Ex-Miners

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1951.

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Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington 12:00 am, 6th March 1951

asked the Secretary of State for War how many National Service men are ex-miners of six months' standing in the industry.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

This information is not available but, as my hon. Friend has already been informed, the number is small.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

Just because the number is small, will my right hon. Friend consider extending the release to National Service men, as has already been arranged for the Regular soldiers?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

We think that there are quite insignificant numbers of National Service men involved.

Photo of Mr Barnett Janner Mr Barnett Janner , Leicester North West

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?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

If there are any individual cases of miners whose applications have been turned down, perhaps my hon. Friend would let me have them.

Photo of Lieut-Commander Joseph Braithwaite Lieut-Commander Joseph Braithwaite , Bristol North West

How is it that this information is not available? Are not particulars taken of every man's civilian occupation at the time of his joining?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

We would have to examine the documents of every National Service man in the Army.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

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.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

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.

Photo of Miss Jennie Lee Miss Jennie Lee , Cannock

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?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee West

Certainly. Perhaps my hon. Friend will give me particulars of any case she has in mind.