HC Deb 23 October 1945 vol 414 cc1965-7W
Major Wells

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that soldiers whose length of service overseas makes them eligible for privilege leave under the Python scheme are not being granted such leave if they are also due for release; and whether he will arrange that in such circumstances soldiers shall be granted privilege leave for the normal period under the Python scheme before and in addition to their release leave.

Mr. Lawson

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to him on 16th October last.

Mr. Shurmer

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will consider taking steps to ensure, where possible, that Christmas leave be given to all serving men who have spent five or six consecutive Christmas days away from their families.

Mr. Lawson

Leave is already given to the maximum extent possible, at approximately three monthly intervals in the United Kingdom, and it would be inequitable to others to give certain men leave at Christmas out of their turn on the roster. It is within the discretion of a commanding officer to allow a man who has missed Christmas leave for three years to defer his leave until Christmas. This is subject to the proviso that the normal Christmas quota is not exceeded and it involves the man foregoing his place on the roster in favour of others. I am afraid I cannot do more.

Mr. Garry Allighan

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the 3rd British Infantry Division, and certain regiments attached to the 6th Airborne, were recently drafted to Egypt after unbroken service on the Continent, most of the men being denied any embarkation leave which means they have not been home since D-Day; and whether he will give instructions that all men whose leave is due, or overdue, get it as soon as possible.

Mr. Lawson

Embarkation leave is granted before departure from the United Kingdom for an overseas tour. Men who are serving on an overseas tour are liable to be moved from one command to another to meet changing military requirements, and they often move direct without coming into the United Kingdom for special embarkation leave. Where time and movement facilities permit, men going from B.A.O.R. to the Middle East pass through the United Kingdom and receive leave before going on. Unfortunately this was not possible in the case of the 3rd Division. Men moving from B.A.O.R. to the Far East get leave in the United before going to the Far East.

The vast majority, if not all men, who took part in the invasion of France have had at least one leave to this country since that date. Some have had two leaves.