HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc415-6W
97. Mr. Lennox-Boyd

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the lengthy delays in the release of university students under Class B to return to their studies from India Command, in spite of their applications having been approved by the Ministry of Labour and his Department; and whether he will take steps to expedite the return of these men

Mr. Lawson:

Troops are widely scattered over India and it is inevitable that it should take some time to offer Class B release to individuals and to move them to the ports of transport home. Nevertheless India Command have been making efforts to accelerate all Class B releases. No special priority can be given to students over other Class B men.

103. Mr. J. J. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for War why it is necessary to retain in the Army men in lower groups than 27, who volunteered for service in the Far East for an extra year, on the understanding that this undertaking applied only to such period as the Japanese war was in progress; and if he will now consider offering these volunteers the full advantages of early demobilisation within their group categories.

Mr. Lawson:

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Dumfries (Major N. Macpherson) on 12th February.

118. Mr. H. Amory

asked the Secretary of State for War why the order in which officers in the M.E.F., whose release is being compulsorily deferred, are ultimately to be returned to the United Kingdom for demobilisation, is to depend on the relative duration of their current overseas tours, as this is a departure from the age plus service principle.

Mr. Lawson:

The system in operation in the Middle East is that priority for the release of officers deferred on operational grounds depends on age and service groups in the first place, but within any age and service group those who have served longest overseas are released first.

This seems to me a perfectly fair arrangement.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for War what proportion of officers of the R.E. serving in Palestine at the time at which they were due for release under Class A have been so released since 1st January, 1946.

Mr. Lawson:

During the period 1st January, 1946, to 31st March, 1946, 38 R.E. officers in M.E.F. were held beyond their dates for release under Class A. Of these, 14 were released during the same period, leaving 24 who were still retained. These consist of one in Group 24, 10 in Group 25 and 13 in Group 26. The total number of R.E. officers in M.E.F. as at 31st March, 1946, was 1,127, so that the proportion held at that date was only about 2 per cent. I regret that I have no separate figures regarding the numbers held compulsorily in Palestine.