Overseas Service (Married Men).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force. – in the House of Commons on 18th March 1942.

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Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

asked the Secretary of State for Air why it is necessary for married men with only three months' service to be sent overseas whilst single men with 12 months' and more service are retained in this country?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

The considerations governing the selection of airmen for duty overseas are, on the one hand, the rank, trade and particular experience required in the overseas establishment and, on the other, the need to maintain the efficiency of units at home. In view of the large number of postings, it is in general necessary to leave the selection to the discretion of Commanding Officers. If, however, an airman feels that on compassionate grounds he should not proceed overseas, he can submit an application to this effect to his commanding officer.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Irrespective of the question of compassionate grounds, is it not a fact that there is a large number of untrained men who have only had three months in the Air Force, while there are similar men who have been detained in the country and have been in the Air Force for 12 months?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

The efficiency of a unit and the functions that it has to perform play an important part in the consideration of who shall go abroad. Thus all men, even of the same rank or the same experience, cannot be given equal treatment as regards fulfilling our overseas requirements for skilled men which are urgent.

Photo of Sir Frederick Messer Sir Frederick Messer , Tottenham South

Then I am to take it that efficiency is improved by unskilled men going abroad?

Photo of Mr Harold Balfour Mr Harold Balfour , Isle of Thanet

Certainly, if in certain units skilled men are kept at home, thus keeping up the efficiency of their particular units here.