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BIG REDUCTION

AIR FORCE RANKS

NEW PLAN OUTLINED

Parliamentary Reporter.

WELLINGTON, this day. The early return to the Dominion of some 3000 air crew members of the R.N.Z.A.F. serving in the Royal Air Force, the release of about 2000 members of ground crews at NewZealand stations and the closing of two South Island flying stations were features of a plan for reorganisation of the Royal New Zealand Air Force announced by the Minister of Defence, Mr. Jones, last night. The Minister emphasised that these changes would not reduce the full-scale operations of the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Pacific. The Minister said that the tour of duty of R.N.Z.A.F. air crews attached to the R.A.F. was normally three years, or two tours of operations, and it had been anticipated that all of those who had not completed their full service would still be required to do so. In the last few days, however, information had been received that this would not now be necessary in all cases owing to a replanning of R.A.F. requirements.

Under arrangements concluded recently three New Zealand squadrons would remain with the R.A.F., plus a small number of air crews with operational experience whom the R.A.F. might still require. Two of the squadrons would undertake garrison duty in Europe for a short period, after which these men would also return to New Zealand. The third squadron, a heavy bomber unit, would join in the war against Japan under R.A.F. command. The great majority of Dominion airmen, therefore, to the number of some 3000 personnel, would be returning to New Zealand within the next few months, leaving about 1100 serving with the R.A.F. This number would be reduced still further when the two squadrons in Europe were released. Release if Desired Referring to the future of air crews after their return, Mr. Jones said that personnel with long operational service would be released if they so desired. A proportion, however, who had seen little or no operational flying, and whose training was suitable, would be available for service with the R.KKZ.A.F. in the Pacific. The further employment of the balance would be decided on their return, according to the requirements of the service at the time.

"The unexpected availability of trained air crews from Britain, including many suitable for use in the Pacific, will enable initial flying training in New Zealand to be suspended immediately," added the Minister. "This will mean that approximately 500 men now awaiting or undergoing initial air crew training in New Zealand who have not yet reached Service Flying Training School or its equivalent can be released for ground duties with the Air Force or service with the Army. "Those trainees in this categ6ry who are under 20 years of age will be given the option of remaining in the Air Force on ground duties or being released to civilian life until such time as they are liable for military service. While I regret that these fine lads will be sadly disappointed at missing the opportunity of flying overseas with the R.N.Z.A.F., there is unfortunately no justification for continuing with their training when their services are unlikely to be used in that capacity. North Island Schools Not Affected "A further result of this development will be the closing of two flying training stations in the South Island and the early release of approximately 2000 ground crew with the Air Force. The operational flying schools in the North Island which carry out operational training for the Pacific will not be affected materially, as this training will still be required to maintain the Royal New Zealand Air Force effort against the Japanese. "Since no further air crew recruits will be required, the future of the Air Training Corps, which is the sole source of air crew recruiting, is being investigated," the Minister concluded. "An announcement as to the future policy of the Air Training Corps will be made at an early date."

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450724.2.7

Bibliographic details

BIG REDUCTION, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

Word Count
659

BIG REDUCTION Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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