asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that numbers of men who, after qualifying in the R.A.E. to wear wings, have been grounded sod discharged from the R.A.F. without fault on their part are forbidden to wear their wings when subsequently called up for service in the Army, and that this is causing much disappointment and distress; and whether he will now permit them to wear the wings which they have earned.
Flying badges are awarded on a provisional basis on completion of basic training and are not considered to have been fully earned, until the holder has been engaged in productive flying. If a pilot is withdrawn from aircrew duties, the question of his retaining or relinquishing the badge is considered in relation to the cause of withdrawal. The badge is, normally, relinquished by personnel withdrawn from flying duties before becoming engaged on productive flying, and by personnel who have failed to carry out their flying duties satisfactorily. I see no reason why these rules should be changed.
Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consult with the Secretary of State for War, to whom I originally put down this Question, and see why Army Council Instructions are being given taking off the list whole batches of men without any apparent regard to the different circumstances under which the badges were granted?
Wings are given provisionally when someone is undertaking basic training. They are not considered to be fully earned, until the man has justified himself in productive flying, and if someone has failed at the end of his training, there is no reason why he should go on through the rest of his Service life wear- ing wings which intimate that he has done productive flying when as a fact he has not done so.
I do not blame the hon. and learned Gentleman at all. If he can give me any individual cases, I will look into them, in relation to the general principle which I have stated in my reply.