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Friday, 29 March 1946

Mr FORDE - I assure the honorable member that the Government andI fully appreciate the importance of granting leave as soon as possible to all of the men at present; doing garrison work in the islands. After my recent visit there, I issued instructions which are now being given effect. As the. honorable member has no doubt read in the newspapers, several vessels have left Australian ports recently loaded with Army personnel to take the place of those who have been serving in the islands for lengthy periods. About 2,000 men are to leave during the present month, and a substantia] number will go next month. I shall supply the figures in detail to the honorable member. Recruiting was resumed on the loth February for the purpose of training additional personnel. Oyer 5.000 men have enlisted and are now in' course of training. These will be despatched to do necessary work in the islands and will be in readiness to provide relief for the forces now in Japan, after they have served there for twelve months. The representations of the honorable member will be kept in mind.

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