HC Deb 13 February 1917 vol 90 cc420-1
8. Major NEWMAN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the increase to passenger traffic and expense incurred by the sending of British soldiers to Ireland for their period of convalescence; whether he is aware that, owing to the impossibility of their being visited by their relatives, as well as for other reasons, non-Irish soldiers dislike being sent to Irish convalescent camps; and will he say why it is necessary to send them out of their own country?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Macpherson)

I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the Command Depot at Ballyvonare. It is necessary to send soldiers who are not of Irish nationality there, as there is not sufficient accommodation available in England or Scotland. It is to be remembered that these soldiers are not patients in hospital.


Can my hon. Friend not now, after a very long time, make arrangements whereby Scottish soldiers shall, as far as possible, go into Scottish hospitals?


That, Mr. Speaker, does not arise.


Does not the Under-Secretary realise how disagreeable it is for English soldiers to be sent to the South of Ireland right away from their relatives?


I am afraid that that is due to the fact that there is not sufficient accommodation in other parts.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider the provision of sufficient accommodation; there cannot be much difficulty in doing that?

9. Major NEWMAN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he will say how many English and Scottish soldiers are at present in the convalescent camp at Ballyvonare, county Cork; whether he is aware that this camp is situated in a remote district, some miles distant from the nearest small town of Buttevant, and is provided with no amusements for the inmates except a small cinema theatre; and whether, in view of the dullness of the life and the surroundings, the War Office will convert this convalescent camp into an internment camp for alien enemies or prisoners of war?


There are between 3,000 and 4,000 soldiers belonging to English regiments at Ballyvonare Command Depot, but no Scotsmen, except those who may happen to be serving in English regiments. It is not possible to give effect to my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion, as it is necessary to use the Command Depot for its present purpose owing to lack of accommodation in England.


Is it the fact that all the amusements these men have is the small cinema theatre?


I cannot say.

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