Deserters

Oral Answers to Questions — Armed Forces – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

asked the Minister of Defence what is the present number of deserters still at large; and how many have given themselves up since 22nd January, 1947.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The number of men recorded as deserters by the Services is at present about 21,000. The number who have surrendered since 22nd January for the Navy and R.A.F. is 1,350. For the Army, surrenders numbered 2,157 to (he middle of July, the latest date to which figures are available.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

In view of the shortage of manpower, and while appreciating the numbers of those who have given themselves up, has the right hon. Gentleman any idea how he is going to get the remainder in, because something must be done about it?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The position has been debated on many occasions in this House. Those who comprise the deserters are by no means all of them deserters of long duration. There is a constant outflow and inflow in this sphere every month. At the present time the average is about 690 men. Some are just over the period necessary to be declared as deserters—three or four weeks—and others have deserted for a longer time; but I cannot go back on my previous decision.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

How many men deserted before "V-J" Day and how many since?

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

If that question is put down, I will see if the figures are available.

Photo of Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin Sub-Lieutenant Herschel Austin , Stretford

Will my right hon. Friend consider that the forthcoming marriage of Princess Elizabeth would be a suitable occasion to show mercy to these men?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The Minister of Defence has been asked how many of these men are still at large. The hon. Member's supplementary question does not arise from the Question.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

In view of the tact that my right hon. Friend's reply indicates the failure of the Government's policy in this matter, would he again consider the question of granting a general amnesty to these men?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That, again, does not arise out of the Question on the Order Paper.