HC Deb 16 November 1914 vol 68 cc203-4

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether his attention has been directed to the delay occurring in the delivery of letters, parcels, etc., to our soldiers on active service in Belgium and France, amounting in certain cases to a period of over two months from the date on which the letters were posted in this country, and to the fact that many parcels containing comforts, tobacco, etc., sent out to men at the front have never been delivered; and whether he will see that steps will be immediately taken to ensure as far as possible the regular and prompt delivery of letters and parcels to our soldiers at the front, and also the prompt transmission of their letters to their relatives at home?


There have been cases of delay, as there must always be in campaigns of the nature of that now being conducted, but everything possible is being done to ensure the regular and prompt delivery of letters and parcels and to rectify any failures in the system, but my hon. Friend will realise that prompt delivery cannot be guaranteed. Letters sent from the front to relatives at home, which are, of course, directed to fixed as distinct from changing addresses, are, I believe, being delivered regularly and without undue delay.


Is my hon. Friend aware that, while letters from the troops are arriving with pretty fair regularity the delay in the delivery of letters to them is very general and widespread?


It is quite true that there has been delay, and I regret that it has occurred. I am sure that my hon. Friend will realise that when the soldiers are constantly changing their places it is impossible to have letters delivered to them promptly.


Can my hon. Friend arrange with the Postmaster-General to have free delivery of small parcels?


That question must be addressed to my right hon. Friend.