Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that applications have been made by experienced miners, including a miner from Leicester, for release from the Forces to return to the mines, and would it not be useful if these men were allowed to return to the mines, particularly in view of his statement that there are only a few of them in the Forces?
asked the Secretary of State for War how many coal-miners are in the Services; how many have applied for release from the Services in order to return to work in the mines; and which active theatres of war are excluded from the general directive enabling miners to return to their civilian jobs.
Records are not available to show how many coalminers are in the Services. Instructions regarding the release of coalminers were not issued until 23rd February. It is therefore unlikely that many applications for release have yet been received. Only soldiers serving under the Unified Command in the Japanese and Korean theatre are not eligible for release under this scheme.
While most commanding officers are courteous and co-operative when miners in the ranks approach them, is my right hon. Friend aware that some are not, and that it is obviously a complicated matter for men to know whether or not they are eligible for release? Will he see that when officers are approached they give a proper explanation on whether or not a man is eligible for release?