§ Sir E. Graham-Little
asked the Undersecretary of State for Air why the release of R.A.F. officers in the sub-branch, Signals, Radar, is delayed relatively to other branches of that service; and whether, in view of the fact that the need for many forms of Radar no longer 84W exists, that officers of this sub-branch are being employed on other non-specialist duties, that many such officers have technical qualifications of use to industry; and that the rate of release of airmen in allied trades is above the general level, he will expedite the release of these officers.
§ Mr. Strachey
The main reason for delay in release of these R.A.F. officers is the deficiency caused by the withdrawal of many officers who were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The duties of radar officers have not decreased as fast as those of other signals officers owing to the demands made by the air trooping and occupation programme, particularly in relation to the handling of aircraft safety equipment. I am not aware that radar officers are being employed on non-specialist duties but, if the hon. Member has any specific case in mind and will send me particulars, I shall be glad to look into it. The requirements of radar officers are different from those of airmen in allied trades and there are proportionately more officers than airmen in the earlier age and service groups. It is not, therefore, possible to keep the release of officers in step with that of airmen. I appreciate the need to speed up the release of radar officers and we are doing all we can to this end by training and retraining, but it takes over six months to train to the required standard.