asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will alter the present system which requires that all those in combat planes shall hold commissioned rank.
It is not our policy that all aircrew should hold commissioned rank. Pilots and navigators normally hold commissions, but air signallers, engineers and gunners are normally non-commissioned officers.
Could my hon. Friend say whether that answer means that there has been no appreciable change in the system from that prevailing during the last war?
Yes, Sir. There was a scheme introduced at the end of 1950 known as the probationary officer scheme, under which all candidates accepted as pilots and navigators became pilot officers on probation and were confirmed in their commissions on getting their wings.