§ 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 50W 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.