HC Deb 17 December 1945 vol 417 cc1071-2W
Mr. Callaghan

asked the Secretary of State for War what difficulties have arisen in C.M.F. in Repatriation Groups 23 and upwards; and what his proposals are for overcoming them.

Mr. Lawson

I am not aware of any difficulties. Other ranks in Group 23 are now in process of release: officers in that group are not yet due for release.

Mr. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that naval ratings transferred to the Army, some of them after five years' service in the R.N., were given a guarantee by high ranking officers on behalf of the Government that they would lose nothing by the transfer; and, as some of these men in release Group 30, with possibly another five months' service before them in the Army, would by now have been demobilised if they had been allowed to complete their service in the R.N., if he will inquire into the position of these men with a view to remedying any injustice.

Mr. Lawson

I have no knowledge of any comprehensive promise of the nature referred to, nor on the subject of release, which was not a practical question at the time of the transfers. As I stated on 23rd October, in reply to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford, the release of these men under naval rules could not be justified, and would not always operate to the advantage of the men.

Sir Ronald Ross

asked the Secretary of State for War whether troops of Groups 27, 28 and 29, on leave in the United Kingdom, are still returned to the Middle East with only three months more to serve; and if so, whether he will arrange that, in view of the shortage of shipping, they should complete their service at home.

Mr. Lawson

As a general rule, men are not sent home on leave from the Middle East when they are within a few months of repatriation or release and the situation referred to by the hon. Member should not arise. Where it does arise, however, for example, when the release scheme is accelerated, the men must return to their units unless the repatriation of others with prior claims is to be prejudiced. An exception is made only where release is so imminent that no advantage to the overseas Command would result from their return.