§ Mr. Churchill
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Armed Forces of all ranks applied to leave prematurely in the year to December 1978; of these, how many have been granted, arid how many refused: and what were the numbers of outstanding applications at the end of 1978 compared with the previous year.
§ Mr. Wellbeloved
During 1978 the numbers of male officers and men in each Service who applied to leave prematurely were as follows:
Royal Navyl Royal Marines Army Royal Air Force Officers 389 900 691 Service men 5,669* 5,803† 3,389 * This figure reflects applications from rating under the notice engagement scheme counted by actual date of application up to and including March 1978 and by date of receipt in Ministry of Defence from April onwards. This change was introduced for statistical purposes. All other figures have been counted by date of receipt. † This figure is for April to December only. Applications from Army Service men were not. recorded centrally before April 1978.
Of these, applications from four RN/RM officers, 31 Army officers and 303 RAF officers were deferred. In the case of Servicemen, the length of time required to serve before premature release varies according to the circumstances. The numbers of applicants awaiting release were as follows:
Royal Navyl Royal Marines Army* Royal Air Force Male officers 31 December 1978 365 500 579† 31 December 1977 265 530 444†‡ Servicemen 31 December 1978 5,582§ 900 2,675 31 December 1977 5,005§║ 800 998 * Army figures are estimates. † Royal Air Force officer figures include men over 50 with a right to release at six months notice. ‡ This figure is for February 1978. A December 1977 figure was not available. § Royal Navy Service men only. Figures for Royal Marine Service men are not available. ║ This figure is for 31 March 1978.