HC Deb 21 November 1945 vol 416 cc525-7W
Mr. S. Shephard

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air what arrangements arc made for R.A.F. personnel returning from overseas for release, for the provision of food during the journey from the port of disembarkation to the personnel dispatch centre.

Mr. Strachey

These men are given a hot meal before they start and for the journey a haversack ration containing p. meat pie or sausage rolls, four large sandwiches, with cake and fruit when it is available.

Lieut.-Commander Joynson-Hicks

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many officers arc now employed as physical fitness officers; and why, when the training course for such officers is only three weeks, there should be a substantial demobilisation deferment of their category in their age-service groups.

Mr. Strachey

On 1st October, 1945, the latest dale for which figures are available, 414 officers were employed as physical fitness officers against an establishment of 405. The delay in their release is due to the fact that as many as 270 physical fitness officers are in age and service groups 23 to 27. Every effort is being made by retraining to even out the rate of release. The period of the training courses is eight weeks.

Captain Swingler

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air whether he will issue instructions that accounts clerks and other tradesmen, the date of whose release is below that of the average for the service, be excused all fatigue duties until the dates of the release of trades have been equalised.

Mr. Strachey

I think that command officers must be allowed to use their discretion in matters affecting the day to day administration of their units. At the same time we are all aware of the heavy demands made upon R.A.F. accounts clerks at present, and I feel sure that no commanding officer will divert them unnecessarily from accounting to other service duties.

Mr. T. Brooks

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why schoolteachers in the radar trade serving in the R.A.F. are not being offered release under Class B conditions the same as other men.

Mr. Strachey

Offers of release in Class B as teachers arc now being made in age and service order in the airman radio trades in the same way as to men in other trades. It has been necessary to deny the offer of Class B release to some of the teachers serving as signals radar officers owing to the heavy demand for such officers created by the air trooping programme.

Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air if he is aware that meteorological officers attached to the R.A.F. staff at North Killingholme are being misemployed and, in order to occupy their time are being given lectures in R.A.F. administration and Air Force law as well as instruction on filling in spare time; and as most of these men, whose release is being deferred are schoolteachers, will he investigate the position to see if the group release of meteorological officers can be brought nearer the release of other personnel in their groups.

Mr. Strachey

This station is no longer used for flying and its meteorological officers have been posted. One of the main reasons for the fact that the release of meteorological officers is behind the average is that they are badly needed for the safety of the trooping programme; the other reason is that nearly all these officers are in release groups below 26, so that if their release was up to the average there would be few left. Actually the number of meteorological officers now being released is becoming considerable.

Mr. F Willey

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the fact that many wireless operator-mechanics are not fully employed, he will arrange to speed up their release.

Mr. Strachey

The rate of release of wireless operator-mechanics has been speeded up, Groups 23 to 26 having been promulgated for release in December and Group 27 in January and February. This will put them a little ahead of the average.