F. five groups ahead of clerks, general duties and special duties.

Mr. Strachey

Clerks general duties, code and cypher, belong to the signals organisation and are released with the signals trades in which the rate of release for airmen has been above the average. In December they were three groups ahead of clerks general duties and special duties; they will be two groups ahead in January.

Mr. Benn Levy

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will consider the possibility of demobilising remustered men according to their original trade. rather than their remustered trade.

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. Remustering was in progress throughout the war, and to make a change of this kind now would be impracticable. We have had no compulsory remustering since the end of August. Men who are misemployed to release the delayed trades such as accountants are of course released according to their own trade.