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Volume 415: debated on Wednesday 31 October 1945

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asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether Regular officers and men of the R.A.F. come under the demobilisation scheme for the purpose of release from the Service; or what are the conditions of release during the present emergency.

The demobilisation scheme does not apply to officers holding permanent commissions, to officers holding short service commissions, or to airmen of the regular Air Force whose fixed periods of engagements have not expired. Officers holding permanent commissions are retired in accordance with King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions. Applications from them to retire or resign are considered on their merits. Officers holding short service commissions and airmen of the regular Air Force become subject to the demobilisation scheme when their fixed periods of engagement expire; their age plus length of service groups are then determined in accordance with their full-time paid service since September, 1939.

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air in view of the slow rate of release of technical signals, accountants and equipment officers in comparison with most other branches of the R.A.F., what is the average age of officers in these classes; what steps are being taken to accelerate their rate of release; and whether these steps will result in bringing their release up to the average age, plus service-group level, by the end of the year or by June 1946.

The average age of accountant and equipment officers is 38. For the technical branch as a whole the average age is 34, but separate records are not kept for signals officers. Every effort is being made to accelerate release in these branches by training fresh officers, but I am afraid that I cannot yet give a firm date for bringing them up to the average rate of release.

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air to what extent Class B block releases are being offered to personnel in trades whose release under Class A is being retarded.

We do not usually offer Class B block release in trades where Class A is retarded. If, however, some releases under Class B are essential in these trades the number is so closely restricted that further delays in Class A are avoided.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has investigated the circumstances under which groups 23 and under were sent to the Far East recently, did a tour of approximately two months and then returned home, to the waste of shipping space.

Victory over Japan was necessarily followed by changes both in the plans for drafting members of the Air Force overseas and in the general rate of demobilisation. As the result, a number of airmen returned to the United Kingdom after a relatively short period of overseas service. The release groups excluded from posting to distant Commands are, of course, continually under review and are progressively amended as conditions change.