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Arrested Woman (Error In Posting)

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1943

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18, Mr.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Miss Frances Sanderson, of Middleton, who was awaiting call-up for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was, on Saturday, 8th May, arrested at her home by an Auxiliary Territorial Service escort on the charge of being an absentee from the Auxiliary Territorial Service; whether, prior to orders being given for her arrest, reference was duly made to the Minister of Labour to substantiate Miss Sanderson's claim to have been earmarked for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and whether he will now arrange for Miss Sanderson to be transferred to the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and for her to receive an apology for the inconvenience and unpleasantness she has suffered?

This case has been investigated. The A.T.S. Training Centres are notified of the recruits they are to receive, and they are concerned to see that these recruits report for duty at the appointed time. The commandant of the centre concerned in this case genuinely thought that Miss Sanderson had properly been posted to the A.T.S., particularly as it was on medical grounds that she did not originally report for duty and as it was on these grounds that the commandant of the centre granted her deferment for some weeks. But I agree entirely that it would have simplified matters if inquiries had been made into Miss Sanderson's claim. I understand that she has been discharged from the A.T.S. and will no doubt be called up into the W.A.A.F. in due course.

Will my right hon. Friend answer that part of my Question which asks that Miss Sanderson should have an apology from his Department?

The Minister of Labour is, I understand, answering that Question in a sense which, I hope, will be satisfactory to my hon. Friend.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will have inquiries instituted into the mistaken posting of Miss Frances Sanderson, of Middleton, to the Auxiliary Territorial Service, instead of to the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, the service of her choice, for which she had already been earmarked; and why no steps were taken by the North-eastern Regional Office to rectify this erroneous posting between 19th March, 1943, the date when the error was brought to their notice, and 8th May, the date of Miss Sanderson's arrest by Auxiliary Territorial Service military police?

I very much regret that owing to a clerical error in the Ministry, Miss Sanderson was posted to the Auxiliary Territorial Service on 19th March instead of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. When she called attention to the error it was too late to cancel the posting notice. Owing to sickness, however, she did not join on 19th March and obtained sick leave from the A.T.S. Centre to which she sent medical certificates. Owing to an unfortunate oversight, for which I apologise, the Regional Office did not bring the error to the notice of the Ministry Headquarters who alone could take steps to rectify it, until a day or two before the escort visited Miss Sanderson on the expiration of her last period of sick leave. Miss Sanderson was formally discharged from the A.T.S. on 15th May; arrangements to post her to the W.A.A.F. proceeded immediately and will be completed in the shortest possible time.