HC Deb 12 July 1916 vol 84 cc323-5

asked the Secretary of State for War whether Dr. Spiers was for some time attached in the capacity of a doctor to Kinmel camp, Wales; whether he is aware that his name does not appear in the register of British practitioners; that he is said to have been German speaking with a German accent and with German sympathies; whether he subsequently went to the front and if he is now dead; and what was the cause of death?


Lieutenant H. Spiers was employed at Kinmel Park from 17th January, 1916, until 3rd April, 1916. On the second point I think the hon. Member has been misinformed. He will find the name of Dr. Spiers in the Medical Register as M.B., Ch.B. Edinburgh. He is also M.D., F.R.C.S. Edinburgh. He was recommended for a temporary commission in the R.A.M.C. by the Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee. There is no reason to think that he has German sympathies. He is now serving in France.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether the senior medical officer at Kinmel camp has lately resigned his post; and, if so, whether he has stated that he has done so because he is tired of being worried with questions about the alleged German doctor at Kinmel camp?


Captain G. L. Travis was appointed sanitary officer to Kinmel Park on 7th May, 1916, and he still holds that appointment.

27. Mr. ASHLEY

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on the afternoon of 6th July some 650 German non-commissioned officers and men, unwounded prisoners of war, were sent from Southampton to the North in a train consisting almost entirely of first-class corridor carriages and saloons; whether similar accommodation is provided by the German military authorities for our men when captured; and will he state whether English privates in the United Kingdom when moved by train or when travelling under a railway warrant travel first class?


I am informed that two trains were run to the North on the day named carrying German prisoners of war. In the whole of the two trains there were ten first-class compartments. The military authorities specially asked for corridor carriages in order to provide for escort duties, and the rolling stock mentioned was all that was available. As regards the second part of the question, I imagine the German authorities would in similar circumstances use any rolling stock available. The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the War Office could not have perfectly well communicated with the railway authorities in order that third-class carriages might be provided? Also, is the hon. Gentleman aware that one train consisted entirely of first-class carriages, except two carriages?


Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that British prisoners of war in Germany are conveyed in cattle trucks?


I imagine that the Germans, just as ourselves, convey prisoners in any rolling stock available.


They would not.


They are laughing at you!


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state the number of German prisoners interned in this country on 30th June last, and what number of them are employed on any work of a remunerative or national character; if he will state the class of work on which they are employed; and whether, in view of the shortage of labour in many industries at present, he will state why all able-bodied German prisoners are not being employed on some kind of work?


Eleven thousand three hundred and eighty-four combatant prisoners of war, excluding officers, were interned in this country on the 30th June. Arrangements have already been made or are in progress for the employment of some 4,400 of these men. In addition to this a considerable number are employed in their camps in making mail bags, in baking, shoemaking, tailoring, etc.; all of which work would otherwise have to be done by others. Every opportunity is seized to employ prisoners of war on work in such conditions and in such numbers as would prove remunerative.