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Air Mechanics (Training)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why a number of men who joined the Royal Naval Air Service in October last for service as air mechanics spent the first six months of their service, apart from six weeks' disciplinary training, wholly in mounting guard, peeling potatoes, cleaning decks and other semi-skilled work and did not start their course of training until May, 1947.

On completion of their disciplinary training at naval establishments air mechanics are sent to R.A.F. establishments for their technical training Except for a few men whose training was retarded owing to sickness, all the men entered at H.M.S. "Royal Arthur" in October, 1946, passed on to these in the normal way. I understand, however, that in the early part of this year there was some interruption in training owing to the unusually severe weather, and men were employed on other duties.

Would the Minister make further inquiries, because my information in respect of a large number of these men is that after the disciplinary training they have never done anything for weeks and weeks except this business of mounting guard and so on?

I am sorry to appear to be avoiding this issue, but after disciplinary training they go to R.A.F. establishments, so the question must be addressed to the Air Ministry.

Would the hon. Gentleman agree with a number of hon. Members in this House that potato peeling is a skilled occupation and not semi-skilled?