HC Deb 04 June 1946 vol 423 cc287-9W
84. Sir P. Macdonald

asked the Secretary of State for War the reason for the sudden bloc deferment of R.A.M.C. tradesmen, senior non-commissioned officers and warrant officers in Groups 29 and 30 serving in C.M.F.; and whether he will take steps to speed up the replacement of medical personnel in that command.

Mr. Lawson

There is a serious general shortage of warrant officers, senior N.C.Os. and tradesmen in the R.A.M.C., but only three men of Groups 29 and 30 in these categories serving in C.M.F. have had their release deferred compulsorily. There is, therefore, no question of any block deferment.

89. Major Legge-Bourke

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers in the Royal Signals in Groups.27–32, at present serving in toe Middle East, have not had their release deferred as a result of appeal on compassionate grounds; how many applications have been received; and how many yet remain to be dealt with.

Mr. Lawson

I am taking steps to obtain the information asked for, and as soon as it is received I will write to the hon. and gallant Member.

95. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for War the total number of officers of all arms at present serving in M.E.F. whose release has been deferred; and the relationship which this number bears to the total number of officers of release Group 34 and below at present serving in that theatre.

Mr. Lawson

On 15th May the release of 565 officers serving in M.E.F. had been deferred. This represents 6.75 per cent. of all officers in Groups 34 and later who were serving in M.E.E. on 31st March, 1946, the latest date for which the figures are available.

101. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for War why Middle East Command is the only theatre where demobilisation of cipher officers has been deferred; what percentage of trained operators is being turned out by the cipher schools in England and in the Middle East to replace operators due for release; how long it takes to train these operators; and when it is anticipated that operators in Group 33, now serving in the Middle East, will be demobilised.

Mr. Lawson

It is not the case that the M.E.F. is the only command in which cipher officers and cipher operators have had their release compulsorily deferred, although it is true that the numbers deferred have been greater than those elsewhere largely because of the higher proportion of men in M.E.F. who were in early age and service groups. There is in fact a general shortage of cipher operators, but in providing replacements M.E.F. has been given priority over all other theatres. The average output of trained cipher operators from the United Kingdom School and the Middle East School is 32 per month. It takes 10 to 14 days to train a medium grade cipher operator and 4 to 6 weeks to train a high grade operator. I cannot at the present stage give any indication as to whether or not it will be necessary to defer the release of any cipher operators of Group 33 in the Middle East.

125. Mr. Rogers

asked the Secretary of State for War why surveyors in the C.M.F. in Group 31 and over have had their demobilisation date deferred; and for how long are they delayed.

Mr. Lawson

The latest information I have is that no R.E. officers in C.M.F. have had their release deferred and only seven R.E. other ranks. I have no information as to the trades of the latter. I am not clear as to which particular type of surveyor my hon. Friend has in mind, but if he would send me further information on this point and on the units concerned I will gladly make some further enquiries.

Mr. Challen

asked the Secretary of State for War the reasons for the sudden deferment of officers in Group 28, serving in 13 Corps in C.M.F.; and if he will take steps to see that replacements are sent to permit these officers to be released.

Mr. Lawson

Since my recent reply to a similar Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Cambridge (Major Symonds), I have received information that 23 officers now serving in C.M.F. in Group 28 have recently had their releases deferred until July or August. These officers are serving with an operational formation which it is essential to maintain at a high state of efficiency. All available officers are being sent overseas to replace those whose releases have been deferred.