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Royal Air Force

Volume 388: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1943

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Deceased Personnel (Private Books And Papers)

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether it is the usual practice of the Ministry to destroy, after their death, letters and personal papers belonging to officers and other ranks killed on service?

No, Sir. The normal practice is to hold the private books and papers of deceased personnel in safe custody until they can be handed over to the person entitled to receive them.

Is it a fact that under the regulations no station commander has the right to destroy any private letters or papers?

Requisitioned Estate (Amenities)

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Air for what reason the fine trees in a park, which have been brought to his notice, are to be felled, beyond the limits of compulsory acquisition; whether the owner had been notified; whether it is proposed to pull down the historical William and Mary house?

I am advised that there is still a possibility that interference with the amenities of the estate to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers can be wholly or very largely avoided. In the circumstances, perhaps he will allow me to defer giving him the information for which he asks until a decision has been reached, which will be very shortly, when I will write to him fully on the matter.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the possibility of the pulling down of the historical building causing great dissatisfaction on the East Coast?

Yes, Sir, and I should be very sorry indeed to authorise it, but my hon. and gallant Friend will, I am sure, appreciate that operational considerations must come first.

Airman's Discharge

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Air, why J. Ormerod, 1758216, A.C./2, having been discharged from the Army as unfit was called up and passed fit for the Royal Air Force; how long was he in the Force and how many days was he sick in hospital; and what was the cost to the taxpayers of this attempt to keep an unfit man in the Royal Air Force?

The airman in question volunteered for service in the Royal Air Force and joined for duty on 5th August, 1942, after being medically examined under the customary arrangements made by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. He was admitted to hospital on 23rd December suffering from an old injury to the foot, for which he was offered but refused operative treatment. This injury did not render him unfit for Air Force service at home. While he was in hospital, however, evidence of another disability came to light. It was accordingly decided, as the result of a medical board, to invalid him, and he will be discharged on 25th April. He will then have been in the Service for about nine months, of which 93 days have been spent in hospital under observation or treatment. The details of cost for which the hon. Member asks cannot, I am afraid, be separately determined.

Is it not a fact that this man has not done a single day's duty and that all his time has been spent on the sick list; that he was discharged from the Army as unfit but was passed grade A when called up; and has it not been a sheer waste of money to try and keep this man in the Service when five doctors have said he was not fit?

I am not trying to keep him in the Air Force. He is being discharged, and, as regards his being not fit, I can only go by the report of the medical board of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, who examine men for all the three Services, and they passed this man fit for service.

Is it not a fact that the last letter the Minister wrote to me says that this man is still fit for service, when, as a matter of fact, he is at home and has been discharged, and the Minister has not the right information about him?

The last thing I have said to my hon. Friend is that the man is being discharged on medical grounds.

How comes a man discharged from the Army to be taken in the Air Force as A1?

Because he is passed on to the Air Force by the medical board which works under the Ministry of Labour and National Service for all the Services. He is passed by them as fit.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider appointing a medical board to examine the medical board?

That is the position into which I should be forced if I adopted the suggestion of my hon. friends opposite,