§ 163. Mr. Parkin
asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement on the future of the Royal Observer Corps.
§ Mr. de Freitas
We have now started recruiting for the peacetime Royal Observe Corps. We are aiming at a strength of about 28,500 spare-time officers and observers and a small number of whole-time officers. The corps will be organised much as in the war and will remain under the operational control of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Command. It is hoped that training can begin on 1st January, 1947. To begin with we are limiting recruiting to the many members of the corps who, on stand-down, said they were ready to join the corps in peacetime: they already know the new conditions of service. We expect to open recruiting later to others who have served in the R.O.C. and possibly to men and women who have had no previous service in the corps. Recruits sign on for three years. They will be given small annual grants with certain additions for travelling expenses and for passing proficiency tests. The training of the corps will largely be in recognising, reporting and plotting aircraft. The corps achieved a very high standard in this work during the war and we are sure that it will maintain this standard in the future.