Royal Air Force (Flying Badges)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry – in the House of Commons on 25th April 1944.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

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.

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

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 If a pilot is withdrawn from aircrew duties, the question of his retaining or relinquishing the badge is considered in relation to the cause of withdrawal. The badge is, normally, relinquished by personnel withdrawn from flying duties before becoming engaged on productive flying, and by personnel who have failed to carry out their flying duties satisfactorily.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.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

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?

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

No, Sir. If the hon. and learned Gentleman wants to question Army Council Instruction 660–40, he should put down a Question to the Secretary of State for War.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

I did put down a Question to the Secretary of State for War and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman took it over; and will he please consult with his right hon. Friend and intimate the answer?

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , St Pancras North

Is it riot a fact that the award of wings is looked upon as a decoration, and is it not wrong for the Army to deprive these men of the badge?

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

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.

Photo of Mr Denis Pritt Mr Denis Pritt , Hammersmith North

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman make inquiries into the case in which there were men who had done productive flying, and will he inform the House why he takes a Question away from the Secretary of State for War and then blames me for not asking the Secretary of State for War?

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

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.