Oral Answers to Questions — Armed Forces (Co-Operation).

– in the House of Commons on 28th July 1942.

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Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider appointing a commander-in-chief having operational control of all Fighting Services in every theatre of operation in which British Forces are engaged?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The Prime Minister does not wish to add at present to what he said on this and kindred topics last week.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the present arrangements for Army and Air Force combined training and action in this country; and whether any modifications to present arrangements are receiving active consideration?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The joint training of the Royal Air Force and the Army is proceeding satisfactorily on the lines indicated in the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to a similar Question by my hon. and gallant Friend on 7th July. The methods and scope of the training are constantly being studied with a view to improvement.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

asked the Prime Minister whether the officer Commanding Army Co-operation Command is an Army or a Royal Air Force officer; and whether the officer commanding the Fleet Air Arm is a naval or a Royal Air Force officer?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The Army Co-operation Command is a Command of the Royal Air Force. Its Commander-in-Chief is an air marshal. The Senior Air Staff Officer is a brigadier, and the staff of the Command includes both Army and Royal Air Force personnel. The Fleet Air Arm is not a separate Service or command but an integral part of the Royal Navy. The Fleet Air Arm units are controlled by the various naval commanders-in-chief and flag officers at home and abroad, in the same manner as other units of the Navy.

Photo of Sir Charles Taylor Sir Charles Taylor , Eastbourne

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be better now for the Army to have complete control of Army Co-operation Commands and that Army Co-operation Commands should be commanded by Army officers in Army uniform responsible to the War Office?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

That is another question. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put it down.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

Is it not a fact that the two questions are completely different and that what may be perfectly right for the Fleet Air Arm in respect to the Navy is not necessarily right for the Army?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

The hon. Gentleman is quite right.