HC Deb 11 December 1956 vol 562 cc29-30W
63. Mr. Idwal Jones

asked the Secretary of State for War when the National Service men, serving with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Malaya, who have completed their period of service, will be brought home and demobilised.

Mr. John Hare

A number of National Service men of this battalion whose full-time service should have ended on 6th December are on their way home by sea and are due in this country on about 13th December. They will be released as quickly as possible after arrival. I regret this delay, which has been unavoidable because of the heavy strain placed on transport facilities from the Far East.

65. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many National Service men, who have completed their term of service, are still being retained in the Army at home and abroad; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Hare

No National Service men are being kept in the Army beyond their normal date for release from full-time service, except when transport difficulties have made delay unavoidable. Such cases have occurred almost exclusively in the Far East. Any figure quoted would be misleading because the position changes from day to day, but I can assure the House that the number of men involved is small and that the period of detention is in all cases short.

66. Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give an assurance that National Service men who were required to sign an undertaking to extend their period of service before they were allowed to proced to the Middle East with their units will now only be retained after the expiry of their two years' obligation if there are important military reasons for their retention, and then only for so long as such reasons exist, or until transport facilities permit their return to this country; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Hare

No National Service men were required to sign such an undertaking, but some who wished to accompany their units to the Middle East were allowed to volunteer for short service Regular engagements of 6 or 12 months. These men will be required to complete their Regular engagements. I can assure my hon. Friend that the release of National Service men from full-time service has been delayed only in a few cases where transport has not been available to bring them home by the due date.

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