HC Deb 04 March 1947 vol 434 cc49-50W
98. Mr. S. Shephard

asked the Minister of Defence the number of underground coalminers at present serving in the Forces.

Mr. Alexander

The approximate numbers of men in the Forces recorded as having had underground coalmining experience are:

Navy 36
Army 9,100
R.A.F. 2,400

But of these a great many are men who have been called up as unfit for heavy mine work or unsuitable for other reasons for work in the mines and men on Regular engagements. Apart from these, all experienced miners in the Forces have already been offered release in Class B to return to the mines, but the proportion of refusals has been high. The Services cannot, therefore, be regarded as a source from which any great numbers of underground workers can be obtained for the mines to help to alleviate the present crisis.