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Voluntary Aid Detachments

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1942

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether any change is contemplated in the Voluntary Aid Detachment organisation?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the opposition which exists to the proposal that the Voluntary Aid Detachments should be absorbed in the Auxiliary Territorial Service; and whether he will either cancel this proposal or give an assurance that this House shall have an opportunity of expressing its views on the subject before a final decision is taken?


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give an assurance that mobile members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment, serving in hospitals of His Majesty's Forces, shall not, without their consent, be absorbed into other organisations, but may remain under the auspices of the British Red Cross Society and wear their customary uniform?

I have at present nothing to add to the answer (given to my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) on 2nd June.

Could the hon. Gentleman give any reason why that change is contemplated?

My right hon. Friend explained in a previous answer that it would not be possible to give the full story in answer to a Parliamentary Question. The position now is that the Army Council are expecting a deputation from the societies concerned, and perhaps my hon. Friend will await the result of this.

Why are the War Office taking a different view in this matter from that of the Admiralty and the Air Ministry?

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the high public esteem in which this organisation is held?

I am well aware of the feeling on this question, and my right hon. Friend has already agreed to receive a deputation, which I think the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) is arranging.

On a point of Order Mr. Speaker. May I point out that Question 39, which refers to hospitals of His Majesty's Forces, was addressed to the Prime Minister and was then transferred to the Secretary of State for War? In these circumstances is not my hon. Friend presumably authorised to speak on behalf of the other Services, and is he entitled to decline to answer for their policy?