§ Mr. John Page
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will make a statement about the future of the Fighter Control Units of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
§ Mr. Amery
After the formation of the three Maritime Headquarters Units about which my predecessor told the House on 6th November, 1959, there remained twelve Fighter Control Units. One of these, No. 3502 (Ulster) F.C.U., was disbanded when a maritime unit was opened in Belfast in July. We have now decided that the eleven remaining Fighter Control Units must also be disbanded. The reorganisation of the Control and Reporting system and the introduction of new air defence techniques has resulted in a reduction in manpower needs. The continued employment of auxiliaries in this rôle is thus now no longer justified. Very careful consideration has been given to the employment of the units in other rôles; but this has unfortunately proved impracticable.
The following units will therefore be disbanded on 31st January, 1961:—
- No. 3505 (East Riding) F.C.U.
- No. 3506 (County of Northampton) F.C.U.
- No. 3508 (County of Northumberland) F.C.U.
- No. 3511 (City of Dundee) F.C.U.
- No. 3604 (County of Middlesex) F.C.U.
- No. 3609 (West Riding) F.C.U.
- No. 3612 (County of Aberdeen) F.C.U.
- No. 3617 (County of Hampshire) F.C.U.
- No. 3618 (County of Sussex) F.C.U.
- No. 3619 (County of Suffolk) F.C.U.
- No. 3620 (County of Norfolk) F.C.U.
I should like to take this opportunity of expressing the sincere thanks of the Air Council to the members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force for the voluntary service they have given to the nation. They have made a valuable contribution to our security in the past and it is only inescapable changes in defence techniques which have led us to this decision.