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Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 20 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the discontent which arises from the fact that men in this country on leave with only five or six weeks more to serve in the Army are being sent back to Palestine; that in some cases, after a journey which normally takes nine days, the men find themselves with less than four weeks to serve before release date; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent men with such short remaining service from being sent overseas.

No, Sir, I am not aware that this is happening. Soldiers are not normally granted leave to the United Kingdom from Palestine unless they will have at least four months' service to complete after their return from leave.

Is the Minister aware that last week I received a letter from his Department seeking to justify the return of men with five weeks more to serve in Palestine, and indicating that the journey took only nine days, and that they would have at least four weeks more to serve after arrival in Palestine?

If that is so, it must be a rare exception, because it conflicts with the answer I have just given.

If I submit the letter to my right hon. Friend, will he give me the correct information?

Is it not the case that men stationed in Palestine and proceeding on leave must first sign a document that they will return to Palestine at the end of their leave?

I do not know about that, but I should not think that it was unreasonable.